Johannes Schreiter is among the most important German glass-painters of the post-war period to achieve international renown. He belonged to the group of seven glass-painters, initiated by Georg Meistermann, the father figure of post-war German glass-painting, and known affectionately among connoisseurs as the ‘Magnificent Seven’.
Schreiter was born in Buchholz in the Ore Mountains, and after the war studied fine art in Münster, Mainz and Berlin. From 1960 to 1963, he led the ‘Surface’ faculty at the Staatliche Kunsthochschule (State Art College) in Bremen. From 1963 to 1987, he was professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für bildende Künste (State College for Applied Art) in Frankfurt am Main, of which he was principal from 1971 to 1974. Schreiter is a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund and lives in Langen, not far from Darmstadt. As an artist, he is particularly known for his burnt or smoke collages (also known as fumage collages), which are especially typical of his output between 1958 and 1978.
The list of Schreiter’s works in stained glass is long. Particular attention should be drawn to the market church of Sts Cosmas and Damian in Goslar (1992‑2000), and the twelve windows he designed for the Church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg (1984), which were rejected in the strongest terms (an argument that became known as the Heidelberger Fensterstreit, ‘Heideberg Window Controversy’). The series was supposed to reflect the relationship of the modern world and the sciences to faith. Only one window ‑ that dealing with physics ‑ was executed and installed. In it one can see Einstein’s famous equation e=mc2 and the date on which the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The remaining eleven designs for the Heidelberg windows, which are nearly 5m in height, were gradually executed over the following years, for public museums (the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe, and the Deutsches Glasmalerei-Museum in Linnich) and scientific institutions (for example, the Paul-Ehrich Institut in Langen).
Selected Further Reading
Johannes Schreiter: Die Fumage-Collagen 1958-1978, with an introduction by Klaus Hoffmann and contributions by Hans H. Hofstätter and Günther Wirth, Hamburg, 1979
Johannes-Schreiter-Stiftung, Langen/Hessen (ed.), with a contribution by Holger Brülls,
Gunther Sehring and Johannes Schreiter: Freie Glasbilder, ed. Johannes-Schreiter-Stiftung, Langen/Hessen, with a contribution by Holger Brülls, Regensburg, 2005