Lothar Wolleh was a German photographer.
Berlin, Germany 1930 - 1979 London, England.


Born on 20 January as the first son of single-parent worker Martha Wolleh in Berlin Wedding.

1935 - 1939

Accommodation in a foster family in Berlin and subsequent return to his mother.


His mother’s brother, Walter Wolleh, is flown into the crucible of Stalingrad at the end of December 1942 and is lost. His wife and two boys are killed in a bombing raid.


Martha Wolleh’s apartment is destroyed in an air raid.

1946 - 1948

Studies at the newly founded University of Applied Arts, Berlin-Weißensee, with Otto Sticht and Ernst Rudolf Vogenauer, taking courses in elementary teaching and figurative painting.

1948 – Okt. 1949

Stays at Boys Town, Bad Vilbel, a camp run by the US Army for uprooted young Germans, based on the approach of Father Edward Flanagan.


Arrested in East Berlin, stay at the Berlin Lichtenberg-Hohenschönhausen prison.


Sentenced by a special court ‘OSO’ (‘Remote Verdict from Moscow’) for alleged espionage and diversion under Articles 58-6 and 58-9 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic to 15 years in a forced labour camp. (In the absence of the defendants, the OSOs issue verdicts according to the records.)

Deportation to the Vorkuta Gulag and forced labour in a coal mine. After Stalin’s death in 1953 there is an uprising in the camp, which is violently crushed. After this, detention conditions improve. Wolleh builds a camera with other prisoners and tries photography for the first time. His archive actually contains negatives taken towards the end of his captivity and the return transport from Vorkuta to Germany.


Release from custody, border crossing at camp Friedland.


Arrival at Berlin Tempelhof airport, four days before his 26th birthday.

1956 - 1957

Training at Lette-Verein, Foundation of Public Law, a vocational school for photography, graphics and fashion, West Berlin.


Dutch pastor Bé Ruys from the youth department of the World Council of Churches contacts Lothar Wolleh. She becomes a companion and mentor in the process of rehabilitation. Ruys has him stay in Gotland (Sweden).


Stay on the Swedish island of Gotland. The stay of several months is part of a recovery programme of the World Council of Churches for youths affected by war. For Wolleh, this trip establishes a lifelong affection for the people and landscape of the island.


Studies at the Folkwang-Schule, Essen, with Otto Steinert.


Study trip to Paris as part of his education at the Folkwang school.

1962 - 1979

Works as a freelance photographer with residence and studio in Düsseldorf.

1962 – 1965

The studio of Lothar Wolleh is located in the Kavallerie Straße in Düsseldorf. In 1965 he moves to the Faunastraße, also in Düsseldorf.

1962 - 1965

Wolleh works as a photographer for advertising agencies like TEAM, DDB, Troost, McCann. He also starts working on his self-initiated photo projects.


Around this time, Lothar Wolleh begins his large-scale photo project ‘Artist Portraits’, in which Lucio Fontana is one of the earliest artists portrayed in 1963. With his base in Düsseldorf, he focuses on the Rhineland art scene, portraying artists such as Günther Uecker (1963), Otto Piene (1964) and Gerhard Richter (1966), without losing sight of European icons such as René Magritte (1967).

1963 - 1965

Various trips to Rome for his photo book Das Konzil.

1963 - 1967

Various visits to the artist Lucio Fontana in Milan and work on an unpublished ‘Fontana book’.


Das Konzil, an opulent colour photo book documenting the Second Vatican Council, is published by Belser Verlag Stuttgart.


Various visits to René Magritte in Brussels.


Journey across the USSR for his photo book UdSSR – der Sowjetstaat und seine Menschen (The Soviet State and Its People).

1969 - 1971

Works on the hitherto unpublished ‘Schoonhoven-Buch’, a photo volume designed by Wolleh and Dutch artist Jan Schoonhoven.


Journey across the USSR for his photo book UdSSR – der Sowjetstaat und seine Menschen (The Soviet State and Its People).


Lothar Wolleh acts as initiator and publisher of a watch collection designed by artists. In the following years, he edits clock editions by Jan Schoonhoven, Günther Uecker, Arman, Agam and César.


Lothar Wolleh photographs the Joseph Beuys action "Felt TV" (Filtz TV). Wolleh selected 16 photographs, which he arranged in a typical 4 x 4 image formation.


UdSSR – der Sowjetstaat und seine Menschen is published by Belser Verlag Stuttgart.


The folio Uecker. Eine Dokumentation vom Lothar Wolleh, containing photos of Wolleh and graphics by Uecker, is published by the publishing house Galerie der Spiegel, Cologne. The cassette is slashed with a nail and signed by Uecker.


Lothar Wolleh photographs the installation of the Beuys exhibition at the Moderna Museet Stockholm for the jointly conceived Unterwasserbuch (Underwater Book).


In Milan, Lothar Wolleh photographs the spectacular action ‘L'Ultima Cena’ (The Last Supper) by the artist group New Realists for his photo book Neue Realisten (New Realists).


Journey to the Bienal de São Paulo together with Günther Uecker and Gotthard Graubner. Subsequently, the artists travel around South America.


Wolleh’s photo book and art cassette Art Scene Düsseldorf 1 is published by Belser Verlag Stuttgart.


The Unterwasserbuch project, created with Josef Beuys, runs into technical problems; only very few copies of the photo book, consisting of prints on PVC, are bound in book form. The PVC photo sheets are later named and sold as Drei Tonnen Edition (Three Tons Edition), by Staeck, Heidelberg.

1972 - 1973

Work on the hitherto unpublished portrait photo book Männer der Wirtschaft (Men of the Economy) in which captains of industry and the first generation of managers of large German enterprises are portrayed.

1973 -1979

Wolleh takes all the photos for the annual report of the German department store Karstadt AG.


Photographs for the book Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore, Idee einer Oper by Günther Uecker, Belser Verlag, Stuttgart.


Journey with Uecker to Thailand and Laos.


Publication of Wolleh’s second photo book on the Vatican, entitled Apostolorum Limina, published by Arcade, Brussels. The book documents the festivities for the ‘Holy Year’ in colour photographs.


In a private audience with Pope Paul VI Lothar Wolleh hands over his photo art book Apostolorum Limina. The special edition of the book contains a golden triptych by Vic Gentils.


Wolleh/Uecker are realiszing the video film for Günther Uecker’s performance Schwarzraum-Weißraum-Aktion (Action Black Room-White Room). The performance was conceived in 1972 for the exhibition ‘Szene Rhein-Ruhr ’72’. Lothar Wolleh also photographs the performance.


Lothar Wolleh photographs Herbert Zangs´ Aktion Mensch (Action human). As with other artist actions, Wolleh selects 4 x 4 shots to present the action in a square arrangement.


Stays in Lichtenstein, for the work on the photo book Lichtenstein.

1977 - 1979

Several stays in Poland for work on the unfinished photo volumes Die schwarze Madonna von Tschenstochau and Wawel. Among other things, Lothar Wolleh photographs the visit of John Paul II, who undertakes his first trip to Poland as pope.


Photographs for the volume Zum Schweigen der Schrift oder die Sprachlosigkeit by Günther Uecker, Erker, St. Gallen.


Recordings for the book Uecker: Bühnenskulpturen für Lohengrin, published in 1981.

Sep 1979

Wolleh meets Henry Moore at the inauguration of his sculpture Two Large Forms in front of the Federal Chancellery in Bonn and portrays him at the Rolandseck train station.


Lothar Wolleh dies in London after having portrayed Henry Moore again, in his studio the day before.

He is buried in the cemetery of the Eksta community on Gotland.

ante mortem

Lothar Wolleh Timeline

post mortem

The catalog Lothar Wolleh. Artist Portraits, Art Objects, Photographs for the same-named exhibition of the Kunstverein for the Rhineland and Westphalia, Düsseldorf arises.


Darkroom and laboratory of ‘Studio Wolleh’ in Düsseldorf are being dismantled and sold.


The archive of Lothar Wolleh is distributed to various cellars and storerooms and is therefore only partially accessible and visible.


The archive is concentrated in Berlin and relocated to archive-proof packaging.


Lothar Wolleh Estate is founded.


Lothar Wolleh Estate launches its first edition of Modern Prints. The silver gelatine prints on baryta paper are limited, numbered and stamped and are produced in the darkroom (analogous method).


On the occasion of the exhibition cycle ‘Lothar Wolleh. A rediscovery. Photographs 1959-1979’, the catalog of the same name is published by Hauschild Verlag.


The book Lothar Wolleh. Joseph Beuys at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, January 1971 appears on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name at the Hamburger Bahnhof in the bookstore Walther König, Cologne.


The process of digitization of the archive begins. 


The Estate buys a rare Lothar Wolleh portrait of the Italian artist Lucio Fontana. The vintage print has been slit and signed by Fontana.


‘Lothar Wolleh Artist Talk’ with Ulrich Erben and Oliver Wolleh in the rooms of the Galerie Pavlov's Dog, Berlin. Moderation: Lisa Zeitz, art historian and editor-in-chief of the magazine Weltkunst.


The collector Günther Drenker dies at the age of 82. His collection of Lothar Wolleh works becomes part of the holdings of the kunst palast düsseldorf.


The book I already know the Pope by Anouchka Wolleh is being published containing memories about Lothar Wolleh. tredition publishers 


‘Lothar Wolleh Artist Talk’ with the artists Cristian Megert and Oliver Wolleh on the occasion of the Photoweekend Düsseldorf in the rooms of the Galerie Ruth Leuchter. Moderation: Bernd Fechner.


Lothar Wolleh Estate provides the director Andres Veiel with comprehensive access to the archive for the film Beuys. Lothar Wolleh's work on Beuys is being widely used sequentially in the film.


The independent curator and author Antoon Melissen starts his research on the work of Lothar Wolleh. The goal is a comprehensive monograph. 


Opening of the Lothar Wolleh Raum in Berlin Mitte.


The Estate is acquiring a hitherto unknown collection of vintage prints for the book UdSSR – der Sowjetstaat und seine Menschen (USSR - The Soviet State and its People).


Antoon Melissen and Renate Wiehager (Daimler Art Collection) intensified the work on their contributions to the Lothar Wolleh monograph, which is scheduled to be published in 2022. 


Lothar Wolleh Estate was able to acquire an important collaborative work of Lucio Fontana and Lothar Wolleh from 1966 as well as a collaborative work of Joseph Beuys and Lothar Wolleh. 


The new edition of the artist's book Joseph Beuys, Lothar Wolleh - The Underwaterbook Project is published in Kerber Verlag. It is accompanied by book presentations in Germany, Belgium and Sweden. 


The book Lothar Wolleh sees Jan Schoonhoven is published in English and Dutch by Waanders Uitgevers, Zwolle. The publication accompanies the exhibition "Lothar Wolleh sees Jan Schoonhoven: The seduction of rhythm and light" at the Prinzenhof Museum, Delft.


Lothar Wolleh Estate wird becomes a member of the German Council of Photography (Deutschen Fotorat). https://deutscher-fotorat.de/mitgliedsverbaende/


December 2023: According to ARTfacts Lothar Wolleh is ranked in Top 4,000  globally, and among the Top 500 in Germany.