Charline von Heyl

Biography of Charline von Heyl

Leading female contemporary artist Charline von Heyl has made her name with intense, brightly colored abstract work that pushes and prods at the limits of painting. Using collages and drawings to prepare her canvases, von Heyl avoids strict formal compositions in favor of gestural freedom and an openness to chance and coincidence. Her improvised process of creating, erasing, and then recreating shapes and forms—she only ever rips and never cuts photos to maintain an arbitrary element—allows her to build intensity in her final works. Ever open to new influences, often also from literary sources, the artist constantly expands her visual language, stating that "I have an alphabet of tricks, an alphabet of colors… and with every body of work I’m trying to enrich it with new possibilities."


Born in Mainz, Germany, in 1960, Charline von Heyl lived for almost ten years in Düsseldorf, frequently visiting Cologne to exhibit work in galleries at the time when the mercurial and extroverted Martin Kippenberger heavily influenced the local art scene. In the mid-1990s von Heyl moved to New York and several years later married fellow artist Christopher Wool. The couple continue to live and work in New York. Von Heyl has exhibited at internationally renowned institutions such as Tate Liverpool, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her striking work can also be found in the collections of Tate, London, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

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