Charline von Heyl

Biography of Charline von Heyl

German abstract painter Charline von Heyl is renowned for her dynamic canvases that challenge the limits of painting as a medium. Using collages and drawings to prepare her pieces, she 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 allows her to build intensity in her final works.


Charline von Heyl’s pieces often combine vivid colors with a confusion of fore and background elements, creating the effect of an obscured and busy composition. She uses a variety of mediums that include lithography, silkscreen, woodcut and other printmaking techniques. Her work has no consistent style or theme but rather relies on notions of experimentation. Ever open to new influences, often also from literary sources, Charline von Heyl 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 Charline 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.


Charline von Heyl has exhibited at internationally renowned institutions such as Tate Liverpool, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her work can also be found in the collections of Tate in London, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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