Portion of Triptych illustrated in the original newspaper article, now
being restored at Leicester New Walk Museum original
|On a pleasant small property near Konjic Matej Koelz,
an academically trained painter, has set up his studio. From his own account
we gather that he was born the son of a merchant on March 31st., 1895,
at the village of Miihldorf in Upper Bavaria. He completed his secondary
education in Munich, where he later also continued his studies at the academy
of fine arts. His studies were interrupted by the war, when as a twenty
year old youth he had to leave for the front. He spent three-and-a-half
years in the trenches or the Western Front. After the war he was an officer,
first in the Reichswehr and later in the police. He left this job and continued
his studies at the academy in Munich, where his professors were the well-known
artists, von Marr and von Stuck. After completing his studies he spent
time up till the year 1931 travelling in various countries for the purposes
With a commission from a Swiss publishing house he has
been staying since March of last year in Yugoslavia, where he has settled
near Konjice. Because of this the Hitler regime in Germany has proclaimed
him an emigrant, since they have suspected him of flight. They have seized
his property and are threatening him with dispossession if he does not
return to Germany by October Ist. this year
That is his biography in brief.
For the last three years he has been working on a triptych
called: 'Thou shalt not kill!'
This will be a work of art from which our own native artists
might learn. it represents a battlefield where some young combatants lie
dead, while others prepare for battle and - death. Far away from the battlefield,
but with it in view, stand groups of the faithful with their bishop. They
are all assembled at prayer.
We bring you a couple of these groups to illustrate the
truly great creative ability of the artist. These are groups, motifs and
portraits of our folk from the vicinity of Konjice. Rarely among our own
native artists do we find individual features in such detail and at the
same time so naturally yet also so movingly expressed as here.
Each portrait mirrors great weariness, anguish and grief
but also submission to the divine will. Every least line is artistically
and precisely rendered, every line is natural, neither exaggerated nor
formal. There is also a remarkable accuracy in his depiction of all details
of dress and surroundings.