Norbert Wagenbrett studied at Leipzig University, which had been dominated for decades by the art concepts of Werner Tübke, Bernhard Heisig and Wolfgang Mattheuer. This “intellectual painting” was a fertile basis for the artist´s portraits of people, which were also rooted in the New Objectivity and the verism of the nineteen-twenties and nineteen-thirties. However, Wagenbrett is concerned with the present day, fervently seeking people’s unknown faces behind their everyday masks. With his highly disciplined and delicate painting technique, he expertly succeeds in making what is characteristic about his models, and their so-called “inner life,” visible.
I approach people and look for their dreams and find their fears, discover degrees of similarity, see portraits. They are portraits of these particular people, infinitely unique, incomparable with any other object in the world, and yet in everyday public life the faces seem to resemble each other, to blend into one and to merge, in the same way as thoughts, which are no longer one’s own. Norbert Wagenbrett