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Herbert Siebner, a towering figure in the world of art, left an enduring legacy that stretches beyond the realms of painting. His eclectic expertise encompassed mediums such as pottery, lithography, silkscreen, woodcut, encaustic, and sculpture. We remember his life, creations, and the profound impact he continues to have even after his death in 2003.

Belkin Art Gallery

The Multi-faceted Artistic Career of Siebner

Born into a world marred by war, Herbert Siebner’s path into the realm of art was anything but typical. From witnessing the horrors of destruction to finding refuge in the realm of creativity, his artistic journey defies common trajectories. During the post-war years in Germany, he spearheaded the era of German Neo-expressionism, an influential movement in modern art.

While his artistic journey began in tumultuous times, it soon blossomed into a venture of exploration and expression. His later works, heavily inspired by the gods and goddesses he encountered during his travels in Greece, revolved around themes of redemption, peace, and the life-affirming force of sexuality. He pushed boundaries and harnessed the power of art to convey profound messages, making his works an embodiment of resilience, hope, and transformation.

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Siebner’s Signature Style

Distinctively unique, Siebner’s style is best characterized by large brush strokes contained within dark lines. It’s a nod to the sacred aesthetics found in Europe’s grand cathedrals, the structural grace of stained glass windows being a recurrent motif in his works. He harnessed these influences to create a visual narrative that illuminated the spirit’s immortality and celebrated the vitality of life.

The Legacy of Siebner’s Artistic Philanthropy

Siebner’s influence transcends his artistic prowess. Winchester Galleries, a space that has housed works of many renowned artists, including Siebner himself, hosts a sale of his creations at the behest of his daughter, Angela Nielsen. The intention? To support breast cancer research, a cause close to the Siebner family’s heart, having lost Hannelore, Siebner’s wife and life-long support system, to the disease.

This philanthropic gesture, in itself, is a testament to Siebner’s unending vitality. A collection of 50 pieces — comprising prints, drawings, watercolours, and a solitary oil painting — are offered for sale, their proceeds intended to fuel the battle against breast cancer.

Carrying Forward Siebner’s Legacy

Angela’s initiative to auction her father’s work isn’t just about honouring her parents’ memory or her father’s final tribute to his beloved wife — it is a testament to Siebner’s impact on women’s health. Angela, herself an artist and passionate gardener, expresses pride in her granddaughter, a gifted artist, and joy at the knowledge that her father’s legacy lives on.

When Herbert and Hannelore Siebner moved to Victoria, they wholeheartedly became part of the city’s thriving art scene. Even in his final years, Siebner’s commitment to the community remained unshaken. His legacy is still alive in the house he once lived in and the studio where the wisdom-filled proverbs he painted on the chimney still stand as testaments to his artistic journey. One that particularly resonates is: “Work is the mistake from which I learn” — a message that underlines the importance of perseverance, a quality crucial to those working to find a cure for breast cancer.

An Ode to the Human Form

A cornerstone of Siebner’s work was the exploration and celebration of the human form. Siebner’s prints, often imbued with powerful goddess imagery, stand as symbols of affirmation that beauty should not be a cause for suffering. This theme aligns with the broader initiative of raising funds to battle breast cancer and creates a future without the disease — a vision that the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation lauds as an admirable endeavour to honour both Herbert and Hannelore.

Celebrating the Spirit of Siebner

Herbert Siebner’s artistic career, his journey from Germany’s war years to the vibrant artistic scene of Victoria, is an inspiration. His richly diverse works continue to touch lives, resonating with messages of redemption, peace, and life. Even after his death, Siebner’s contribution to the world continues through philanthropic initiatives, his art bringing hope to those battling breast cancer. His legacy is an enduring symbol of his extraordinary zest for life, an influence that will continue to shape the artistic world and fuel efforts to eradicate diseases that afflict humanity.