Herbert Achternbusch (born 1938)


Weitra: Bibliothek der Provinz (PN°1) n.a. (1999)
Text, illustrations and design Herbert Achternbusch
[16 fol.] plus endpapers, watercolor
22,5 x 22,3 cm, green hardcover binding with illustration on book covers

The book and its history

Achternbusch painted this book for his daughter Naomi when she was three years old. This is what it says in the printed text on the first page.
In the pictures , images and handwritten lines of text in matt-blue watercolor often merge into each other to form a new overall picture figure. Obviously the text was written first and then painted over to show water, fishes, or other elements of the story. This sometimes blurs the text. Shapes of figures or hands are only hinted at, which gives the impression that the painting and writing are evolving during the storytelling.
To make the book easier to read, the text is also typeset, sometimes slightly deviating from the painted script or supplementing it.
The story: Two carp swim in the pond outside Naomi's front door and wonder whether there is anything else but water? One of the carp finally jumps so high that it lands on the meadow. Naomi saves him and tells her parents about the incident.
IThe direct connection between the child's world of experience and the father's tone is clearly palpable. The father is painting and writing this story for the child, probably in her presence. He tells the story with a brush, involving the little daughter as a spectator, actor, and listener. The story ends with the promise that the father will tell another story later, at bedtime.

Biographical note

Herbert Achternbusch, born on 23 November 1938 in Munich, is a well-known German writer, filmmaker and painter. He lives in the Bavarian countryside and in Munich. Following an education at the Academy of Arts in Nuremberg and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, he soon had success as an author. Beginning in the 1970s he became particularly famous for his numerous avant-garde films. In recent years his interest in painting has increased again.

Achternbusch has always been known for being an anarchic and non-conformist artist. He loves provocation and often irritates with his grotesquely exaggerated humour, which has repeatedly earned him the accusation of blasphemy. Achternbusch cultivates both the Bavarian dialect and his own linguistic creations. He writes stories, novels, plays, and screenplays for his films. In painting, he usually works with watercolours often on brittle surfaces (woodchip wallpaper, bamboo), slapped on with a wide brush, telling his stories with colourful expressive forms and figures on large formats.


Jörg Drews (hrsg.): Herbert Achternbusch, Frankfurt / Main, 1982


Marina Schneede (hrsg.): Herbert Achternbusch, der Maler.

Katalog zur Ausstellung in München, Düsseldorf, Wien, Hamburg, Berlin. München, 1988

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