Visual Futurist

I met one of my childhood heroes – Klaus Bürgle, a German illustrator who painted technical visions of the future when I was a boy. Readers of this blog might remember a post from last year where I wrote about the website that I created for him together with Dr. Ralf Bülow, a collector of Bürgle’s work. I was a little bit proud that the website had reanimated his fame – there were lots of newspaper articles about him after it went live, and he even earns a little money with his paintings now. Every few weeks, people send me inquiries because they want to use a Bürgle image for their newspaper or book.

Mr. Meyer from the local art center in his hometown Göppingen (near Stuttgart) curated a wonderful exhibition of his work, showing lots of original paintings many of which I hadn’t seen before. Because I had supplied Mr. Meyer with some images and information about Bürgle, he kindly invited me and even paid the hotel. By a very convenient coincidence, my Ridhwan retreat not far from Göppingen had ended the day before, so it was an easy 1-hour trip for me to come to this event.

Bürgle, now aged 84 (shown here with his wife), turned out to be a very modest and kind man – he actually reminded me of my father a little bit. Because Mr. Meyer had already written an extensive interview with him, the interview I had planned with him was no longer necessary, and we could simply do some smalltalk which he also seemed to enjoy. I was surprised to learn that he still does technical drawing jobs for Mercedes and other companies now and then.

What an amazing man! Just like his American colleagues such as Chesley Bonestell or Robert McCall, he inspired a whole generation and got them interested in space and the future. I met several people during the vernissage who became engineers because they marvelled at Bürgle’s paintings when they were boys.

It was a pleasant surprise for me to also meet Professor Manfred Kage during the vernissage, a pioneer of microphotography with electron microscopes and similar technologies. Back in the early seventies, he published his amazing crystal photographs in the science magazines that also contained Bürgle’s paintings, and I knew his name since I was a boy. We had an interesting talk about the world of the very small, 3D fractals, and the movie Avatar that we both loved. He asked me to send him a DVD with my collection of Bürgle’s work, and he’ll send me one of his cutting edge microphotography DVDs in return. I love this stuff !!

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