Heinrich Heine – “Book of Songs 1827”

Gero Trauth has created pictures illustrating a select number of poems from Heinrich Heine’s “Book of Songs 1827”. These pictures showing an enchanted poetical world are not mimetic illustrations of Heine’s poems but Gero Trauth “translates” them into a world of pictures so typical of him. These are works imbued with inspiration, often under a night sky, magic moments, poetry cast in colours and shapes.

The works of both Heine and Trauth derive from the fantasy of their hearts, but are not free from irony and/or pain. We may therefore say that GeroTrauth interprets rather than illustrates Heine, thus creating his own independent pictorial associations. Just as each picture sheds light on a Heine poem, so each poem is also reflected in a picture.



In 2005, the opening of the exhibition “Heinrich Heine – Book of Songs 1827 / Gero Trauth – Pictures for the Violin 2005” took place in the GEROTRAUTH EXHIBITION HOUSE.

At the opening ceremony the following people spoke and played (from l-r):
Violin virtuoso Martin Panteleev, Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf, Prof. Dr. Bernd Faulenbach, Gero Trauth, Prof. Justus Frantz, Prof. Dr. Joseph A. Kruse and Prof. Dr. Fritz B. Simon
Moderation: Marianne Hambloch
Marianne Hambloch
All further photographs: Heiner Morgenthal

Excerpts from the laudatory speakers:

Prof. Dr. Joseph A. Kruse
Director of the Heinrich Heine Institute and the Heinrich Heine Museum, Düsseldorf
„ […] Things that you create must come from your imagination and from your heart and the tree doesn’t have to be as green as it is. As regards Heine, it was love at first sight for Gero Trauth.
What we have here is a fantastic world. From a writer’s fantasy a new fantasy has been created for really young speakers and listeners. You notice here that the artist has not only given free rein to his fantasy, but has given his very own fantasy as an answer in response to his encounter with nature in the “Book of Songs”. […]“
Prof. Justus Frantz
Conductor and pianist
„ […] You can fall back upon your manual and artistic skills and you do not depend on other people’s whims, but that we have so much in common can also be seen in the fact that you so often talk about tones in your colours and we about colours in our tones. […]“
Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf
First Prime Minister of Saxony (retired)
Senior President of the State Parliament of Saxony
„ […] You, Gero Trauth, create a space for dreams and, what is very important, I think, your dreams are hidden truths: truths which have to be discovered. These illustrations have a value of their own. They illustrate a text, but they also function as texts themselves. I think there is a lot in these illustrations, a power, a strength which goes even so far as provoking what is generally accepted as art in the field of contemporary painting.
Who is really courageous enough to paint fairy tales and dreams in this way? It is almost a stroke of genius that, on the one hand, you illustrate something and at the same time leave much leeway for interpretation. Your illustrations are not explicit and their energy is delivered wrapped up in fairy-tale-like depictions. They challenge the beholder to carry his imagination beyond the text.
It made me happy to experience in your art how space for dreams and fairytales is created and thus a door through which Truth can enter, too – the very truth we refuse to talk about today.
Your illustrations serve the poet, but beyond this also serve another purpose. And this purpose beyond is in my eyes almost as precious as the texts you illustrate […]“
Prof. Dr. Fritz B. Simon
Psychoanalyst, Psychiatrist, Systems Analyst, Berlin
Professor at the University of Witten-Herdecke
„ […] Art was really the only chance – the only field – where you could develop your abilities to the full – and you grabbed this chance! A person who is as obstinate as you are – you were brought up from your early childhood to be obstinate, so you have really always been an artist and you didn’t need to give a damn about the principles of reality – always needs a person who takes care of the principles of reality for you. […]“
Prof. Dr. Bernd Faulenbach
Vice-Director of the Research Institute of Work, Education and Participation
Professor at the Ruhr-University, Bochum
„ […] Heinrich Heine and Gero Trauth create a particularly charming combination. Of course they are both worlds apart, but nevertheless I believe that there is something which they have got in common and that is a tremendously poetic imagination. In many of his poems, Heine creates a poetic or even a romantic situation with the aim of finally rescinding and breaking it by means of an ironical punchline. Gero Trauth illustrates Heinrich Heine. In doing this, he obviously does not want to stick too closely to the poem, but to create his own personal, vivid associations to set free fantasy and inspiration. […]“
Martin Panteleev
Violinist, conductor and composer, Sofia
He performed:

Jules Massenet: Serenade Mélancoliqué
Martin Panteleev: Sonata for Solo Violin
Johann Sebastian Bach: Chaconne in D-minor

Heinrich Heine – The Book of Songs 1827

32 water-coloured graphics, picture size 14 x 19 cm, size of the sheet 28 x 39 cm

Click on the small picture to enlarge

Heinrich Heine – The Book of Songs 1827
Gero Trauth has created pictures illustrating a selected number of poems from Heinrich Heine’s The Book of Songs-1827. These pictures show an enchanted poetical world. He does not illustrate Heine’s poems precisely, but he translates the poems into his typical world of pictures. These are works of an impressed nature, often under a night-time sky, magical moments, lyric poetry cast in colours and shapes.
Both, Heine’s and Trauth’s works, come from the fantasy of their hearts, but are not free from irony and/or pain. Trauth therefore does not only illustrate Heine, but he interprets him and creates his own pictorial associations. Each picture is enlightened by a Heine poem as well as each poem is reflected in a picture.