Munich artist Ali Mitgutsch dies: mourning for the dad of the Wimmelbooks
Created: 01/11/2022, 10:09 PM
From: Katja Kraft
Alfons "Ali" Mitgutsch (1935-2022) with one of his Wimmel books © Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa
Ali Mitgutsch made millions of children happy.
He will always be remembered thanks to his world-famous hidden object books.
Now the Munich artist has died at the age of 86.
His real name was Alfons. But anyone who, like him, came back from his forays through post-war Germany in ruins every time with full pockets - in it chewing gum, chocolate, once a whole box full of Nazi mother crosses - has earned the nickname Ali. Based on the courageous Ali Baba from “A Thousand and One Nights”. A 40-strong band of robbers is said to have defeated him and so came into possession of the robber treasure. Alfons "Ali" Mitgutsch also earned a treasure in his dreary childhood; more valuable than silver and gold. His treasure: the ability to create your own world. With brushes, colors and almost unlimited imagination. Mitgutsch invented the world-famous Wimmel books. Millions of children grew up with it. And millions will be saddened by this news:The Munich artist died at the age of 86.
Glance into one of Ali Mitgutsch's hidden object books.
© Ravensburger Buchverlag
“I don't paint an ideal world,” he said on the occasion of his 75th birthday in an interview with our newspaper.
“I paint one that can be changed for the better.” It's true.
Anyone who looks through the great books that have not been taken off the market since the publication of the first volume, “All around in my city”, in 1968, will not only see nothing but sunshine.
Boys throw each other into the water and play all sorts of pranks on each other;
a bird threatens to prick a balloon and a billy goat rams a zoo visitor in the bottom.
And when you look into a snowy landscape, you don't just see a person lying ugly on your nose.
The glittering white, as we learn in the “Winter Wimmelbuch”, can be quite painful.
Ali Mitgutsch escaped his sad childhood with his pictures
Just as life itself is not always a walk in the park.
Ali Mitgutsch experienced it himself.
Back then, in the Allgäu, where the family fled after Munich was bombed.
Little Alfons was born on August 21, 1935 on Schraudolphstrasse in Schwabing.
But it was always difficult with the other children.
Then at school with a sadistic teacher.
He beat and humiliated the boy.
“I had no friends,” he said in the birthday interview.
“So I made it up myself: a big, big, strong one who helped me, and a smaller, bolder, smarter one who always whispered the best excuses to me.
I have had my adventures with them. "
Dutch Renaissance painters were Ali Mitgutsch's inspiration
We find them again in his pictures, the big, big, strong and the small, cheeky, cunning. That is what is special about Mitgutsch's most famous books - besides the Wimmel works, he has published others as well - they do without words. And yet they tell stories that would last for more than a thousand and one nights. The ripped edges of the actually massive cardboard pages show that they were incredibly popular. How often did you leaf through it as a child. And how much fun it is today to explore the swarm from scratch with a dwarf. The little ones sit in front of it with big eyes - and as soon as the book is opened, it starts with the outstretched index finger and the same word over and over: “There! There! There! ”This is how the fascinated child might be in the museum 30 years later,in front of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) or Pieter Brueghel the Elder Ä. (1525 / 1530-1569). It's teeming there too. Unmistakable: The Dutch painters were the inspiration for the Munich resident. “I've always wanted to be able to put myself in a picture,” said Mitgutsch. He succeeded. Books like a bubble bath. Take your kids - and dive in!