The character assassination of Wolfgang Grasse by Christian de Boeck:
I intended to write on this matter a few years ago (2008), but I did not consider de Boeck, fan of fantastic art, a subject worthy of being written about. However, circumstances change. One–trick dogs that know only the one trick tend to repeat that trick.
Wolfgang Grasse died in 2008. Above is one of his last paintings depicting St George killing the dragon. It is © the estate of Wolfgang Grasse. It was bequeathed to Damian Michaels.
I first became aware of the work of Wolfgang Grasse in the late 1970s when he was featured in a short documentary on Australian television (which followed a documentary on Max Ernst). A few years later I saw one of his paintings on the cover of Nevill Drury's book Other Temples Other Gods.
After some failed attempts to locate him in the late 1980s/early 1990s I finally managed to trace him to Penguin Tasmania.
I passed his contact details to Damian Michaels, whom I first met in 1997, and who later founded, and edited a short–lived fan catalogue/magazine, ArtVisionary. Damain Michaels had been seeking Australian artists to showcase in his fan magazine.
Below is the letter written to me by Wolfgang thanking me for the introduction. Though he had sent material to "VISION ART. MAG" (ArtVisionary), he had not received a response.
Damian Michaels soon visited Wolfgang in Tasmania. Michaels became besotted with the medieval Christian vision of Grasse and soon began promoting Grasse as the greatest ever artistic discovery. De Boeck rightfully dismissed this as unfounded – in particular the claim by Michaels that Grasse was a greater master than Fuchs. The email (screenshot below) shows, Michaels' level of unrestrained enthusiasm.
"You [Christian] have introduced me to one of the most important living fantastic artists alive today. I will forever thank you for this !!! The work I have seen, takes all the best of the best of the worlds fantastic artists and you are left with Wolgang Grasse !!!!! I could not sit down for days when I saw his life and death series. I was so excited and I kept thinking to myself, if Ernst Fuchs and Beksinski saw this work they just wouldn't be able to sleep either. My God, this is the most exciting discovery since I first laid eyes on Fuchs... but now, there is a new master painter the world must know about, WOLFGANG GRASSE !!!!!"
For reasons known only to Michaels, he attributed my introducing him to the works of Grasse to de Boeck instead (Michaels' viscious and histionic response to my asking him about the matter is a subject that is outside the scope of this essay). However, the purpose of the reproduction of this email is intended to demonstrate the root–cause of de Boeck's eventual and entirely unprovoked and relentless attempts to destroy the reputation of Grasse.
De Boeck is a fan of the genre of "Fantastic" art, and uses his own statements he himself makes on his own webpages, as "proofs" of his authority in the field; for instance, de Boeck, has a "fantastic art" "myspace" page and on it he uses material he himself wrote on the "Society of the Imagination" site (hosted by Tripod) as "proof" of his authority on the subject. It becomes evident that he feared that his "authority" was being usurped or undermined by someone else. It appears evident then, that by assassinating the character of Grasse, he could undermine Michaels.
De Boeck's campaign to assassinate the character of Grasse involved emailing mutual contacts that he shared with Michaels, which included myself. Some of these emails obviously came to be seen by Michaels who soon began to email de Boeck with requests that their correspondences remain in–confidence. De Boeck belittled this request as "PARANOIA".
What was worse, was that the criticism of Grasse had (in part) come to revolve on the correspondences between de Boeck and another artist (Clay Anderson), who mistakenly believed that he knew Grasse.
As it turned out, the person Clay Anderson knew was a Wolfgang Gersch, not Wolfgang Grasse.
Grasse's message of 13/5/2000 to de Boeck (as typed out by de Boeck) reads:
"IT SEEMS TO ME, LITTLE MAN,
FAIRNES IS NOT IN YOUR BOOK! NO WONDER, THE ENVIRONMENT
YOU ARE LIVING IN HAS A LONG HISTORY,BESMIRCHING OTHER
PEOPLES LIFES. MAYBE YOU CANT HELP IT.
I HOPE,YOU DONT CALL YOURSELF A CRITIC!
CRITICS ARE FAR MORE CLEAR SIGHTED AND MILES AHEAD
I HAVE NO INTENTION TO BE IN YOUR MICKY MOUSE CLUB,
BECAUSE I DONT LIKE YOUR INSIDIOUS ATTITUDE.
De Boeck never apologised to Grasse.
Wolfgang Grasse died in August 2008, apparently after his partner drowned. Very sad stuff.
Demetrios Vakras 19/4/2010.