Stefan Moritz Becker, Brooklyn, New York City, 1986


Benjamin Tillig
Director, Museum Starnberger See

Stefan Moritz Becker, born in Munich in 1958, spent his childhood in Starnberg, the town that marked the beginning of his artistic journey. He lived in Munich, New York and Berlin before eventually returning to his hometown. Becker found inspiration in the landscape surrounding the shimmering Lake Starnberg, with its dark wooded shores, green rolling hills, and the mountains appearing or disappearing depending on the weather. The unique light of this landscape, which he called „Föhnlicht” had a profound impact on his artistic sensibilities.

Light played a central role in Becker’s art, serving as the unifying theme across his paintings, photographs, and installations. He described himself as a painter captivated by light, while also exploring various materials and artistic possibilities beyond traditional painting.

At the age of 21, Becker began studying painting at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart while simultaneously living and working in Munich. After graduating, he received a scholarship to move to New York City, where he settled in a studio in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. The sunlight streaming through the west-facing windows of his studio inspired him to create his first spatial drawings and sunlight installations, which captured the passage of time within space.

After four years in Brooklyn, Becker relocated to Berlin, only to return to New York a year later, this time setting up a studio on the Bowery in Manhattan. The old brick building had cast-iron fire escapes, the ladders and walkways casting intricate shadows that literally passed through Becker’s living space and influenced his artwork.

In 1997, having spent over a decade in New York, Becker returned to Munich, where he synthesized his observations of light with his painting experience in various works, projects, and exhibitions. His oeuvre included collections, installations, and photographs, as well as painted windowpanes that filled entire exhibition spaces with colored light, and also shadow drawings in time and space. In the early 2000s, Becker refocused on traditional painting using canvas and pigment.

The artworks in the center of the exhibition date from this period. Becker always developed the colors in his works from pure pigments, utilizing color intensity and layering to create light compositions. The forms and structures of his paintings emerged from the painting process itself, with his brushstrokes clearly visible on the canvas.

In 2004, Becker returned to Starnberg, where he continued to work on his paintings and organized a major exhibition project entitled Hotel Daheim („Hotel At Home”) with local artists. The title, conceived while still in New York, combined two opposing concepts that significantly influenced his life: home and abroad. Sadly, Becker passed away in 2013 at the age of just 55.