Updates 2005, 2006: The accuracy of the quoted paragraphs was questioned both by Lucas Weschke, Karl's second son, and Rachel, his daughter. They're directly quoted from a page at notabledeaths.com that is, annoyingly, no longer found at that link. The "Cornish light?" line is also found elsewhere, in the Times and Independent newspapers, but may also be apochryphal. Rachel (the older or the youngest) corrects the biographic detail, noting that Karl had five children: "1.rachel the older , 2.Benjamin 3.Lucas 4.Lore ( not Laura) 5. Rachel the Youngest".
Weschke came to Britain as a prisoner of war and settled in Cape Cornwall, near Land's End, painting German Expressionist-influenced scenes and landscapes. He took pride in "pitting himself against nature: not taming it, but cohabiting with it, if not always amicably". But the oft-told anecdote about Weschke working in artificial light seems to reflect his desire to put his family's needs ahead of his art's, rather than an artistic disavowal of the natural:
The view from his studio was over the desolate moors with their crops of bracken or gorse, to the long rollers of the Atlantic. He loved and respected the sea, both as diver and artist, and painted it in many moods. He was a great debunker.
When asked once by a student whether it was the beautiful Cornish light that had inspired him to live where he did, he snorted dismissively, "Cornish light? I've got a 60-watt light-bulb and I keep the curtains closed." [...]
He was the father of four children - [Rachel,] Benjamin, Lucas, Laura [Lore] and Rachel - and, when relationships didn't work, had no hesitation in bringing the children up on his own, while still continuing to paint. (Their needs came first: painting was done at night. Hence the crack about Cornish light.)
Times obit: Karl Weschke, 1925-2005
Times: Last Word (quoting The Independent on the "Cornish light?" line. Perhaps here at the Independent.)
Weschke at Tate St Ives, Feb-May 2004
Works in the Tate collection
More how we work.