Johnny Friedlander was a leading twentieth century artist, whose works have been exhibited in Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Japan and the United States. His preferred medium of aquatint etching is a technically difficult artistic process, of which Friedlaender has been a pioneer. He was born in Pless, Germany as the son of a chemist. During the 1920s, he attended the Academy of Arts in Breslau, where he studied with Otto Mueller. After two years in a Nazi concentration camp, he emigrated to Czechoslovakia, and then to Paris, France. From 1939 to 1943 he was interned in a series of concentration camps, but survived against poor odds. In 1944, he began a series of twelve etchings entitled Images du Malheur. In the same year he received a commission to illustrate four books by Freres Tharaud of the French Academy. In 1945 he performed work for several newspapers including Cavalcade and Carrefour. In the year 1947 he produced the work Reves Cosmiques and in that same year he became a member of the Salon de Mai, which position he held until 1969. In the year 1948 he began a friendship with the painters Nicolas de Stael and Jacques Villon. The following year he showed for the first time in Galerie La Hune in Paris.
Friedlaender expanded his geographic scope in 1951 and exhibited in Tokyo in a modern art show. In the same year he was a participant in the XI Trienale in Milan, Italy. By 1953 he had produced works for a one man show at the Museum of Neuchatel and exhibited at the Galerie Moers in Amsterdam, the II Camino Gallery in Rome, in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil and in Paris.
He accepted an international art award in 1957, becoming the recipient of the Biennial Kakamura Prize in Tokyo. In 1959 he received a teaching post awarded by UNESCO at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. By 1968 Friedlaender was travelling to Puerto Rico, New York and Washington D.C. to hold exhibitions. That year he also purchased a home in the Burgundy region of France. 1971 was another year of diverse international travel including shows in Bern, Milan, Paris, Krefeld and again New York. In the latter city he exhibited paintings at the Far Gallery, a venue becoming well known for its patronage of important twentieth century artists.
From his atelier in Paris he instructed younger artists who themselves went on to become noteworthy, among them Rene Carcan and Graciela Rodo Boulanger. Like Friedlaender, these students were expert in the lithographic and etching arts. The auction value of FriedlaenderÂs works has risen steadily from 1970 to 2006.
1978 brought a retrospective of FriedlaenderÂs works at the Musee dÂArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He was awarded the Lovis Corinth Prize in Regensburg three years later. On his 75th birthday, Friedlaender was given a retrospective in the Bremen Art Museum. On his 80th birthday he held a retrospective exhibition in Bonn at the municipal council offices. Johnny Friedlaender died in Paris at the age of 89.