Dietrich Schoenfelder, a retired German living in the Philippines, originally desired to become an architect or a painter.
Born on December 17, 1944 in Dresden, Germany, during the last months of World War 2, Schoenfelder’s family decided to flee to the western part of the country after the Soviet Army occupied their region. They first settled in Frankfurt, later in Bonn—the future capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.
After his education, he had to join the military service, which at that time was a compulsory duty.
It was during those times that Schoenfelder slowly developed his skills on painting. As such, he thought of two careers his newfound passion would be utilized.
However, both his ‘dream jobs’ did not receive the blessings of his parents and they insisted that a secure job as a civil servant would be best.
An obedient son that he is, Schoenfelder followed his parents’ wishes and applied at the German Foreign Service instead. After a successful examination, he studied another three years at the Ministry’s Diplomatic School.
His first deployment followed soon after a final examination in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Then, he was transferred to UN Mission in New York, USA. While in New York, he enrolled at The Art Students League of New York in order to improve his style of painting. Otherwise, he is a self-taught painter.
He was also deployed in Manila, Philippines as Head of Chancellery from 1993 to 1998; in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Kazakhstan, Albania, and Afghanistan. He retired at the age of 68.
Wherever he was stationed, and had the time, he painted either landscapes, motivated by nature, or people and their daily work. Several successful exhibitions later and he was encouraged to continue with his artistic line even after retirement from his diplomatic service.
Presently residing in the Philippines, and dividing his time between Manila and Caliraya, Laguna, Schoenfelder’s works are currently being featured by ArtistSpace.
Entitled “A Symphony in Color,” the exhibit reflects his deep appreciation for nature, and the people whose income and life depend on it.
“Colorful surroundings create an attractively balanced perspective and contribute a distinct character in my works. I view the sun as the mother of all life and the moon as its nightly replacement,” the artist noted.
A Symphony in Colors will be on view at the ArtistSpace until June 13. It is located at the Ayala Museum Annex, Ground Level, Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Makati City.