Born in Reichenbach in the Vogtland in 1927, and died in Leipzig in 2004.
Along with Bernhard Heisig and Werner Tübke, Mattheuer was one of the leading representatives of the Leipzig School of painting in the former GDR. His style combines elements derived from the New Objectivity of the 1920s and early 1930s with surreal imagery that could be read as a critical commentary on political reality in the GDR. The oblique subtlety of this imagery avoided provocation, enabling Mattheuer to criticise the empty pathos of official pronouncements in a way intelligible to the rest of the population but not so obvious as to make him a target for attacks by state functionaries.
The two paintings by Mattheuer purchased for the Reichstag Building address issues that preoccupied people in the GDR in 1989. The One and the Others I deals with the isolation of those who, in desiring to lead their own lives, come into conflict with the community, which may have quite legitimate claims on them.
Panic II likewise examines the relationship between individuals and their community. However much these paintings refer to a situation in a specific place at a specific time, the questions they raise concerning the balance of claims between the individual and society are of timeless significance.