Author and Art Consultant
Sara Tröster Klemm, Ph.D., is a writer of fiction and an art historian with many scholarly articles to her name.
The basis for an in-depth conversation about art – ask an expert
With a Ph.D. in art history and my second identity as a writer I work at the interface between art, academia and literature. There are few things I like more than getting into an intense dialogue with one single painting, finding out and writing down everything there is to know about it. This is how I developed my own individual system for analysing art in a way that gives the owners of a picture a solid foundation on which to build their own thoughts and ideas and hold knowledgeable conversations. If at all possible, I even visit the artists in their studios first hand to find out more about the meaning and background of the artwork, helped by the fact that the main focus of my work is on contemporary art.
Sara Tröster Klemm was born in Basel, a city of art, in 1980. In 2001 she began her studies of art history and history at Freie Universität Berlin and at the Sorbonne Paris IV, where she was a student of Thomas W. Gaehtgens (Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles), Sarah Wilson of the Courtauld Institute London, Martin Schieder (University of Leipzig) and Uwe Fleckner (University of Hamburg). Whilst with Sarah Wilson, she wrote a paper on Damien Hirst, giving rise to her enthusiasm for contemporary art, which is still her focus today. From 2011 to 2014 she wrote her thesis about the New Leipzig school of contemporary painting with Jürgen Müller at Technische Universität Dresden as part of the national innovation promotions programme funded by the European Social Fund and the Free State of Saxony. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 with the highest honours. In 2005 she received the Cicero essay award for her essay entitled Die Neuen Sklaven – Eine Realutopie (The new slaves – a utopia in reality).
Five books and numerous publications
In 2015 I published my Ph.D. thesis Tim Eitel. Das investigative Bild (Tim Eitel. The investigative painting) with the publishing house Gebr. Mann Verlag Berlin. It was followed by three meticulously researched yet entertaining books about contemporary art and modern history commissioned by the Friends of the Dresden City Art Gallery. My first published book was my master’s thesis in 2008, a description of The Temptation of St Anthony.
As well as essays, reviews and articles for magazines and books, I also wrote various websites and catalogues for artists in Europe, the U.S., New Zealand and Australia. I was also recently commissioned by collectors Terry and John Rakolta Jr. to research and write about their newly purchased Transcending Conflict Art Collection, an important collection of works by artists from the Middle East including Shirin Neshat, Dia Al-Azzawi, Ayman Baalbaki and Reza Aramesh. A selection of my previous publications is listed here.
My offer for artists
Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like a text about your artistic work - be it individual paintings or your life's work. After a personal conversation, I will make you an individual offer.
A heart for cross-over literature
My heart beats for cross-over literature. Time and again I have pushed the boundaries between literature, life and art description. That is why not only my academic writing embodies very high linguistic and literary standards - in my literary works, which have only been known to a select group so far, I choose a path that moves on the border of fiction, fantasy and mercilessly honest reality. Writing is my life, and I take all the freedoms a really good text demands.
My offer for
Have you just bought a painting or a graphic and the work of art is now emblazoned on the wall in your business or private space? Imagine what it would be like to speak competently about this single work! But where do you get the know-how and knowledge for it? After all, it's only marginally about how you like the picture, which colors and objects can be recognized on it, and also not under what circumstances you acquired it - even if that can of course be a wonderful anecdote as an introduction to an enriching art talk !
FAST–TRACK TO ART
Imagine what it would be like to honestly impress your counterpart with real art expertise and the best insider knowledge: What is shown? How and why was the picture created and what references to other works of art history does the enthusiastic art connoisseur discover?
Wouldn't it be fantastic to be able to demonstrate parallels to Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn or Claude Monet, and to experience what an enriching dialogue develops from this? But how are you supposed to know exactly ?!
Fast-track to art
I can imagine that you find it difficult to fit a visit to the library or art gallery into your busy day and undertake detailed research on your own art collection. And yet this research is necessary if you wish to have an informed opinion about art in general and your own piece in particular.
I have the solution to your problem. You can ask me, as your trusted art historian, to perform an in-depth analysis of your artwork. This will provide you with a sound basis for interesting conversations about art, art history, culture and life in general.
"For an artist it is really nice to notice when someone looks benevolently on matters close to their heart. It is even better if this happens with such wisdom and accuracy as yours."
"Thank you so much for the wonderful article - so interesting and so great written."
Art department head of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"excellent scientific contribution" and "lucid interpretations". "Mrs. Tröster Klemm is admirably literate and can explain Eitel's works through many clever comparisons."
PROF. DR. JÜRGEN MÜLLER
via The Investigative Image
"surprisingly brilliant introduction" and "outstanding art-immanent analysis of some selected works"
PROF. DR. ULRICH BISCHOFF
via The Investigative Image
"We have already received the specimen copy of your beautiful book, we are impressed."
MUSEUM FRIEDER BURDA, BADEN-BADEN
2015 about The Investigative Image
"Special originality (...) very unusual research-intensive work", "impressive."
PROF. DR. DR. HC THOMAS W. GAEHTGENS
Founding director of the German Forum for Art History in Paris and until 2018 director of the Getty Research Institute GRI in Los Angeles on my master's thesis Die Große Diagonale
"(...) I was particularly impressed by the sparkling imagination of your text, which often reminded me of the best traditions of science fiction literature - think of Stanislaw Lem."
Senior Vice President Boston Consulting Group
about The New Slaves
It has been a long time coming, but at last the wait is over. In my first major novel Faustkampf – Memoiren einer ausrangierten Mitbewohnerin (Fist fight – memoirs of a discarded roommate) I have embarked on a new journey. At the moment, I'm is in the process of finding a suitable publisher for the completed work. The second novel is already in the making, since for this author of five art books writing is as vital as breathing.
What is it about?
Shared accommodation is immensely popular among students, not least because there are no alternatives. There is hardly a student who wants to miss out on this, experience which allows him or her to mature, grow up – and sometimes go off the rails a bit. The story takes off in Paris. Lea is suffering from claustrophobia and loneliness and wonders how she got herself into such a dire situation. She is struggling with nights spent on her own, which is all the more understandable because she has already reeled in her storybook prince. But he lives in a different world, far away in a bleak small town. Lea keeps taking decisions which she ends up questioning after a while and even her sudden impulse to live on her own is nothing but the highly dramatic escape attempt of a young, idealistic woman. An escape from herself? Her obsessively rosy dreams of harmonious coexistence in a shared student apartment are brutally shattered, the “sharing community” becomes a haunted house.
Before the disaster unfolded, Lea had a clear idea of what she wanted. She shared her first flat with the hot-blooded Latino musician Enzo, hoping that salsa and long nights would colour her life going forward. That was the plan. But instead of moving in himself, Enzo puts two Italian girls into the apartment. Over time, a colourful array of people move in and out of the flat, a sister, her friends, a cousin, an aunt, other friends… And the numbers are growing. Soon, Lea has no idea who will be smoking, munching and slurping at her dinner table in the evening and who those people are who sleep in her flat and come out of the shower naked, leaving their underwear lying everywhere and half-empty glasses to rot in the kitchen sink. Then Lea moves in with Micha, a sensitive architecture student who is also a great cook. Lea’s cosy ideas are at last becoming reality. Friends, parties, a shabby, worm-eaten dining table and a shower cubicle discreetly tacked on to the kitchen. Her life is perfect. Until a dreadful character rises from the depths. Mandy Maulzahn cosies up to Micha, at first as a friend, but then she ends up staying – on a purely temporary basis – for eighteen months. Mandy’s creed is that if you don’t pay rent, you don’t have to do the cleaning. She often offends Lea, who turns out to be rather bourgeois and boring deep down, with her theories – which she delights in presenting with plenty of curses and swearwords. The flat goes to seed, there is mould in the shower and the stack of dirty dishes has reached the ceiling, but Lea tries NLP to convince herself that without a certain level of chaos it would not be a real student flat share.
Lea, the twenty-year-old heroine of the novel, describes her absurd journey with a dry sense of humour somewhere between fantasy and stoicism. It takes her through countless groups of people until she ends up in a shoebox flat in Paris. Soon the new harmony becomes brittle and is revealed as a child of an all-too-persuasive tourist industry. But Lea insists on believing in her good luck and nothing can persuade her otherwise.
“I began to realise that it must be easier to change the world than to get one’s flat mates to keep order and to help in the kitchen. Everything takes time, and I needed to take time to calm my nerves. Hadn’t I first moved in with Enzo? What was he doing anyway? Where was he? And what was I doing here?”
"Art is like medicine – it can heal. Yet I've always been amazed at how many people believe in medicine but don't believe in art, without questioning either."