Alfred Wolfgang Schulze, who later took the pseudonym of Otto Wols, was born in Berlin in 1913. In 1919 he moved with his family to Dresden where, from 1927, he began to show a great interest in painting. He was particularly interested in the works of Paul Klee, Otto Dix and George Grosz. In 1930 he began to attended courses at the Reimann-Schule, the School of Applied Arts in Berlin, and started to become involved in photography.
In 1933 Wols arrived in Paris, on the recommendation of László Moholy-Nagy. Here he worked as a German teacher and devoted himself to painting and portrait photography. In these years he became close to Surrealists like Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Yves Tanguy, Victor Brauner and Tristan Tzara. 1937 saw his first important commission for the Universal Exposition in Paris, where he documented the Pavillon de l’Elégance et de la Parure in a photographic reportage. His photos of interiors and of fashion were sold as postcards and also reproduced in many international magazines, earning him a certain fame.
During the war, due to his status as a German immigrant, Wols was interned in a camp near Aix-en-Provence. During this period he produced an enormous quantity of watercolours and drawings that testify to his life in the camp. After 1945 he returned to Paris, where several exhibitions were dedicated to him. In this period he met Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and moved towards Existentialism, a position that was also reflected in his work. In his later years Wols used a combination of powerful brushstrokes in his works, together with superficial, raised and painted structures. After a number of serious health problems Otto Wols died in Paris in 1951.  
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