Jac Forthuber (Jac For) was born in Wolfersdorf near Freising (Bavaria) on 16 April 1927 as the son of an artisan family. He also spent his youth in Wolfersdorf. From very early on, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: He wanted to become an artist. Due to the premature death of his father, however, Jac For was forced at a young age to help earn his and his family’s living in his father’s firm. Despite these adverse circumstances, he spent all his free time painting.
The Second World War signified an even more crucial break in Jac For’s life: At the age of 16 he was called up for military service. He returned from the war at the age of 18 seriously ill with tuberculosis. Jac For was confined to his bed for years and had visions of the afterlife and the cosmos. He read countless books on these subjects and began a correspondence course in painting. The intense preoccupation with both of his passions astronomy and painting combined with his strong belief enabled him to overcome this serious crisis. Through the correspondence course his artistic talent was discovered and he was granted a scholarship for the Academy of Fine Art in Munich.
Jac For found their conformity with his own inner pictures startling. As he said himself, he was torn between the correct representation of astronomical findings and his artistic fantasy. He experimented with intense colours, form in motion, and with light and shade effects. In the exciting contrast between art and science, he endeavoured to transmit the depth and beauty of the universe to the observer and make the observer aware of its divine origin.
In 1994 Jac For was invited by the Ours Foundation to participate in an international competition with the topic “How do you imagine space travel in the 21st century?”
He submitted his painting “Nereide displays four red spots – a dream”. This painting was included with several others in the “First Outer Space Exhibition”. The cosmos painting travelled with MIR in orbit in 1994 and orbited the earth over 3000 times. Jac For was thus one of the first artists to exhibit his work in outer space.
During his time in Munich, Jac For always kept his residence with atelier in his rural home in Wolfersdorf. In the lasts years of his fulfilled life, he returned to Wolfersdorf permanently with his family, where he worked on his paintings and spent the rest of his life until his death (17 August 2007).
Jac For was a wanderer between the worlds in search of the mystery of life
Jakob Forthuber named himself Jac For and moved to Munich. He married his former nurse (Charlotte Schmidt). This was a very happy and lifelong relationship. Their daughter (Sibylle) stemmed from this union. To begin with, Jac For worked in Munich at a renowned fine art publisher in a senior position. He was able to further perfect his extraordinary capabilities in figurative drawing and portrait painting.
Whereas when he first started painting, he painted mainly portraits and motives from his native surroundings, from 1959 on he turned his attention more and more to the representation of cosmic events. He intensified his second passion: astronomy. In Munich he regularly attended lectures on astronomy and astrophysics. He also made friends with natural scientists and followed the development of space research. He was a member of the Munich Public Observatory for decades and a permanent guest at the series of lectures held there. In 1975 he became a member and later a member of the German Association for Aerospace (DGLR).
Jac For searched and found ways to unite his growing knowledge of astronomy, his pictographic space visions with his painting. When the German Patent Office instituted an “Inventors Gallery” (which can also be viewed in the Internet) the artist was commissioned to paint portraits of 12 living German inventors including Hermann Oberth, the “father of space travel”, Felix Wankel, the inventor of the planetary piston engine, and Conrad Zuse, the inventor of the computer.
Jac For often sat for hours in his private observatory in the heart of Munich in order to observe celestial phenomena. The introduction of the Hubble telescope (around 1990) made it possible for humankind to view increasingly highly defined and exciting pictures of cosmic events.