Born as Karl-Dietrich Roth on April 21, in Hanover as one of three sons of a German mother and a Swiss father working as a merchant.
Attends primary school in Hanover-Döhren.
Attends secondary school in Hanover.
Roth is accommodated with foster parents in Zurich. At the hotel run by the family Fritz Wyss, where Roth will remain for three years, Jewish and communist artists
and actors also reside during the war. In this environment Roth begins to write poetry and to create his first drawings, pastels, and watercolours.
Roth’s parents move to Switzerland and the whole family takes up residence in Herisau. Roth attends secondary school in St Gallen. He produces his first etching on tin sheet metal and his first oil paintings.
Roth drops out of school and starts an apprenticeship as a graphic designer with Friedrich Wüthrich in Bern (until 1951).
Gerlafingen. Roth suffers a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide.
Roth’s first attempt to refuse military
He produces the unique print Ex libris Franz. He is exempted from military service for health reasons and dismissed from the army.
Bern. Roth continues to earn his living with odd jobs and
Moves to Copenhagen where he is
employed at the firm Unika-Vaev to design textiles.
Reykjavík. Roth moves to Rekjavík to take up residence with Sigri∂ur Björnsdóttir, an Icelandic student he had met while working for Unika-Vaev; they get married.
Roth’s son Karl is
Roth travels to Philadelphia to present himself as a
teacher at the School of Arts. The plan, however, does
New York. At Yale University Roth holds a four-day lectureship as
Visiting Critic and meets Josef Albers.
Reykjavík. Birth of Roth’s second son Björn.
Reykjavík. Birth of Roth’s daughter Vera.
from Sigri∂ur Björnsdottir.
Providence. For a year Roth teaches the graphic arts class at Rhode
Island School of Design.
In the summer Roth’s studio in Providence is cleared due to rent arrears. Excepting an assemblage on cardboard, all of his works are destroyed.
Returns to Reykjavík.
London. Roth teaches at Watfort School of Art as a replacement for Hansjörg Mayer.
May: Düsseldorf. Roth teaches at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf (until 1971).
Projects in Reykjavík, London, Düsseldorf, Braunschweig, Berlin, Lucerne.
Projects in Berlin, Braunschweig, Düsseldorf, London, Reykjavík,
Stuttgart, Vienna, Zurich.
Projects in Berlin, Düsseldorf, London, Reykjavík, Stuttgart, Zug.
Projects in Berlin, Braunschweig, Diessen, Hamburg, Hellnar, Karlsruhe, London, Lucerne, Mosfellssveit, Prinzendorf,
Stuttgart, Vornbach, Watford, Vienna, Zurich, Zug. Increasingly Vera and Björn Roth participate in the works of their father.
Roth teaches at the Art Academy in Munich (“alcoholic miniatures”) and, on invitation of Magnús Pálsson, at the Art School of Reykjavík. Already after ten days,
however, he has to give up his teaching post.
Projects in Reykjavík, Mosfellssveit, Lucerne, Basel, Stuttgart.
In the following two decades Roth pre-eminently travels back and forth between Iceland and Switzerland.
Projects in Mosfellsveit, Paris, Mols, Venice, Stuttgart, Basel.
Spring: Roth temporarily gives up his flat in Stuttgart and moves to Mols, Germany.
Projects in Iceland, Berlin, Mols, Basel, Stuttgart.
Projects in Mosvellsveit, Basel, Mols, Vienna, Chicago, Düsseldorf,
Projects in Iceland, Basel.
Roth’s appearance on TV in January in the Swiss talk show Ziischtigs-Club dealing with the topic “Eat or Diet: a Conflict after the Holidays” triggers indignant reactions among the viewers.
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Frankfurt.
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Stuttgart.
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Hamburg.
Roth is tormented by states of panic and depression. He
himself describes keeping diaries as a form of therapy.
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Hamburg.
At the beginning of the 1990s he establishes the Dieter
Roth Foundation together with his Hamburg patron
Philipp R. Buse. In Buse’s residence, in which the artist
maintains a studio, apart from the largest Roth collection
to date, extensive archives of his works are assembled,
also containing material of his friends and former
Projects in Iceland, Basel, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna.
Roth gives up his flat in the Tuchlauben in Vienna.
Projects in Reykjavík, Basel, Vienna, Zurich, Stuttgart.
Projects in Mosfellsbaer, Sey∂isfjör∂ur, Basel, Marseille.
Roth has health problems.
Projects in Iceland, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Zurich, Basel.
January: Roth appoints Dirk Dobke as curator for the
Dieter Roth Foundation in Hamburg. Through this
arrangement the collection and the Schimmelmuseum
are to be made accessible to the public. Together they
begin to systematize the archives of the works, which
have been accumulating over the years.
On June 5 Dieter Roth dies in his studio on Hegenheimer
Strasse in Basel from heart failure.