German painter, born in Heidenau, near Dresden. He initially studied in East Berlin but moved to the West in 1956, studying at the Hochschule für bildende Künste until 1961. He met Georg Baselitz, another refugee from the Communist East in 1957. They worked closely together, giving their first ‘Pandemonium’ exhibition in a derelict house in 1961. After two solo exhibitions, also in Berlin, Schönebeck gave up painting for good in 1966 and took up work as a postman. It is usually assumed that the decision represented a disillusion with the commercialism of the art world. In spite of his personal absence from the scene, since the early 1980s his paintings have been regarded as important forebears of Neo-Expressionism. In the early 1960s he made paintings and drawings of mutilated, crucified figures which have been compared to those of Bacon. His final paintings are heroic representations of revolutionary heroes such as Siqueiros, Mayakovsky, and Ho Chi Minh.