Schröder-Sonnenstern was born in Tilsit, East Prussia (now Lithuania), one of thirteen children, all of whom apart from one other died shortly after birth. He was sent to a number of reform schools due to accusations of theft and violent behaviour and then to an asylum due to suspected Dementia praecox. His experiences as a child contributed to his lifelong hatred of authority.
He spent time in the army and in a circus before arriving in Berlin in 1919 where he occupied himself with occultism, divination and healing magnetism. He founded a sect and distributed its income in the form of bread rolls to poor children, earning him the title "Schrippenfürst of Schöneberg".
He created the name Sonnenstern (English: Sun Star) for himself while working as a con-artist, posing as a Quack doctor in "natural health", calling himself Professor Dr. Eliot Gnass von Sonnenstern.
His success was short-lived, and his works became less frequent and eventually he resorted to employing other people to produce his work for him. He became increasingly dependent on alcohol following the death, in 1964, of his long-time companion, Martha Möller whom he called Aunt Martha. The difference between genius and schizophenic has been highlighted by extensive research on this enigmatic person by professional psychologist Alfred Bader.
Schröder Sonnenstern's paintings depict erotic and often disturbing figures that are part human and part monster, with distorted body parts such as breasts and genitalia. He used coloured pencil over a thin wash of paint to give depth to his line drawings. Notable works include the demonic Zynus Theory (1953), Vitanovaseturine (1951-2) and several works on the theme of the Fall of man, including Uschastelynore (1951) and The Snake Seduction.Wikipedia