Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)


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Digital Archive of 18th Century German Texts

Yet, in this surge of color, in heaven and on earth, in the bold reflection-, double shapes, in the mutually corresponding complementary color-, the internal stability of the composition seem- endangered; still, none of his fascinating pictures ever loses the inner structure, the solid form. That is something overlooked by his main driveling, overexuberant. Quite deliberately, a considerable, even determining, portion of the watercolors in this cxhil ition are by Nolde.

Nolde is similar in this respect to Kirchner or to hii-tian Rohlfs, who grew younger through hi- expressive creation. For in- stance, the gentle, supple draftsmanship of Franz Marc, who ventured far enough away from the "academic animal painter" to invent his symbolic forms beyond animal anatomy. Or Paula Modersohn-Becker's severe charcoal drawings, with which the artist — who died early — paved the way toward a new monumentality in portraiture. For all these artists, the relationship to drawing is close, intimate, fraternal. But in this area of jotting on paper — a studio practice for many cen- turies — each of the artists produced something new: the drawing and the watercolor now go out into the world, no longer retained as working material which is always at the artist's disposal.

Peculiarities of Expressionist drawing — often art works produced incidentally — are thus described. The themes touched on included the joy in newly seen land- scape and cityscape, the endless "conversation" with the model, to be viewed as an everlasting summer idyll with forest outings and lakes for swimming as -well as a studio enchantment by the iron stove. The unfettered appearance of the human being, the person, is envisaged.

They are actually concerned with his being, not his doing. Of course, indolence is never portrayed anecdotally, just as pictorial narratives are never to be found. They are entrusted to graphics. The one-time Dresden dropouts from architecture school and their like-minded colleagues in the North and the South admittedly pay tribute to a cheerful existence even in the discipline of drawing and the colorful execution on paper.

From a distance, we can no longer even guess how much calm and humor a sitter or a model maintained when first viewing his likeness. Penetrating ugliness, wretchedness, or misery were not part of the thematic range during the great years until They came later, after tremendous shocks. A few facts have been stated about the format and technique of these works, which were salvaged during a subsequent tumultuous period.

Most of them have a stately format, which, however, does not mean that the artist was feinting with draw- ing fans! The large format allows the drawing hand the freedom to follow the motion "from the arm," which means not so much "neglect" of the art of drawing as spontaneous gestures in the creative process. This is evident not only in retro- spect.

Only the latter were done with a silverpoint; the watercolors were thick and grainy. This unconventional method of drawing had been prefigured in the work of Lovis Corinth and a few others; this "jubilation of color," as it was called, is confined by angular, squarish, or boldly surging lines. But these stylistic devices are not arbitrary acts of one-upmanship by young rebels; they emerged from a totality of thinking and artistic feeling.

They had understood and abandoned van Gogh's manner of painting and drawing as well as that of the color-parceling Pointillists. They had also understood and abandoned theorizing. It was a higher inspiration that allowed the Expressionists, from the very first stroke in their grand era, to capture the world of phenomena in an unfathomed pictorial language. At times, their paths crossed. This was of little significance for their art, however, for direct connections and immediate points of comparison are not to he found. Those aspects of their work which were common to all three became clear only later, after their individual achievements were recognized as part of an overall intellectual move ment known as German Expressionism.

When she died in Paula Modersohn-Becker could no longer have participated in this development. When she was discovered outside her close circle land relatively late at that , she was categorized as a "forerunner" of Expressionism. But this implied restriction does not do justice to the absolute autonomy and artistic status of her work.

A native of Dresden and the daughter of an engineer. Paula Becker grew up in Bremen, in a large, distinguished family. At fifteen she received her first drawing lessons from a Bremen painter. Spending a year with relatives in England, she en tered the London School of Art. But her parents wanted her to become a teacher, and until her final examinations at Bremen's pedagogical seminar] in L, -he had to renounce nearly all artistic activity. Next she was allowed to attend the school for women painters in Berlin: but she was more interested in studying the old mas ters in museums than in academic instruction.

Mackensen had founded at Teufelsmoor. Worpswede became her home. But as much as she ultimately owed to 29 the landscape, the people, and her painter friends there, she nevertheless outgrew them all. At an early date, she felt hemmed in, living with a group of painters in isolation, and she resisted. Soon she was visiting Norway, Berlin, Vienna, and then, in , Paris for the first time.

During the following years, she led a kind of no- madic life, wandering between the moor village of Worpswede and Paris. At the turn of the century, Worpswede constituted a center, on the periphery of the divergent styles of German painting. Here a group of friendly painters had as- sembled, seeking to escape the academism and pseudonaturalism of art schools and to find a harmony between their emotional world and the natural environment in the midst of an unspoiled landscape.

In Paula Becker chose him as her mentor. From her letters and diaries, we learn how deeply she loved the Worpswede countryside, the vast sky, the dark moor, the birch trees by shiny ditches of water, the moor cabins, and the people, marked by living in this world. But few of her paintings are pure landscapes, unlike the genuine Worpsweders. In Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a book about Worpswede, a poetic mono- graph on the landscape and its painters "freighted, the boat waits on the black waters of the canal, and then they move earnestly as though with coffins Paula Modersohn-Becker is not mentioned in this book.

Did the sensitive poet refuse to recognize this young woman as a painter even though he treasured her as a conver- sationalist, who was friendly with his wife, the sculptress Clara Westhoff, and even though, after her death in , he wrote his famous Requiem for a Friend in her memory? Or did he perhaps realize that her art in no way reflected the Nature Lyricism of the Worpswede painters including Otto Modersohn, whom she married in , and that her art could not be brought into harmony with the moody, heav- ily charged painting that he celebrated so aptly?

Paula Modersohn had introduced Rilke to the art of Cezanne. His Letters on Cezanne, written in on the occasion of a memorial exhibition in Paris, were preceded by intense conversations with her. One of her last wishes was to view this exhibition. Four weeks before her death, she wrote to her mother: "I would like to go to Paris for a week. Fifty-six Cezannes are being shown there! According to the sculptress, Paula Modersohn-Becker saw Cezanne "as a big brother Returning home, she criticized Mackensen's manner as "not large enough, too genre-like.

Her art grew more and more away from that of the Worpsweders. In she separated from Otto Modersohn, returning from Paris only after one year. Cezanne, as she herself put it, struck her "like a thunderstorm and a huge event" October 21, , to Clara Rilke. Furthermore, the encounter with paint- ings by Gauguin and the Nobis, as well as the Egyptian and Early Classical art in the Louvre, gave her the strength and the freedom to find herself in that she came to understand a painting as a consciously fashioned, autonomous formal structure.

Make the color sketch exactly as one has felt something in nature Bui mj personal feeling is the main tiling. Once I have estab Iished it. I must bring in from nature the things that make my painting seem natural, so that a layman will onlj think that 1 have painted it from nature" Diaries, October I. Her own warm humanity is an unmistakable part of her paintings. The people in Worpswede, the peasant women and children, the wonderful rigorously dark portraits of Werner Sombart. Thej are either spread across the surface or densely crowded, with a deliberate rejection of perspective. All are economically arranged in strict order within the pictorial space.

Objects in her paintings gain a monumen- tal it y that is never artificial, but bursting with nature. The dense, pow erf til. As early as she had written from Paris that she would like "to have all colors deeper, more intense; 1 get quite angry at this lightness" I February Moor peasants, poorhouse inmates see cat. People, like things, have something familiar about them and yet main- tain the earnestness and dignity of detachment.

This also obtains for the countless self-portraits which she painted from the very outset and through the last few weeks before her death. Others are totally concentrated on the head and the face. There is something icon-like about them: they are actually influenced by Late Classical mummy portraits. The bold simplicity of form turns the personal closeness and autonomy of the portrait into allegorical universality. Paula Modersohn left an unmistakable oeuvre behind, which is all of a piece. Despite her early death, her work may be regarded as truly complete.

Christian Rohlfs Christian Rohlfs was born in His creative period embraces about seven decades during which he was confronted with opposing artistic events which helped to mark his work in a very peculiar way. The "early" Rohlfs was an important nineteenth- century painter, one of the leaders of German plein-air art.

With the new centurj biographically, the caesura coincides with his final departure from Weimar , we are surprised to find a man dose to sixty with the Expressionists: while thev were thirty years his junior, he remained their companion for three decades. In their enthusiasm for the "Expressionist" Rohlfs. This is unfair since there is more of a connection between the two than meets the eye of a casual observer.

He was meant to take over his father's farm, but quite by chance he came to painting. After an accident which ultimately caused the amputation of one leg, the fifteen-year-old, during a long stay in the hospital, began to draw at a doctor's suggestion. The writer Theodor Storm, who happened to see the drawings, recognized his talent.

He assisted the boy and saw to it that he studied with the painter Pietsch in Berlin, later entering the Weimar Kunstakademie in This school, established by the grand duke, mainly cultivated the classicistic tradition handed down from the age of Goethe. Figurative art with educational and historical themes was what the academic painter-to-be had to master. Rohlfs's studies, interrupted by illness, lasted until about In Rohlfs was given a "free studio" at the academy as a special award.

His personal work commenced in the following years. The breakthrough to his own artistry did not occur through figurative painting. His academic training seemed to have been forgotten; in the two decades before the turn of the century, Rohlfs fo- cused almost exclusively on landscape painting. Certain subjects were painted again and again, thus re- calling the French Impressionists, particularly Monet with his Haystacks or his twenty versions of the Cathedral of Rouen.

There is no doubt that French Impressionism influenced Rohlfs's painting. In Weimar, he saw canvases by Monet in and by Sisley and Pissarro in He must have studied them carefully, for his palette became brighter, and the inclusion of colored light first revealed his great coloristic talent. But the influence was limited. Rohlfs ignored the true principle of Impressionism: the permeation of light and color to the point of totally blurring contours and dissolving objective forms.

He no more adopted this principle than did the other so-called German Impression- ists, among whom he maintained a leading position. He was a painter who employed light and color to give things in nature an eminent luminosity, who sometimes ap- plied pigments very loosely, almost dabbing them on, who had a vital temperament which made the critics call his work "bungling," that is, impudent or improper. Yet his goal was not to render atmospheric light; objects keep their weight in his can- vases, determining the formal shape of the painting.

Thus, Rohlfs is closer to the realism of Courbet than to genuine Impressionism. His style is quite unpretentious and as far removed from representation or idealism as from the intensely emotional Nature Lyricism cultivated at that time in Dachau and Worpswede. Soon after the turn of the century, Rohlfs, with seeming abruptness, gave up everything he had attained. The impetus came from meeting Karl-Ernst Osthaus, the founder of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, and from Henry van de Velde, the architect of the museum and an adviser to Osthaus.

In Rohlfs followed the call to Hagen; however, he retained his studio in Weimar until and actively partici- pated in new developments which had now reached the Weimar art school. In the Osthaus collection, Rohlfs saw paintings by Seurat, Signac, and Rysselberghe; their luminosity, their purity of color, must have fascinated him; he adopted the pointillist dogma, the splintering of color and the dissolving of the picture plane into a system of dots.

Shortly thereafter his dialogue with Munch and van Gogh began. The now fifty-five-year-old artist went through a stormy development. Freedom in dealing with the medium, the direct expressivity of color and form, the question 32 of the autonomy of the painting — those were problems he had to cope w ith. Rohlfs fared this challenge, in contrast to the other established German plein-air paint ers for instance. Liebermann and Corinth, who maintained their positions or even fought against the new art. Birch Forest of cat. The raw. Subsequently, land-cape became less and le-- important for him: it was replaced by the figurative composition and the architectural picture.

A frequent theme is the towers of Soest see eat. Rohlfs returned frequently to the medieval town. He met Nolde there in I couldn't find my bearings. These linn composi- tions captured the image of a markedly medieval tow n. At first the pictures were relatively faithful, at time almost jejune, but soon the details became more and more abbreviated. The beloved town, the "splendid nest," beeame so familiar to the artist that he was still painting it from memorv years later. The towers grew loser together: in the center, the heavy and mighty St. Pauli and Petri: in hack. The composition grew denser, more compact and intricate: the picture seemed invincibly solid.

The colors, at first applied with an intensity reminiscent of Impressionism, were soon spread out flatly: often brow n. In later paintings, the colors are heightened to a great luminosity. In abstractly geometric, crystalline form-fields. The objects can be so greatly subor dinated to the formal canon of the picture as to lose their individuality entirely and achieve a metaphorical character. Soest becomes the "old town" per se. Ultimately, the subject is interesting only because of it- colorful, structural quality.

The autonomy of the pictorial architecture can verge on ab-tractness. In pictures like Red Roof or Red Roofs Imong Trees the relationship to the real, ob- jective world is just barely maintained. In contrast. Blue Mountain of consists primarily of blue color form- and broad strokes applied with a palette knife and towering to mount a in- like formation-.

After abandoning landscapes, the artist focused on figurative compositions. The shock caused by World War I was reflected in themes that were previously alien to his work: Driven Man. Gethsemane, War. The dark side of ex- istence, the chasms of destruction and violence, had never been the substance of his art; they belonged to an opposing world which deeply contradicted his inmost being.

Thus, in this time of affliction, conciliatory and humane themes predominate: Prodi- gal Son with Harlots. Return of the Prodigal Son cat. Large, simplified forms are the actual bearers of expression; gestures of figures become gestures of form: they rule the pictorial area with the size and simplicity of woodcuts. The form is emphatically that of drawing: linear structure in black con- tours. Color recedes in these paintings. It is limited to the rich and nuanced tones of planes: the sensual effect is gone.

The participation of color in the impact of the painting is based on its immaterial, spiritual value. Alongside the earnest, religious depictions, there are paintings which are sim- pler and more cheerful in content: these compositions are vivacious, dynamic, full of movement : the confusing headstands of Acrobats cat. Colors, as essential bearers of expres- sion and structural energy, grow more important, becoming brilliant and precious. Christian Rohlfs's art is focused on life — perhaps one can view it as a legacy of his Weimar period. His art is voluptuous and cheerful: disharmonies and dramatics are remote.

One may call him the lyrical poet among the Expressionists. No one — except perhaps Feininger — transformed color into such floating light. During his last few years, he was drawn to the South: he sojourned in the friendly town of As- cona as often as he could. Ultimately, he was not spared the humiliations and scorn of his art by the Nazis. Rohlfs died in EmilNolde Nolde is the prototype of the North German Expressionist; more independent than the others, he lived apart, in self-imposed solitude. Even at eighty, he noted: "How glad I am to be almost alone as an artist among artists, with the whole swarm of artists somewhere else" March 13, Nevertheless, his course as a painter was not isolated: it ran parallel to and often in close connection with others.

His public fight with Max Liebermann in led to the breakup of the Berlin Secession, the most powerful of all associations of German artists. Nolde had become the spokes- man of the young generation — he was almost frightened at realizing it — and he withdrew. Emil Noble's real name was Hansen. He was born in , the son of a peasant who lived in the village of Nolde on the German-Danish border.

Mustering all his strength against much resistance, he managed to free himself from his rustic milieu. Gallen, Switzerland. He look onl what was akin to his own sensibilities, whether it came From ancient or contemporar art, Egypt, Assyria, the masks of the South Sea- and Vfrica, Titian.

Rembrandt, Goya, and later Munch anil Gauguin. In he went to Paris for nine month-, studying at the Vcademie Julian. The Impressionists made little impact on him, except for two: Degas and Manet — "the great, important painter of bright beauty. His was a sure instinct in picking Titian, the father of modern colorists. During the next few years, lie virtually commuted between Copenhagen and Berlin; in the fishing village of Lildstand on Jutland's northern coast, he produced strange pencil drawings, freely invented fantasies.

He wrote about them in to his friend. Hans Kehr: The "hover before me now in drifting color-, more beautiful than I can possibl paint them. T yearn for the day when I will have found my eolor harmonies, my harmonies. He discovered the evocative power of color. Noble had an unusual, almost physical, relationship to flowers: "I felt as if they loved my hand-.

Everything could become a picture now — dreams and fear-, doubt- and happi- ness. He painted in carefree subjeeth ity. I bad to be artistically free — not have God before me. Nolde painted, almost concurrently, children playing or danc- ing. Warrior and Woman, Prince and Sweetheart cat. This could lead to startling contradictions. Thus throughout his life he condemned technology for destroying the natural order.

He fulminated against engineers, who, insensitive to its beauty, were already butchering the beloved coun- tryside of his homeland with dikes and water engines. Yet the same Nolde was also fascinated by the dynamic character of the technological world when he discovered it as a painter — for example, in the Hamburg port during He lived in a cheap rooming house over a sailors' pub and sailed the pinnaces with the dockworkers; he was thrilled by the panorama of the harbor, the noisy bustle, the pulsating rhythm.

Within three weeks, he had produced several oil paintings, the famous series of Hamburg etchings, and a set of large India ink brush drawings see cat. Dynamic and monumentally archaic, they form a highpoint in Nolde's oeuvre. A further example is the Berlin paintings. In his letters and books, he scorned the metropolis of Berlin as a place of decay and degeneracy: "It stinks of perfume, they have water on their brains and they live as food for bacilli and shamelessly like dogs," he wrote to a friend in ; his books speak in a similar vein.

How he cursed the whore of Babylon — Berlin — where he spent all his winters! Yet the painter forgot this scorn. He was fascinated by the splendor and sensory stimuli, by the light and shadow of nightly bustle; with open senses, he took in the beauty and bliss, the hubbub and vice, the corruption and humanity of this world. There were also many watercolors and drawings of the theaters, honky- tonks, and street cafes. The Berlin works form a closed unit in Nolde's oeuvre.

But they are not isolated, even though he did not paint them in this form again. The in- sights and experiences manifested here remained a component of his art. They would return in other paintings, all the way to the Unpainted Pictures from the period of ostracism, when he was prohibited from painting. Asked about the hierarchy of his themes, Nolde put the figurative paintings first, but then he took back his reply, saying that neither the theme nor the motif deter- mined the rank of a painting. To be sure, he went on, the risk in painting free fan- tasies and Biblical pictures was incomparably greater than, say, flowers and gar- dens, which he did in times of relaxation.

Perhaps, he opined, that was why these paintings had gained so many admirers, at least more than the other paintings; but that tended to make him skeptical. In , when Nolde was invited to go along on an expedition to the South Seas, he gave up other plans, tempted by an adventure to exotic coasts. The trip lasted one year. He traveled through Moscow. Here he did numerous drawings, many watercolors, and twenty paintings. He painted Tropical Sun, a dramatic picture with powerful colors built on the con- trast of the complementary colors red and green and the ornamental rhythm of the white waves of the surf.

He was attracted more to the people than to the landscape, however see cat. He sought the pure expression of humanity's early stages, but he saw forlornness and fear and an ineluctable fate: life, bound up with nature in the old social structures and tribal associations, was already doomed by the brutal practices of colonial masters. This realization cast a shadow of melan- choly over his South Seas paintings.

It was not too far from the village of Nolde on the reedy shore of Wiedau, a broad river lowing into the North Sea. Here, and later on in nearby Seebiill, he did mosl ol his subsequent paintings. Anyone familiar with this landscape will find it again in Nolde's pictures. His colors really exisl there — the sharp green ol the huge meadow-, the yellov of the rape fields, the deep blue ol the lake-, rivers, and creeks, and.

During the long twilight ol morning and evening, especially in the fall, the sky shines with wandering clouds in a wealth of color-, ranging from pale green to dark violet and blue, from yellow, brown, and orange to flowing red: light transform- everything in an unreal ocean of colors. Nolde found the landscape that promised to fulfill a yearning — one of the fundamental experiences of German Expressionism — a yearning for the fusion of the self and the cosmos, the striving for the "'primal states'" of human life, when the outer world and the inner world were -till one.

The same yearning had sent Nolde to the South Seas, looking for the "primal stages" of man. In Perhaps that was what Nolde meant when he jotted on a small note, the kind to which he entrusted his thoughts during the time of ostraeism: "Paintings can he so beautiful that thin cannot he shown to profane eyes" June 5. After World War 1. Whim the Dane- began preparing new dikes and drainage projects. Nolde mined a few mile- south, aero— the German horder. Here, on an old high wharf, he built Haus Seehiill after his own designs.

It towers like a citadel, defensive, self-willed, in the flat landscape, visible from afar. Here the painter lived, withdrawn into his own world, acces- sihle to only a small circle of friends. Later the house became a kind of escape fortress which afforded the painter protection from attacks by the Nazis: Nolde had originally welcomed the "move- ment," and hail become a member of the National Socialist party in Soon it became clear how much he had deceived himself; hi- exhibitions were closed, all of his works in German museum- I 1.

He was not allowed to paint. This situation notwithstanding, Nolde, dur- ing those sinister year-, created in Seehiill a series of image- which constitute a kind of synopsis or culmination of hisoeuvre; it consists of hundreds of small water- colors, which he called his i npainted Pictures.

Nolde died in L in Seehiill at the age of eighty-nine. He was buried in a tomb which he had built dining the war for himself and his wife at the edge of the flower garden in Seehiill.

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Height precedes width. Dimensions given for prints reflect image sizes. Hern, Gordon Donald E. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Cambridge, Mass. Signed 1. Not dated. Collection Museum Folkwang. Oil on canvas, 2lWi6 x 23y 8 " Not signed or dated. Collection Von der Heydt-Museum. Signed l. Collection Museum Ludwig. Signed and dated l. Korke, cat no. S48 Collection Museum Folkwang, Essen!

L Tempera on canvas. Korke, cat. L Tempera on canvas, l. Signed and dated I. Essen fl6 Songbird Singvogel. Collection Museum Folkwang, Essen 17 Cerberus. Essen if25 Death as Juggler Tod als Jongleur. Gift of Dr. Nol dated. Signed u. Matthew T. Mellon Foundation Fund. Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum. Watercolor, Y. Signed ]. Color lithograph, 24 7i 6 x 20yi 6 " 62x51 cm. Essen 69 Self-Portrait Selbstbildnis. Essen 74 Saul and David. Essen f75 Bible Scholars Schriftgelehrte. Essen f79 Actress Schauspielerin.

Essen 80 Russian Woman Russin. Der 1. The collective image of this group clouds the achievements of the individual artists, focusing attention on a very brief span in their lives and works. This was undoubtedly necessary. Each, according to his own tempera- ment, had tried to make the painful break more or less abruptly, but none had succeeded.

Decades later, Heckel was still evoking the ideal of his youth in portraits of his friends. Otto Mueller, absorbed in thought and quietly puff- ing on his pipe, is sitting on a stool in front, at the left. He is staring at Schmidt-Rottluff, who stands at the right, enduring the stare without responding. Between them is Heckel in a frontal position, which enables him to turn to either side to mediate if need be.

There were many communities of artists in the early twentieth century. Some began purely as exhibition groups, such as the entire Secession movement, which then separated into the New and Free Secessions. Others, like the Nabis, were joined by a common aesthetics.

And still others, like the Fauves, had emerged out of friendship. At that time, Matisse was thirty-six; not only had he been trained in Moreau's studio, but he was already an experienced painter. None of them could point to any appreciable experience or training as painters, 90 much less to any public exposure as artists. The initial stage was not a process of artistic development leading inevitably to a union. It was faith in their own unproven strength, a revolutionary, optimistic impetus linking all the youth of Europe that became the mainspring here. The shore on which they stood had to be abandoned.

But no one could say with what methods a bridge could be built to the other side. What we call 'road' is hesitation. Everyone who with directness and authenticity conveys that which drives them to create belongs to us. Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Kirchner, who was born the son of a paper chemist in Aschaffenburg in , had been attending school in Chemnitz, Saxony, since In he began studying architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, passing his examinations in During his final years in Chemnitz, Kirchner had taken private lessons in drawing; later, he gratefully recalled his British teacher of watercolors.

At twenty-one, he decided to study architecture, probably more out of consideration for his family than of his own accord, for he was already solidly imbued with "the dream of painting. There he studied composition and drawing from the nude. During , in Dresden, he had met Fritz Bleyl, an architecture student, who also had been born in Together they experimented with drawing and painting. Along with their proclivity for literature, they quickly discovered their joint love of painting, and they began to draw and paint together.

For Heckel, literature was at first as important as painting, so that for a long time he was undecided as to whether he should become a writer or a painter. In he moved to Dresden to study architecture. There he soon met Kirchner and Bleyl through his older brother. In , after three semesters, he dropped out of school, devoting himself fully to painting, even though he initially worked as a draftsman in an architectural office in order to earn a living. Finally, in , Karl Schmidt-Rottluff came to Dresden, also to study architecture, but he dropped out after only two semesters.

In , when Emil Nolde had a show at the Galerie Arnold in Dresden, the older man was invited to join the group. A further goal is to create an exhibiting space of our own — an ideal goal for now. Well, dear Mr. Nolde, however and ivhatever you may feel, we wanted to pay our tribute in this way for your color tempests. Nolde became a member for a year and a half. In the summer of , Erich Heckel met Max Pechstein. Pechstein, born in Zwickau, Saxony, in , had finished an apprenticeship as a scenic painter and had entered Dresden's Kunstgewerbeschule in From until he completed his training as a master pupil at the Dresden Akademie, which awarded him the Saxon State Prize, the so-called Rome Prize.

These studies certainly gave Pechstein a headstart, and his less aggressive temperament was also an advantage, so that subsequently he was the first to gain recognition. After making Pechstein a member of their hoard. Heckel later recalled: "The first encounter with Otto Mueller's paintings was in Berlin, at the showing of the 'Rejects of the Berlin Secession.

And we met him personally the very same day in his studio on Mommsenstrasse. This meeting was significant for all of us and occurred at a fruitful moment; and. Born in Liebau, Silesia, in Travels with his cousin, the writer Gerhart I fauptmann, took him to [talj and Sw it- zerland. During he attended the Munich Akademie, returning to Dresden and then moving to Berlin in Nonetheless, it was remarkable of them to try to include foreign artists.

Here in Dresden, in The artists" faith was accorded in equal measure to the "'new generation whether of creative contributors or recipients. The campaign brought in sixty-eight members. Of course, this idea meant different things to different members. Erich Decked was most open to such suggestions, which is why he became the business manager of the group. For him printed graphics always spelled a means of achieving a broader impact, so that numerous woodcuts of his were printed in very large editions.

For Kirchner, however, who, with rare exception, pulled his graphics himself, every print shows an individual character. And Schmidt- Rottluff never acknowledged any print that was not signed by him. Admittedly — and the situation has scarcely changed today — they could reach only people who 93 were already interested or converted; nonetheless, the effort was a sound one. The earlier joint drawing and painting sessions of the young students had inevi- tably generated the need for more and more intense work.


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Thus the founding of this group of artists did not bring any change for them; it was merely an outer mani- festation of a life-style that they were already practicing. In Kirchner noted in his journal : A happy coincidence brought together the really talented men whose characters and gifts, even in human terms, left them with no other choice than the profes- sion of artist.

This form of living, of dwelling and working, though peculiar for a regular human being, was not a deliberate epater le bourgeois, but simply a very naive and pure necessity to harmonize art and life. And it ivas precisely this more than anything else that so tremendously influenced the forms of present-day art. Of course, it was mostly misunderstood and totally distorted, for there [the will] fashioned the form and gave it meaning, ivhereas here the unfamiliar form is affixed to habit, like a top hat on a cow.

The path of development in these matters of external life, from the first decorated ceiling in the first Dresden studio to the completed harmonious space in the Berlin studios of the individual artists, is an uninterrupted logical intensi- fication, going hand in hand with the painterly development of the paintings, graphics, and sculptures. The first boivl that ivas carved — because no appealing boivl was purchasable — brought three-dimensional form into the tivo-dimen- sional form of the painting, and thus the personal form was thoroughly manipu- lated by the various techniques until the final stroke.

The painter's love for the girl, who ivas his companion and assistant, was transferred to the carved figure, ennobled itself [through] the surroundings [in] the painting and again ren- dered the special form of a chair or table from the living habits of the human model. Such was the path of artistic creation in a simple example. This utter devotion shone in Erich HeckeTs eyes the first time he came to my place to draw from the nude and loudly declaimed Zarathustra as he climbed the stairs; and [a few] months later, I saiv the same radiance in S[chmidt]- R[ottluff]'s eyes when he came to us, seeking freedom, like myself, in free work; and the first thing for the painters ivas free drawing of free people in free natur- alness.

With Kirchner, it began as an attempt to take advantage of an oppor- tunity. The artists drew and painted. Hundreds of pieces a day, with talking and playing in between, the painters also acted as models, and vice versa. All en- counters in everyday life ivere thus integrated into our memories. The studio became a home for the people ivho were draivn: they learned from the painters, the painters from them. The pictures absorbed life, immediately and richly. The goal of these young sons of the middle class was to fuse art and life in sen- sual harmony. This struck them as a chance to find their way out of the random and noncommittal art of their fathers, out of an Impressionistic practice which repre- sented bourgeois society, bourgeois dominance: "Impressionism," wrote Hermann Bahr in , "is man's apostasy from the intellect; the Impressionist is man re- duced to a Gramophone of the external world.

The loveliest prismatic colors and the famous Cubist style have become meaningless in terms of the objectives of the iconoclasts. Their thinking has a different aim: with their labor, they want to create symbols for their era. The strongest main- springs of this society were felt to be crass materialism and shameless egotism.

Materialism and egotism are the basis of the dosed economic system that Otto Flake describes in his novel Die Stadt des Hirns The City of the Brain : "The hoi things were statute labor, coercion, encumbrance, necessity — things that were not voluntary and that keep man from finding himself. Work itself, the system — which pulled people into its mills with iron arms — the desire for money, profit, power, ambition, and satisfaction, these were lies, slavery, exploitation of egotistic in- stincts, a lack of love among all men.

In order to gain elbow room and freedom of life, the young painters settled in a working-class area of Dresden. Dealing with the apparently unsophisticated peo- ple living here was not just meant to document externally the break with the artists" own backgrounds. Kin liner and his friends hoped to get closer to an origi- nal feeling. They hoped to find origins from which a new human being could emerge, the man that Nietzsche had set up as a goal. These ardent admirers of Nietzsche had their faith, their yearning, their hope and confidence confirmed in Zarathustra.

A perilous crossing, a perilous wayfaring, a perilous staying-behind. The greatness of man is that he is a bridge and not a purpose: the lovablencss of man is that he is a going-across and going-under. I love those icho do not know how to live except by going under, for they are the ones who go across. I love those ivho do not first look beyond the stars for a reason to go under and be sacrificed, but who sacrifice themselves to the earth so that the earth may some day become the superman's.

This also makes it understandable why van Gogh had to have such a strong im- pact on Kirchner, Heckel, and Schmidt-Rottluff. For van Gogh, painting was the only way he could express his ecstatic love of people and things. He exposed himself to them immediately. He empathized with things in order to penetrate the reflection of the external world and communicate a different reality, which he experienced with intense excitement.

This communication took place through the heightened sound of blazing colors, through a dynamically darting brush script whose spontaneous strokes directly mirror the artist's psychological state. The compulsion to expose himself, unshielded, to the world in order to expe- rience its truth devoured the artist's energy in a few brief years. His way — creating art as a response to existential ordeal and giving up his life when the tension was no longer to be borne — was an exemplary and tragic destiny, which ultimately also became Kirchner's doom. Heckel had rented a butcher shop on Dresden's Berlinerstrasse for a studio.

Here they worked with obsessive zeal and utmost intensity. The point of departure was Neo-Impressionism and van Gogh, whose works had been shown in Dresden during and From the very outset, they made woodcuts, which became highly significant as a means of clarifying form since a woodcut demands a strict, terse shaping of the pictorial idea as no other technique does. Kirchner described the importance of graphics as follows: The will driving the artist to do graphic work is perhaps in part an effort to stamp the unique loose form of the drawing solidly and definitively.

On the other hand, the technical manipulations release energy in the artist, forces that do not come into play with the much easier handling of drawing ami painting. The mechanical process of printing unites the various icork phases; the task of cre- ating the form can be safely extended as long as one likes. There is something very attractive about reworking over and over again, for weeks, indeed months on end, without the plate's losing its freshness. The mysterious charm, the aura around the invention of printing in the Middle Ages is still felt today by anyone dealing seriously and in detail with the graphic craft.

There is no greater joy than xvatching the printers roller the first time it moves across the wood block, which you have just finished carving; or etching the lithographic plate with nitric acid and gum arable and observing whether the desired effect comes about; or testing the final maturation of the definitive version of the prints.

How interesting it is to feel your way around graphics, print after print, doivn to the slightest detail, without feeling the hours go by. In no way can you get to knoiv an artist better than through his graphics. The themes of this early period were taken from the everyday environment: landscapes, street views, portraits, and nudes. The woodcuts clearly show the influ- ence of Vallotton and of Jugendstil. The novel feature was that individual portions of the plate were more or less covered during the etching phase: this produced richly nuanced, flat, chiaroscuro effects.

In they became inter- 96 ested in lithography, at a point when formal development necessitated painterly, pictorial solutions. In the summer months the friends normalh separated, and then assimilated their individual experiences under mutual supervision. Schmidt-Rottluff spent the autumn of at Nolde's place in Alsen.

In Pechstein traveled to Italy and Paris; lleckel and Schmidt-Rottluff painted together — as they did in the follow ing years — in Dangast, Oldenhurg, on the North Sea. In Pechstein moved to Berlin, and Kirchner sojourned for the first time on the Baltic island of Fehmarn. Pechstein discovered Nidda. East Prussia, on the Baltic Sea.

In Heckel. Kirchner, and Pechstein spent the summer on the Moritz- hurg lakes. Heckel and Pechstein then joined Schmidt-Rottluff in Dangast. In Schmidt-Rottluff traveled from Dangast to Norway. Pechstein recalled the summer of When ice ivere together in Berlin. I arranged with Heckel and Kirchner for the three of us to work by the lakes surrounding Moritzburg.

We had long since grown familiar with the landscape, and ice knew ice would have the possibility of painting nudes undisturbed in the open countryside. When I ar- rived in Dresden and dropped in at the old shop in Friedrichstadt, we discussed the realization of our plans. We had to find two or three people who were not professional models and who would therefore guarantee movements without studio training. He told us about the wife of an artist who had died and her two daughters. I presented our earnest artistic plan to her.

She visited us in our shop in Friedrichstadt, and since she found a familiar milieu there, she agreed to let her daughters go to Moritzburg with us. We had luck with the weather too: there was not a rainy day. Note and then, a horse market icould take place in Moritzburg [see cat. In a painting and in countless studies I captured the throng around the shiny animal bodies. We lived in absolute harmony, working and swimming. If a male model was lacking as a counterpole. Off and on. With her mind at ease and im- bued xcith respect for our work, she would head back to Dresden.

Fach of us produced numerous sketches, drawings, and paintings. The impressions were captured in countless sketches, jotted down on drawing pads, or pierced into metallic plates with the "cold needle. The main thing was spontaneity of expression, which was to be drawn from natural, virtually random poses.

That was why, from the very start, the artists had practiced catching the models in quickly changing positions. But through the subsequent translation of the nudes into paintings or woodcuts in the studio, moderation and artistic order were always preserved.

Intensive studies of the nude, especially the nude in swift motion, served to establish form. The landscape, on the other hand, was the motif that evoked emotions and sensations. Such sensations, detached from the motif, were translated into color. The emotional value of color was the point of departure for painting. First, the artist applied color planes, from which objective forms gradually took shape. The nude and the landscape were joined together into a single motif. Naked people in the open countryside became the expression of original and pristine Being, a way of overcoming social restraints.

Man was viewed as an integral part of nature. This also applied to the liberation of eros, the release of the physical from the confinement of hypocritical bourgeois moral notions. Spontaneously applied colors produce a decorative harmony of planes that is mainly ruled by green. The intense hues and sketchy brushwork impart a vibrant, expressive immediacy. The dramatic form of the large tree is taken up by the motion of the figures. Through colors these figures are integrated into the expression of the painting, both repeating the color- fulness and, in a complementary fashion, intensifying it.

Such existential unity in nature was ultimately compressed by Schmidt-Rottluff in into a few essential abbreviations and semantic signs, as in the painting Summer fig. Two female figures stand in a landscape, which is presented in terms of signs, with the sparest devices, a few jags of bushes and curves of dunes. Large color planes are inserted between these lines.

Man and nature fuse into radiant red. The monumental rigor of this art aims at symbols: it does not intend to render visible spiritual states by way of emotions, but rather to depict fundamental truths. This striving is true not only for Kirchner, but also for Heckel, who painted Crystalline Day fig.

Here, too, the order of things and their equivalent mutual tension are sought in one another. The deliberately angular and awkward structure, which has its origin in large woodcuts, allows a peculiar depiction of light. Reflections, refractions, and reflexes are transformed into crystalline forms. Sky, earth, water, and man are blended into a unity with the aid of the visible atmosphere. Along with this theme, the experience of the circus and the music hall are dealt with as expressions of intensified life see cat.

This intensification, like naturalness, is viewed as a way of overcoming encumbered middle-class be- havior; it offers paths to the "new man. Even in portraits, the title merely describes the person instead of giving his name. Siddi Heckel 99 The results were presented in exhibitions, some of which traveled through Germany and Switzerland. Their self-assurance about their artistic methods was also documented by the fact that Kirchner and Pechstein founded a school, the MUIM-Institut Moderner Unterricht in Malerei: Modern Instruction in Paint- ing , which, however, was not successful.

The most obvious confirmation of their achievements was the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne , a joint show of contemporary German and French art. Heckel and Kirchner were commissioned to decorate a chapel at the exhibition — a sensational event. Kirchner's text was turned down by his friends because of his subjective interpretation. What had been conceived of as a joint avowal led to the final rupture in However, the true causes lay deeper.

As hard as the artists tried, as arduously as they attempted to maintain an optimistic impetus, they were forced to admit that they could do little for the sufferings of the world. On the one hand, they saw that in Paris artists were concentrating on a formal grasp of the world with the help of Cubism.

On the other hand, they saw that in Munich the original demand of the Blaue Reiter — for a synthesis of experiences from the outer world with those from the inner world — varied according to the ultimately subjective depiction of individual sensations and emotions.

They saw that the Futurists, in their first manifesto , were seeking salvation in violence, when Marinetti proclaimed: "We want to praise war — that sole hygiene of the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful thoughts that kill, and the scorn of woman. They now realized how differently the various temperaments had to react. For whether suffering is caused by society, whether its roots are in the social system, or whether it stems from personal fate or disease, it is borne by the individual.

And the individual has to react. It became especially obvious to Erich Heckel that he could do nothing without personal involvement. His subject matter had the most distinct personal reference. As of , Heckel dealt increas- ingly with themes such as the suffering woman, corpses, sick people, Pierrot dying, and "madmen eating" see cat. Even the world of circus performers now acquired the aspect of the tragic presence of man. Melancholy supplanted the relief of good cheer.


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  • These works anticipated much of what Heckel was to do after the outbreak of World War I. In he became a medical orderly in Flanders. The familiar motifs were now joined by wounded men, recovering or dying. Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, who had done little figurative painting until then, also turned to a new theme under the impact of imminent disaster: the clothed woman by the sea.

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    In the woodcut Mourners on the Beach, the wordless conversations of two women are mutely earnest and filled with grief. These figures with over sized heads and small. For the first time. Schmidt -KotthifTs figures show spiritual affliction and human closeness that are not absorbed by the surrounding nature.

    On the contrary, the now subtler landscape emphasizes the unresolved tension. The colors, predomi- nantly ochre, reddish brown, and dark green, underscore the melancholy character of these paintings. The phenomenal unity of nature and man is shattered: man is alienated from nature. Until he was drafted in , the artist continued to paint individual figures, portraits, or nudes Idling the entire picture space see cat. The necessity of rendering psychology purely through the expressive force of lines and colors made him resort to the African and South Seas sculptures he had discovered earlier in Dresden.

    From these sculptures, he borrowed both conciseness of form and organic abstraction. However, the artist who reacted most violently was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. He found his new theme in the hectic and unnatural condition ol the modern metropolis. He was the only one to show the helpless compulsion, the desolation of the alienated man. The years brought the famous Berlin street scenes. The cocottes animating the nocturnal streets became his symbol of abandonment, a symbol of unstable, precarious existence I cat.

    The large painting Potsdamer Platz, Berlin. The nervously fanning brushstroke relays the disquiet, the imperil- ment of the artist. Harvard University.

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    Oldenburg Ludwig-Roselius-Sammlung. Philip Morris is proud to join with the Federal Republic of Germany and the National Endowment for the Arts in presenting this art now in an exciting exhibition, Expressionism — a German Intuition. One basic appeal for us at Philip Morris, a company with activities in many countries, is the cultural universality associated with German Expressionism. Shaped in part by French art. Oceanic and other primitive art. Munch and Ensor. Among the Expressionists were Russian. Austrian, and American artists hound in common purpose.

    Enduring creativity is not produced by the indifferent or the unconcerned, and the German Expression- ists labored with conviction, imagination, and passion for freedom. More than fifty years later, their work still retains the capacity to stun the emotions with its fury and force. Philip Morris, long committed to the proposition that free art is essential in a free society, supports this exhibition as a tribute, above all. The title reaffirms the generally held view that Expressionism of the early twentieth century is a style and a sensibility specifically German.

    The brief chronological span of the exhibition eliminates from consideration immediate precursor movements such as Jugendstil — the German variant of Art Nouveau — or German Impressionism as well as Expressionism's deeper roots in nineteenth-century German Romanticism and in other expressive currents that revealed themselves throughout the history of art. At the other end, the closing year of is intended to restrict the survey to the originators of German Expressionism rather than to follow the transformation of the Expressionists' initiate awareness into late manifestations and into various successor movements.

    Stylistically, German Expressionism is not so easily isolated. Nevertheless, our purpose is to emphasize, within the fifteen years under considera- tion and from diverse though ultimately related geographic origins, those attributes that gave rise to the concept of Expressionism as a German intuition. What such attributes are is in part defined in the subsequent catalogue and perhaps should more reliably emerge as a visual rather than a theoretical experience from the works that comprise the exhibition itself.

    This exhibition owes its inception to the curiosity and interest expressed on the East and West Coasts of the United States in a now famous twentieth-century art move- ment, which to date has received insufficient exposure in this country. Through the willingness of the West German source to respond with generosity and creative zest, the desire to present Expressionism — a German Intuition, has been realized.

    The cultural office of the Federal Republic of Germany should be mentioned at the outset, as our proposal was met with munificent support and cooperation with- out which the loan of so many crucial works would not have been possible. Marie-Cecile Schulte Strathaus, Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the German Consulate, have at different times given their unstinting support for 12 this undertaking from its formative stages and throughout its implementation.

    Pro- fessor Dr. Paul Vogt, Director of the Museum Folkwang. Essen, first mobilized essential good will for this project within the German museum community, then organized the selection of works from both public and private collections abroad. We are indebted to him for his unfailing advice and for the monumental efforts he made while occupying such a central position. Grateful acknowledgement is also due to Dr.

    Wolf-Dieter Dube for his active and fruitful participation in this same area of endeavor. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Berlinische Galerie, for sharing their insights and knowledge in the following catalogue texts. We are thankful to Joanne Greenspun for editing this publication and for her skillful handling of its pro- duction. Among the many members of the Guggenheim's staff whose expertise was called upon, particular mention goes to Susan B.

    Hirschfeld, Curatorial Coordinator, for her intelligent and sustained work on all facets of the exhibition and publication. Acknowledgement is also due to Carol Fuerstein. Editor, who acted as catalogue consultant; Harold B. John, Controller at San Francisco, jointly managed the highly complex budgetary and administrative aspects of this exhibition.

    Key among the staff contributions has been the work of Nona Ghent. Vssistanl to the Director, who handled all aspects of the indemnification process and managed many details of organization. Karen Tsujimoto, Louise Katzman. Director of the San Francisco Goethe Institute. Heinz Pallasch of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Gei L3 many in San Francisco arranged original introductions and was helpful throughout the preparation period.

    To these and to many more our sincere professional thanks. The high costs incurred in mounting an exhibition and producing an accom- panying catalogue in this period of inflation cannot be met by museums alone. We are therefore particularly grateful to the Federal Republic of Germany not only for their organizational aid as previously mentioned, but also for their generous financial support. Philip Morris Incorporated, in addition to donating crucial funds for the exhibition, has provided their highly skilled and competent staffs to work with our own, thus ensuring an exposure of this project that reaches beyond the confines of the exhibition as such.

    And we are, again, the thankful recipients of monies from the National Endowment for the Arts, whose reliable support and in- terest have made possible so many of our most valuable past endeavors. To these, and to the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities for indemnifying the exhibi- tion, we owe our sincere appreciation and deep respect. Finally, it is a pleasure to report that Lufthansa German Airlines decided to join the above listed patrons and sponsors. By contributing the transatlantic shipments free of charge, this leading German concern has further reduced the financial burdens inherent in an under- taking of such ambitiousness and scope.

    Our deepest indebtedness, however, is due to the lenders. Among these we are particularly grateful to the Museum Folkwang in Essen for the loan of well over one hundred works. May Collection, and the Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst, Munich, for their mag- nanimous commitments of many works of extraordinary importance for this ex- hibition. Our gratitude toward those mentioned here, to those cited in this catalogue's list of lenders, as well as to those who have chosen to remain anonymous is correspondingly great.

    Their willingness to part temporarily with works of exceptional strength and pertinence has made possible the successful implementa- tion of this exhibition in both New York and San Francisco. Hopkins, Director The Solomon R. One promptly thinks of intensely expressive and stunningly immediate works; of colors that no longer correspond to traditional aesthetic notions but rather evoke legendary ele- ments in violent and unwonted tones; of apocalyptic visions and hectic attitudes toward form. German art of that time followed the general European direction in a very special way.

    Europe was aiming at an immediate confrontation with reality, unburdened by tradition or history; and it was trying to express this new tension between the self and the world as forcefully as possible. More than six decades have passed since Expressionism reached its highpoint in Berlin shortly before World War I. Nearly all art movements since then have had to deal with Expressionism in one way or another; but we have not yet come to any fundamental agreement about the true validity of this powerfully expressive style.

    Expressionism has been both highly lauded and condemned as "degenerate"; praised as an utterance of the "German essence" and branded "late-bourgeois ideal- ism" or "bolshevistic. The more scholars deal with this highly complex movement in the fine arts, music, and literature, the more sharply they realize how impossible it is to reduce Expressionism to an artistic or philosophical denominator. For one of the essential traits of Expressionism is its contradictions, its apparently chaotic multiplicity of divergent features, its contrasts between freedom and fetter- ing, the individual and the masses, intellect and instinct, idealism and anarchy.

    However, two facts would be significant for any analysis. First of all, German Expressionism is deeply stamped by the idea of a universal revolution, and not just one limited to the realm of aesthetics. The conviction of an urgent need to topple all values and relations is common to all its advocates, no matter what their individual views may be. Such conviction is the actual Utopian goal of all Expressionist thinking and doing; and any means are justified for the revolution. The choice of means is in each instance determined by the ideological consciousness of the participating artists or groups.

    Secondly, although highly typical of the beginning of the twentieth century, Expressionism has been a specific and familiar constant in German art for hundreds of years. Its essential features are deeply rooted in Germany's formal attitudes and specific ways of thinking. One must therefore regard this special view, order, and reading of the world as a national characteristic.

    Expressivity — as a synonym for an intense desire to utter, to communicate from the "universe of the interior" — is 16 virtually representative of the uniqueness of German art ; hence it logically charac- terizes the position of German art versus the Latin sense of form. This is merely one. The tumul- tuous period of the Reformation and the religious wars strengthened the expressive trends: and we know the part these trends played in German Romanticism. The art work was not meant to describe or arrange reality: it was supposed to interpret it. The art- ist's task was "to show an unearthly Being that dwells behind everything" Franz Marc , to fashion out a metaphysical conception of Being by heightening and trans- muting the forms of objective Being into symbolic forms of the human world of emotion and expression.

    Yet it is in terms of the above-mentioned dialect its. The European North, deeply entangled in the mys- terious and tension-ridden creative process, nevertheless sees an ideal in the har- mony of formal perfection. This explains why German artists gazed southward, toward Italy, for centuries, gradually shifting their eyes toward France, also a Latin country, in the late nineteenth century.

    Art history reveals a great number of artists who tried to overcome this internal dichotomy by adopting preformed principles of order. His oeuvre clearly manifested this conflict between the two poles. But his journal also demonstrated that, at the end of his life, he no longer tried to grasp that absolute law which he called beauty. However, the fundamental difference in points of view and points of departure prevented any success of such efforts.

    Neither the great German masters of the Middle Ages nor those who followed them were basically interested in transmuting what they saw into pure, abstract form: but this was a matter of course for artists in Latin countries. The "Nordic" or "Germanic" artist — whichever we wish to call him in contrast to Mediterranean culture — did not see the visible as the material for intellectual activity pouring into the organizational principle of the painting. He did not believe in a perfection that can be realized in this world even though he did uphold the notion as a secret ideal.

    Instead, he opposed the principle of the ratio with a principle that struck him as more important: artistic creation as reflecting the tensions of human existence, reality as an imaginative counterimage. The world. The direct relationship to visible Being is replaced by the vision, in which the sense of self is exalted. It is obvious 17 that such expressive behavior emerged more vehemently in times of spiritual agita- tion than in calmer periods. If we compare such works with contemporary ones of the Italian Renaissance, we will again confirm that German art understands form primarily as the bearer of expression.

    In the North, the pictorial imagination freely ignores the traditional rules of perspective, proportion, or anatomy in favor of "internal necessity. The Nordic work, with its seeming lack of form or restraint, must have appeared arbitrary to the Latin ob- server, who was frightened by its terrifying intensity, which was not subject to any traditional aesthetic rule.

    Relations between "Gothic" elements of German art as the emotional function of line, color, and form were frequently termed, though incorrectly and post German Expressionism are obvious; art historians saw these relations early on. For their part, the painters of the revolutionary generation that was born in repeatedly pointed to the influence of such sources.

    Numerous statements inform us of the young artists' aversion to anything classical and of their passionate interest in the "archaic" and the "primitive," that is, the unsophisticated. Similarly, the visions of Franz Marc of Munich, this "yearn- ing for an indivisible Being," the faith in the cosmic integration of all living things — all this is part of the universal feeling of German Romanticism at the start of the nineteenth century.

    However, one should not view such relationships too narrowly or define them as directly derived. Fundamentally germane, probably even "in the blood," as Werner Haftmann puts it, the common heritage nonetheless expresses itself in a dif- ferent way during the twentieth century.

    To understand the initial circumstances of the Expressionist revolution after , one would need a brief look at the end of the nineteenth century, from which the revolution developed. If we regard the turn of the century from the viewpoint of official, academic art, little was felt of the imminent shocks which would come in the new century. True, there were still fresh memories of the scandal ignited by the Norwegian Edvard Munch at his Berlin show in , a show which had to be closed upon public demand.

    The Berlin Secession, spawned by the protest against this action and led by the famous Max Liebermann, advocated the artist's freedom more than it admired the Norwegian's terrifying and cryptic paintings, which remained alien to it. Vincent van Gogh had been dead since The first exhibitions of his work, whose dimensions were spiritual, both shocked and impressed viewers. The Euro- pean art scene had to pay as much heed to him as to the Belgian James Ensor, whose tormenting pictorial world of masks and phantoms already displayed the alienation between man and the world, the skepticism about the credibility of the visible — problems that the new century had to deal with.

    It was r. Of course, society and the belief it tradition were still powerful enough to negate the critical situation and maintain a notion of reality that no longer coincided with the facts. But doubts multiplied. Am pretext would do to expose the crisis. The simultaneity of numerous directions between historical painting and Nature Lyricism, between Jugendstil and plein-air painting, was as little help in clarifying the situation as was the emphatic predication of German art toward the landscape.

    Rapid industrialization and the new stratum of prosperous burghers con- nected with it promoted an art that profited from the economic boom, an art symbol- izing education and flaunting the bourgeois life-style. The artist with academic training had grown dependent on social integration.

    He thus appeared as the repre- sentative of a social lass whose notions did not always coincide with his. Last but not least, this made acade- mism a symbol of devaluated artistic accomplishment in the eyes of the younger generation. At that time, only individuals, eccentrics, and renegades in the eyes of the public could stand out against the uniform background because of their deviat- ing opinions and achievements.

    They generated that creative disquiet, without which the German academies would have become completely stultified by the end of the nineteenth century. None of these artists succeeded in making a decisive break- through. However, their ideas were so explosive that in a rigid artistic climate, they must be seen as revolutionaries. Some of them were devotees of so-called Nature Lyricism. Away from the large art centers, in the solitude of heaths and moors — in Dachau in the South or Worps- wede in the North — these legitimate descendants of German Romanticism devel- oped their feelings "in an admiring contemplation of nature.

    Glowing sunsets, white birches before an overcast sky, lonesome huts against the darkness of the moor were metaphors able to express a whole range of feedings. None of this required any new view of things. The paintings of these little landscape schools remained conventional.

    It took only a slight exaggerating of color, a minor simplifying of form, a marginal reordering of objects for a picture to evoke man's spiritual re- sponse to natural experience without the hitherto normal detour through allegory and mythology. As a result, something important was done for later Expressionism: the landscape artists had tested the linguistic power of pictorial devices, touched the expressiveness of color, and translated objects into emotions.

    Nature could turn from a mystery into a terror, the symbol of enigmatic fear and painful melancholy. The presence of Edvard Munch is felt in the background, bearing a germane sense of life, which appeared highly legitimate at this time. Later on. Remember that Emil Nolde spent some time in Dachau in A powerful resonance came from plein-air painting. It is wrong to call it ''Ger- man Impressionism," as is normally done. The differences in regard to France are too crass, the goals too distinct. If the French were realists, then the Germans were idealists.

    The French painter stringently divorced nature and art because he was 19 aiming at a parallel reality heightened by art. The Germans, however, were not content with fascinating the eye; they wanted to grasp the essence of things — here, too, the old myth of nature. This stamped the character of the colors. The Germans set greater store by their emotional values than by their coloristic values; hence, they used them not as light but as energy by means of a dynamic brush script empha- sizing matter.

    No wonder Lovis Corinth, one of the most impetuous and energetic talents of this time, arrived at Expressionism in his late period through an Impres- sionism enhanced by visionary components. Finally, another preliminary stage must be mentioned: Jugendstil, which was not just limited to art but had emphatically philosophical characteristics. As a movement of universal ethical renewal, it seized hold of leading minds in many areas.

    Countless stimuli came from the outside: Munch's expressive themes, the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler's monumentally rhythmic gestural style, Aubrey Beardsley's titillating lines with their erotic substance, bold arguments by the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde, plus artistic models from East European and East Asiatic sources. These stimuli prevented any confinement to nature- dependent ornamentation, to commercial art, jewelry, and handicrafts. In Munich, at an early point, artists were already discussing the "power of pure form over the human mind" and the metaphysical effect of color.

    These were thoughts that could not yet materialize but were laying the groundwork for the coming decades. The same holds true for color. As early as , Fritz Endell formulated his theory on the emotional effect of colors that are independent of nature. His thesis aimed at "creating utterly pure plane backgrounds in which a lost music of forms and colors floats. It was directed at abstract painting, which Vasily Kandinsky created; it stimulated Symbolism and Nature Lyricism and had a lasting impact on early Expressionism.

    In this situation of seeming calm on the outside and urgent disquiet on the inside, certain young artists appeared during — artists who, just a short time later, were to be called Expressionists. The first two decades of our century mark the period of artistic conflicts. They brought the beginning, the flowering, and the end of Expressionism, which, more than a style in the traditional sense of the word, expanded into a comprehensive movement, indeed an attitude toward life.

    Initially, we pointed out that since the early period of German art, expressive tendencies have been the artist's response to crises or powerful spiritual tensions. The same holds true for the development after Like all previous epochs, Expressionism mirrors the artist's position in his milieu, his relationship to nature, and his agitated emotions: love and hate, enthusiasm and skepticism, melancholy and passion, aggressiveness and devotion, his attitude toward God and the world. German artists were by no means alone in their strivings; their revolutionary aspiration, for all its subjectivity, was certainly part of the general European consciousness at the outset of our century — a consciousness that vastly altered the sense of life and stylistic expression.

    It operated mainly in France and the Nordic countries; Italy joined in only later on. The point of departure was the same, but the reactions were different. The crux was ultimately a critique of the reality 20 that had been the standard and the basis of faith for centuries of European art.

    The first well-founded doubts in the truth of visible reality were already uttered during the nineteenth century. The question arose whether the visible phenomena were not less important than the relationship thai could be established between man and the world. Willi the start of the twentieth century, the question grew louder, the skepticism stronger.

    The old. From now on. In- concentrated on what was to he the field of realization. The picture became a tablet for registering intellectual experience. This was the point of departure for artists from van Gogh to the Expressionists. No longer accepting the traditional concepts of nature as systems related to reality, they advocated the opinion that what was really worthy of a picture was the "communication from within. In any ease, such a confrontation with the world on the level of intense human participation, of a heightened sense of self, had to take place.

    Thus, the younger generation consistently concerned itself with motivational forces, not with what could he copied. The goal was to forge ahead toward spiritual conditions beyond critical consciousness, to unleash instinct as an utterance of a new "naturalness. Following one's instincts unin- hihitedly. But to translate all this into form required a complicated process. The young painters had trouble finding acceptance for their revolutionary notions, which often formed only in the course of their development.

    These diffi- culties were caused not only by the resistance of the public, but also, and largely, by their own intentions and demands. They believed that every feeling, if only it is strong enough, must end directly in art: and this theory led to the false con elusion that the strength of an emotion directly determines the quality of a work. This accounts for the considerable number of works in which the unbridled shriek could not crystallize into form.

    Painting immersed itself in problems that it posed itself, raising impetuousness to an imperative, the uncontrollable to a measure, the role of the "spiritually agitated artist" I Haftmann to a standard. The Expressionist could act with impunity as a provocateur or an esoteric. By exemplifying a road to possible freedom and spiritual independence.

    For the independence he propagated could only be the freedom of the individual, not the freedom of society. Andre Malraux had something similar in mind when he wrote: "Since Romanticism, writers, painters, and musicians have worked out a common world, in which all things relate to one another but not to the world of the others. A logical result was that the old standards of evalua- tion had to shift. The new primitivism deliberately forced by the Expressionists was part of their battle against traditional authoritarian values that were tailored to certain educated strata. The flourishing of the woodcut at that time was an eloquent sign of this trend: since time immemorial the woodcut has been the most democratic means of expression for German artists.

    Not everything expressive in Germany between and can be called Expressionism. The scale of subjective expression was so immense that its limits are vague: the accents changed with the impulses that provoked them. Thus Expressionism developed true artistic importance only in the works of a few lead- ing artists, but its face remained Janus-like: genuine drama appeared next to reverberating bombast: profound agitation next to theatrical gestures; justified deformation next to a shattering of form. The grandiloquent expressive desire attributable to a North German painter like Emil Nolde confronted the symbolistic, romantic, and cosmic feelings of Franz Marc in Munich.

    The unrefined visions of the Berlin Pathetiker bombastics confronted the brilliant formulations of the Russian Vasily Kandinsky, who had chosen to settle in Germany. The old landscape ties of German art survived in Expressionism. One of the most primal roots was in Germany's North. Here individual, independent artists worked — for instance, the sons of peasants like Nolde and Rohlfs, and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Their art comes from an unsophisticated instinct. It lives from a closeness to the native countryside, elaborating an expressive sense of nature and speaking a language filled with images.

    It contains visionary apparitions and the awareness of an intimate connection between man and nature. The literary is as alien here as the classical. Art is directly linked to life; it opens the door to the forces operating beyond external appearance. A second root was in Central Germany.

    Here the revolution took place as a conscious process and, despite its passion, was ultimately determined by the in- tellect. They consulted the art of van Gogh and Munch as well as the works of primitive peoples in Africa and Asia. Like the North Germans, they were enthusiastic graphic artists; more than painting, graphics was their true forte. However, the development in Southern Germany was different. Here, we find the counterparts to the Northern and Central German methods of expression: the imagination as the source of new subjective notions, sense-signs, and feelings; the poetry of nature; a pantheistic view of the world; and a mystical inwardness with a powerful East European strain the Russian influence of Kandinsky and Jawlensky.

    All these are expressive elements. It does not seem proper to call them "Expressionistic" in the Northern sense. Like the Russian influence, the French influence — Delaunay and the Fauves — was also powerful in Munich. It affected the climate. Of course, both trends worked with the concordant awareness thai thej had to find the point at which the external and the internal coincide — the common root in German Romanticism.

    Rut the realization took place in different ways. It tried to destroy the shroud of visible Being in order to discover the true kernel of Reing beyond pseudoreality. This also marked the character of the colors. The North used powerful colors that were less rich in tone, beeause the artists eared less for the optical value of the painting than for its expressive function. The painters of the Blaue Reiter I Rlue Rider I developed a sensitive palette whose luminosity is based on purity of tone as a correspondence to music, which Kandinsky dealt with extensively. Rut both approaches could produce inadequate results: the North had an exaggerated depth of meaning or an unbridled shriek which deprived form and color of pictorial effectiveness: the South had an overemotional aestheticism.

    Thus Germany was left with two separate developments. They were relatively brief, but the resnlts turned out to be permanent. There was more than just the breakthrough of a "new generation whether of creative contributors or recipients" E. Expressionism permanently altered the focus on reality.

    The fact that it could gain international acceptance after is based on an historical con- stellation that placed expressive feeling and behavior once again in the center of artistic efforts. However, the reasons for such recognition today are altogether different. They are based on our present-day mood, our nostalgia for a time that managed to gather the strength for revolutions, fully convinced that it could thus stamp the future.

    Water- color does not have to proclaim the stylistic unity of the Expressionists like com- prehensive radiant painting; nor does it have to orient itself according to the emblematic simplicity of a previously unwonted language of graphics. Bold, calm, and with its roots thoroughly in expressivity, drawing and watercolor yield informa- tion about the initial artistic inspiration, the artist's prima idea.

    And that is all; they belong chiefly to the studio. Thus watercolor and drawing can propagate a pictorial idea, but are not sub- ject to this often slavish restraint, as they were in other stylistic epochs. On the contrary, in German Expressionism — and in Edvard Munch's previous work — graphics, especially etchings, repeat themes first fixed in pictorial form, and in so doing invite the surprise effect achieved through an unanticipated reversal of the image.

    Thus painting first appeared alone and on its own. This was especially true for the early years, that is, after In Max Beckmann, the pictorial genesis was again reversed. Drawing had its own laws — outside of a set program. Watercolors on paper — the paper absorbent or nonporous, handmade or thin and with twisted fibers spreading under the weight of the pools of water, unless the filled brush is super-cautious about applying the pigments — often convey, in the grand period of German Expressionism, the purest renderings of the spiritual essence of the epoch.

    There is sheer delight in creativity, as well as a mutual effort to outdo creative ideas. In this context, one should recall the beguiling lightness and transparency of Vasily Kandinsky's very stately, almost canvas-sized Horsemen on the Shore, ca. It was painted during his Munich period.

    Supple, storming, gazelle-like equine creatures with their color-splotch riders are surrounded by, indeed dissolved in, the play of fabulous wave spots and fantastically shaped crests of breakers — this is free, un- bridled delight in painting. Abruptly and swiftly, it follows the inventive mind. No other medium — whether a print or a painting on a deliberately chosen rough canvas — could equal this effect with the same intensity. Drawing is quick, fleeting; painting and graphics offer resistance to the artist. These watercolors and colored drawings, stored for preservation either in pub- lic graphic collections or by private collectors, hence are all the more overpower- ing for the brief period of their glorious appearance in an exhibition.

    Format and technique also play a part. Let us proceed to particular examples. In original talent. Ernst Ludwig Kirch- ner, the "possessed"' draftsman, looms head and shoulders above the rest. I Sup- posedly, he even doodled in a dark movie house. This is true especially of the years through How can the procedures of artists be summed up? The lightly oscillating, whisking brushstroke, which leaves its mark on the preliminary drawing as merely the most general hint, moves briskly across the paper, describing the individual forms.

    Color fills the planes, wherever they appear, as well as the broad contours, producing a great liveliness of hue-. Kirchner' s method of working is quick and sure. He pays little heed to the viewer's enjoy- ment. Kokoschka is like him in this respect. As the years go by. Kirchner, in his drawings, produces an interestingly anonymous masklike human type that is peculiar to him. This is especially true of his nudes. Increasingly bizarre, the color drawing rather accurately corresponds to the formal language of the paintings, particularly between and Heckel translates what he sees into an intentionally shrill juxtaposition of yellow, green, and red.

    Ot course, the aggres- sion is mellowed by the white paper, which is left unpainted. From the outset, Heckel has a feeling for pictorial narratives, for portrayal- of mountain sceneries or seascapes that impressed him. And here the large surfaces of hi- w atenolol- ulti- mately enter a calm harbor. But this comes a long time after the period of "Franzi," the irritating and erotic child-model, as well as the influence of South Seas art.

    Of course, the travelogue, whether in drawings or watercolors, occupies all of them — ever since Gauguin's Noa-Noa. Distant places beckon, whereas the artists initially saw only South Sea- masks in the anthropological museum! From the beginning. Schmidt-Rottluff and Pechstein resolutely -ought wild and unruly expression in brush drawing. Schmidt-Rottluff, under the impact of South Seas art and African sculpture, move- furthest ahead in thi- respect; he deliberately and resolutely "'coarsens'" his woodcut-, while IVch-tein make- his South Seas experience the center of his drawing reflections.

    Hi- painting took a different direction, one of harmony, which wa- -oon to separate him from the group. To indicate further attitudes about the watercolor: Otto Mueller enveloped 25 himself in a Hungarian gypsy arcadia and saw the world animated only by youth- fully slender, peculiarly reflective beauties who wade in swamps or sit on banks. He drew with coarse crayons or broad paths of thin watercolor on huge, some- times gigantic, sheets of paper.

    Here, one could most readily say that his figurative compositions were preparatory to pictorial ideas if they did not already embody them. For all the sweet loveliness and timid over-the-shoulder peeks, everything remains chaste and austere. The figures in Mueller's fascinating "forest-nymph ballet" cannot be characterized individually: each has a pageboy and high cheek- bones, revealing something like a Mueller iconography of bathers. Further individual features should be noted.

    Feininger, in his watercolor pen drawing, with its wan, gray color tone, remains the tireless and inventive poet of the Cubist vision of cathedrals and village churches; like Klee, he subtly titles his motifs calligraphically at the bottom of a picture. In contrast, Otto Dix and George Grosz, and later Max Beckmann, are critical of their society and their era through- out their stately oeuvre of color drawings — an attitude that came naturally to the second generation through the altered situation after World War I.

    George Grosz, too, continued to find pleasure in drawing during the morass of the postwar years, noting and exposing events with a sensibility sharp as a knife's edge. His works therefore always aroused a specious interest on the part of the public — one directed not so much toward his art as toward his subject matter. This was the consequence of his precise descriptions of a sordid milieu. Pen and lively effervescent water- colors were his media for passing his themes in review, in his anxiously pointed way.

    The street and the brothel, high livers and philistines, were poetry perhaps — but a backstairs poetry. In Otto Dix, there is a deeper critique of the world and of injustice, of disguising powder and tinselly trash. Even his portraits, albeit serious in intent, look almost like scarecrows. Nevertheless, this is virtuoso watercolor art, in which mordant matter-of-factness replaces the euphoric studio mood of the older artists.

    The young Beckmann achieves a greater expressive power of pure stroke, which was initially based on the painterly drawing style of Lovis Corinth. Often pencil, pen and ink, and black chalk are enough for him to render apparitions with gaping eyes, heads of his time; he uses spare contours and simple hatching, that is to say, terser and terser devices. At times, in a drawing on tinted paper heightened by white, these apparitions are fully developed into plastic forms; images from his early days are validly transmitted to remote times.

    With their harmony and model- ing, these works, like the paintings of this period, are among the most brilliant examples of Beckmann's oeuvre, which continued until the middle of the century. His later work produced an expressive style that was unique. The watercolors of Emil Nolde and Oskar Kokoschka immeasurably widened the space and scope of this airy, transparent, and floating medium, which is recep- tive to the most vivid color dreams.

    Kokoschka wove pictures of people from the "patchwork quilts" of his infallibly placed color spots and color stripes. Along with the giant mass of early portrait drawings often done on lithographic transfer paper and conveying a piece of intellectual history in a superior manner , they are unique. Neither contemporaries nor disciples have attained the same density with so much formal arbitrariness.

    In contrast to his drawings, which in those days could be spare and wiry or calli- graphically whirling, Kokoschka transfers the entire effect here to an adjacency 26 of swiftly drying color areas, without letting this device become mannered. The tone per se. And yet. It is precisely the color that makes this artist's portrayal of an individual suggestive. The color brings an unruly, berserk quality to the physiognomy of the bodily phenomenon, even, inexplicably, imparting to it some thing of the artist's self-portrait, to the large cavity of the mouth and the long, narrow lane of the face whether the sitter is male or female.

    Kor Kokoschka. This is associated with his intellectual curi- osity and his "rapaciousness. For decades now. Find Nolde's watercolor- have marked a highpoint of delight. They are a closed province of expressive poetry or even of the willingness of that expressive art to admit the beauty of color. On his travels, he soaked his fine Japan paper in the enraptured magical world of the Mhambra overlooking Granada. Or he painted dark, threatening heads of South Sea Islanders in a watercolor style, accurately jotting with quick brushstrokes.

    He even used a white covering, always differently and often with ethnographic fidelity and meticulousness. Or else he gave shape to his North Frisian landscape, visions, fabulous creature-. But whatever he did, his skill in this area bore witness to a deep talent. None of his watercolors has ever given rise to a difference of opinion about the value of his art. The reality of the world and of things is raised by his imagination to the heights of pure art in watercolors, which he summon- or beckon- to the most extreme intensifications.

    This pure art engages the eye for a long time, and over and over again. Yet, in this surge of color, in heaven and on earth, in the bold reflection-, double shapes, in the mutually corresponding complementary color-, the internal stability of the composition seem- endangered; still, none of his fascinating pictures ever loses the inner structure, the solid form. That is something overlooked by his main driveling, overexuberant. Quite deliberately, a considerable, even determining, portion of the watercolors in this cxhil ition are by Nolde.

    Nolde is similar in this respect to Kirchner or to hii-tian Rohlfs, who grew younger through hi- expressive creation. For in- stance, the gentle, supple draftsmanship of Franz Marc, who ventured far enough away from the "academic animal painter" to invent his symbolic forms beyond animal anatomy. Or Paula Modersohn-Becker's severe charcoal drawings, with which the artist — who died early — paved the way toward a new monumentality in portraiture.

    For all these artists, the relationship to drawing is close, intimate, fraternal. But in this area of jotting on paper — a studio practice for many cen- turies — each of the artists produced something new: the drawing and the watercolor now go out into the world, no longer retained as working material which is always at the artist's disposal. Peculiarities of Expressionist drawing — often art works produced incidentally — are thus described.

    The themes touched on included the joy in newly seen land- scape and cityscape, the endless "conversation" with the model, to be viewed as an everlasting summer idyll with forest outings and lakes for swimming as -well as a studio enchantment by the iron stove. The unfettered appearance of the human being, the person, is envisaged. They are actually concerned with his being, not his doing. Of course, indolence is never portrayed anecdotally, just as pictorial narratives are never to be found. They are entrusted to graphics.

    The one-time Dresden dropouts from architecture school and their like-minded colleagues in the North and the South admittedly pay tribute to a cheerful existence even in the discipline of drawing and the colorful execution on paper. From a distance, we can no longer even guess how much calm and humor a sitter or a model maintained when first viewing his likeness. Penetrating ugliness, wretchedness, or misery were not part of the thematic range during the great years until They came later, after tremendous shocks. A few facts have been stated about the format and technique of these works, which were salvaged during a subsequent tumultuous period.

    Most of them have a stately format, which, however, does not mean that the artist was feinting with draw- ing fans! The large format allows the drawing hand the freedom to follow the motion "from the arm," which means not so much "neglect" of the art of drawing as spontaneous gestures in the creative process.

    Krausser, Helmut 1964-

    This is evident not only in retro- spect. Only the latter were done with a silverpoint; the watercolors were thick and grainy. This unconventional method of drawing had been prefigured in the work of Lovis Corinth and a few others; this "jubilation of color," as it was called, is confined by angular, squarish, or boldly surging lines. But these stylistic devices are not arbitrary acts of one-upmanship by young rebels; they emerged from a totality of thinking and artistic feeling. They had understood and abandoned van Gogh's manner of painting and drawing as well as that of the color-parceling Pointillists.

    They had also understood and abandoned theorizing. It was a higher inspiration that allowed the Expressionists, from the very first stroke in their grand era, to capture the world of phenomena in an unfathomed pictorial language. At times, their paths crossed. This was of little significance for their art, however, for direct connections and immediate points of comparison are not to he found. Those aspects of their work which were common to all three became clear only later, after their individual achievements were recognized as part of an overall intellectual move ment known as German Expressionism.

    When she died in Paula Modersohn-Becker could no longer have participated in this development. When she was discovered outside her close circle land relatively late at that , she was categorized as a "forerunner" of Expressionism. But this implied restriction does not do justice to the absolute autonomy and artistic status of her work.

    A native of Dresden and the daughter of an engineer. Paula Becker grew up in Bremen, in a large, distinguished family. At fifteen she received her first drawing lessons from a Bremen painter. Spending a year with relatives in England, she en tered the London School of Art. But her parents wanted her to become a teacher, and until her final examinations at Bremen's pedagogical seminar] in L, -he had to renounce nearly all artistic activity.

    Next she was allowed to attend the school for women painters in Berlin: but she was more interested in studying the old mas ters in museums than in academic instruction. Mackensen had founded at Teufelsmoor. Worpswede became her home. But as much as she ultimately owed to 29 the landscape, the people, and her painter friends there, she nevertheless outgrew them all. At an early date, she felt hemmed in, living with a group of painters in isolation, and she resisted.

    Bernard Bolzano

    Soon she was visiting Norway, Berlin, Vienna, and then, in , Paris for the first time. During the following years, she led a kind of no- madic life, wandering between the moor village of Worpswede and Paris. At the turn of the century, Worpswede constituted a center, on the periphery of the divergent styles of German painting.

    Here a group of friendly painters had as- sembled, seeking to escape the academism and pseudonaturalism of art schools and to find a harmony between their emotional world and the natural environment in the midst of an unspoiled landscape. In Paula Becker chose him as her mentor. From her letters and diaries, we learn how deeply she loved the Worpswede countryside, the vast sky, the dark moor, the birch trees by shiny ditches of water, the moor cabins, and the people, marked by living in this world.

    But few of her paintings are pure landscapes, unlike the genuine Worpsweders. In Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a book about Worpswede, a poetic mono- graph on the landscape and its painters "freighted, the boat waits on the black waters of the canal, and then they move earnestly as though with coffins Paula Modersohn-Becker is not mentioned in this book. Did the sensitive poet refuse to recognize this young woman as a painter even though he treasured her as a conver- sationalist, who was friendly with his wife, the sculptress Clara Westhoff, and even though, after her death in , he wrote his famous Requiem for a Friend in her memory?

    Or did he perhaps realize that her art in no way reflected the Nature Lyricism of the Worpswede painters including Otto Modersohn, whom she married in , and that her art could not be brought into harmony with the moody, heav- ily charged painting that he celebrated so aptly?

    Paula Modersohn had introduced Rilke to the art of Cezanne. His Letters on Cezanne, written in on the occasion of a memorial exhibition in Paris, were preceded by intense conversations with her. One of her last wishes was to view this exhibition. Four weeks before her death, she wrote to her mother: "I would like to go to Paris for a week. Fifty-six Cezannes are being shown there! According to the sculptress, Paula Modersohn-Becker saw Cezanne "as a big brother Returning home, she criticized Mackensen's manner as "not large enough, too genre-like.

    Her art grew more and more away from that of the Worpsweders. In she separated from Otto Modersohn, returning from Paris only after one year. Cezanne, as she herself put it, struck her "like a thunderstorm and a huge event" October 21, , to Clara Rilke. Furthermore, the encounter with paint- ings by Gauguin and the Nobis, as well as the Egyptian and Early Classical art in the Louvre, gave her the strength and the freedom to find herself in that she came to understand a painting as a consciously fashioned, autonomous formal structure.

    Make the color sketch exactly as one has felt something in nature Bui mj personal feeling is the main tiling. Once I have estab Iished it. I must bring in from nature the things that make my painting seem natural, so that a layman will onlj think that 1 have painted it from nature" Diaries, October I. Her own warm humanity is an unmistakable part of her paintings. The people in Worpswede, the peasant women and children, the wonderful rigorously dark portraits of Werner Sombart.

    Thej are either spread across the surface or densely crowded, with a deliberate rejection of perspective. All are economically arranged in strict order within the pictorial space. Objects in her paintings gain a monumen- tal it y that is never artificial, but bursting with nature. The dense, pow erf til. As early as she had written from Paris that she would like "to have all colors deeper, more intense; 1 get quite angry at this lightness" I February Moor peasants, poorhouse inmates see cat.

    People, like things, have something familiar about them and yet main- tain the earnestness and dignity of detachment. This also obtains for the countless self-portraits which she painted from the very outset and through the last few weeks before her death. Others are totally concentrated on the head and the face.

    There is something icon-like about them: they are actually influenced by Late Classical mummy portraits. The bold simplicity of form turns the personal closeness and autonomy of the portrait into allegorical universality. Paula Modersohn left an unmistakable oeuvre behind, which is all of a piece.

    Despite her early death, her work may be regarded as truly complete. Christian Rohlfs Christian Rohlfs was born in His creative period embraces about seven decades during which he was confronted with opposing artistic events which helped to mark his work in a very peculiar way. The "early" Rohlfs was an important nineteenth- century painter, one of the leaders of German plein-air art. With the new centurj biographically, the caesura coincides with his final departure from Weimar , we are surprised to find a man dose to sixty with the Expressionists: while thev were thirty years his junior, he remained their companion for three decades.

    In their enthusiasm for the "Expressionist" Rohlfs. This is unfair since there is more of a connection between the two than meets the eye of a casual observer. He was meant to take over his father's farm, but quite by chance he came to painting. After an accident which ultimately caused the amputation of one leg, the fifteen-year-old, during a long stay in the hospital, began to draw at a doctor's suggestion. The writer Theodor Storm, who happened to see the drawings, recognized his talent. He assisted the boy and saw to it that he studied with the painter Pietsch in Berlin, later entering the Weimar Kunstakademie in This school, established by the grand duke, mainly cultivated the classicistic tradition handed down from the age of Goethe.

    Figurative art with educational and historical themes was what the academic painter-to-be had to master. Rohlfs's studies, interrupted by illness, lasted until about In Rohlfs was given a "free studio" at the academy as a special award. His personal work commenced in the following years. The breakthrough to his own artistry did not occur through figurative painting.

    His academic training seemed to have been forgotten; in the two decades before the turn of the century, Rohlfs fo- cused almost exclusively on landscape painting. Certain subjects were painted again and again, thus re- calling the French Impressionists, particularly Monet with his Haystacks or his twenty versions of the Cathedral of Rouen. There is no doubt that French Impressionism influenced Rohlfs's painting. In Weimar, he saw canvases by Monet in and by Sisley and Pissarro in He must have studied them carefully, for his palette became brighter, and the inclusion of colored light first revealed his great coloristic talent.

    But the influence was limited. Rohlfs ignored the true principle of Impressionism: the permeation of light and color to the point of totally blurring contours and dissolving objective forms. He no more adopted this principle than did the other so-called German Impression- ists, among whom he maintained a leading position. He was a painter who employed light and color to give things in nature an eminent luminosity, who sometimes ap- plied pigments very loosely, almost dabbing them on, who had a vital temperament which made the critics call his work "bungling," that is, impudent or improper.

    Yet his goal was not to render atmospheric light; objects keep their weight in his can- vases, determining the formal shape of the painting. Thus, Rohlfs is closer to the realism of Courbet than to genuine Impressionism. His style is quite unpretentious and as far removed from representation or idealism as from the intensely emotional Nature Lyricism cultivated at that time in Dachau and Worpswede.

    Soon after the turn of the century, Rohlfs, with seeming abruptness, gave up everything he had attained. The impetus came from meeting Karl-Ernst Osthaus, the founder of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, and from Henry van de Velde, the architect of the museum and an adviser to Osthaus. In Rohlfs followed the call to Hagen; however, he retained his studio in Weimar until and actively partici- pated in new developments which had now reached the Weimar art school. In the Osthaus collection, Rohlfs saw paintings by Seurat, Signac, and Rysselberghe; their luminosity, their purity of color, must have fascinated him; he adopted the pointillist dogma, the splintering of color and the dissolving of the picture plane into a system of dots.

    Shortly thereafter his dialogue with Munch and van Gogh began. The now fifty-five-year-old artist went through a stormy development. Freedom in dealing with the medium, the direct expressivity of color and form, the question 32 of the autonomy of the painting — those were problems he had to cope w ith. Rohlfs fared this challenge, in contrast to the other established German plein-air paint ers for instance.

    Liebermann and Corinth, who maintained their positions or even fought against the new art. Birch Forest of cat. The raw. Subsequently, land-cape became less and le-- important for him: it was replaced by the figurative composition and the architectural picture. A frequent theme is the towers of Soest see eat. Rohlfs returned frequently to the medieval town. He met Nolde there in I couldn't find my bearings. These linn composi- tions captured the image of a markedly medieval tow n.

    At first the pictures were relatively faithful, at time almost jejune, but soon the details became more and more abbreviated. The beloved town, the "splendid nest," beeame so familiar to the artist that he was still painting it from memorv years later. The towers grew loser together: in the center, the heavy and mighty St. Pauli and Petri: in hack. The composition grew denser, more compact and intricate: the picture seemed invincibly solid.

    The colors, at first applied with an intensity reminiscent of Impressionism, were soon spread out flatly: often brow n. In later paintings, the colors are heightened to a great luminosity. In abstractly geometric, crystalline form-fields. The objects can be so greatly subor dinated to the formal canon of the picture as to lose their individuality entirely and achieve a metaphorical character. Soest becomes the "old town" per se. Ultimately, the subject is interesting only because of it- colorful, structural quality.

    The autonomy of the pictorial architecture can verge on ab-tractness. In pictures like Red Roof or Red Roofs Imong Trees the relationship to the real, ob- jective world is just barely maintained. In contrast. Blue Mountain of consists primarily of blue color form- and broad strokes applied with a palette knife and towering to mount a in- like formation-. After abandoning landscapes, the artist focused on figurative compositions.

    The shock caused by World War I was reflected in themes that were previously alien to his work: Driven Man. Gethsemane, War. The dark side of ex- istence, the chasms of destruction and violence, had never been the substance of his art; they belonged to an opposing world which deeply contradicted his inmost being. Thus, in this time of affliction, conciliatory and humane themes predominate: Prodi- gal Son with Harlots.

    Return of the Prodigal Son cat. Large, simplified forms are the actual bearers of expression; gestures of figures become gestures of form: they rule the pictorial area with the size and simplicity of woodcuts. The form is emphatically that of drawing: linear structure in black con- tours. Color recedes in these paintings. It is limited to the rich and nuanced tones of planes: the sensual effect is gone. The participation of color in the impact of the painting is based on its immaterial, spiritual value.

    Alongside the earnest, religious depictions, there are paintings which are sim- pler and more cheerful in content: these compositions are vivacious, dynamic, full of movement : the confusing headstands of Acrobats cat. Colors, as essential bearers of expres- sion and structural energy, grow more important, becoming brilliant and precious. Christian Rohlfs's art is focused on life — perhaps one can view it as a legacy of his Weimar period. His art is voluptuous and cheerful: disharmonies and dramatics are remote. One may call him the lyrical poet among the Expressionists. No one — except perhaps Feininger — transformed color into such floating light.

    During his last few years, he was drawn to the South: he sojourned in the friendly town of As- cona as often as he could. Ultimately, he was not spared the humiliations and scorn of his art by the Nazis. Rohlfs died in EmilNolde Nolde is the prototype of the North German Expressionist; more independent than the others, he lived apart, in self-imposed solitude.

    Even at eighty, he noted: "How glad I am to be almost alone as an artist among artists, with the whole swarm of artists somewhere else" March 13, Nevertheless, his course as a painter was not isolated: it ran parallel to and often in close connection with others. His public fight with Max Liebermann in led to the breakup of the Berlin Secession, the most powerful of all associations of German artists. Nolde had become the spokes- man of the young generation — he was almost frightened at realizing it — and he withdrew.

    Emil Noble's real name was Hansen. He was born in , the son of a peasant who lived in the village of Nolde on the German-Danish border. Mustering all his strength against much resistance, he managed to free himself from his rustic milieu. Gallen, Switzerland. He look onl what was akin to his own sensibilities, whether it came From ancient or contemporar art, Egypt, Assyria, the masks of the South Sea- and Vfrica, Titian.

    Rembrandt, Goya, and later Munch anil Gauguin. In he went to Paris for nine month-, studying at the Vcademie Julian. The Impressionists made little impact on him, except for two: Degas and Manet — "the great, important painter of bright beauty.

    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)
    Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition) Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)

Related Substanz: Das Beste aus den Tagebüchern (German Edition)



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