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The Robert Gore Rif kind Center for German Expressionis 


German Expressionist 
Prints and Drawings 

Volume 1 

Essays by Stephanie Barron, Wolf-Dieter Dube, Alexander 
Diickers, Peter Guenther, Rose-Carol Washton Long, 
Paul Raabe, Robert Gore Rifkind, and Ida Katherine Rigby 

Volume 2 

Catalogue of the Collection by Bruce Davis 

The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist 
Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art contains 
the world's most comprehensive and distinguished collection 
of German Expressionist prints and drawings, illustrated 
books, and periodicals. This two-volume publication docu- 
ments for the first time the Study Center's immense holdings. 

The richly illustrated essays in volume i place the collection 
in the context of the history and development of the German 
Expressionist movement, survey research in the field, and 
include Robert Gore Rifkind's interview with Oskar Kokoschka. 

Volume 2, the largest and most inclusive ever pubhshed on 
German Expressionist graphic art, illustrates and precisely 
catalogues each of the more than five thousand works in the 
collection. The volume's six indexes permit access to this 
outstanding material by book, periodical, and portfolio titles; 
authors and publishers of illustrated works; and the subjects 
of portraits. 

German Expressionist 
Prints and Drawings 

German Expressionist 

Prints and Drawings 

The Robert Gore Rif kind Center for German Expressionist Studies 

volume 1 

Essays by 
Stephanie Barron 
Wolf-Dieter Dube 
Alexander Diickers 
Peter Guenther 
Rose-Carol Washton Long 
Paul Raabe 
Robert Gore Rifkind 
Ida Katherine Rigby 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

Copyright ©igSg 
by Museum Associates, 
Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art. 
All rights reserved 


Conrad Felixmuller 
Germany, 1897-1977 
Selhstbildnis mit Frau, 1921 
(Self-portrait with wife) 
Color woodcut 

15% X i^y4 in. (40.0 X 40.0 cm) 
M. 82. 288.61 
Davis 614 

Published by the Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art, 
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, 
Los Angeles, California 90036, 
and Prestel-Verlag, 
Mandlstrasse 26, 
D-8000 Munich 40, 
Federal Republic of Germany 

Distributed in continental 
Europe and Japan by Prestel- 
Verlag, Verlegerdienst 
Munchen GmbH & Co KG, 
Gutenbergstrasse 1, 
D-8031 Gilching, Federal 
Republic of Germany 

Distributed in the United 
States and Canada by te Neues 
Publishing Company, 15 East 
76 Street. New York, NY 10021 

Distributed in the United King- 
dom, Ireland, and all other 
countries by Thames & Hudson 
Limited, ,30-34 Bloomsbury 
Street, London VVCiB 3QP, 

Library of Congress 
Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Robert Gore Rifkind Center for 
German Expressionist Studies. 
German expressionist prints 
and drawings. 

Bibliography; p. 
Includes indexes. 
Vol. 2: Catalogue of the 
collection / Bruce Davis. 
1. German expressionism 
(Art)— Catalogs. 2. Art- 
California— Los Angeles- 
Catalogs. 3. Robert Gore 
Rifkind Center for German 
Expressionist Studies- 
Catalogs. I. Barron, 
Stephanie. II. Davis, Bruce, 
1951- III. Title. 

Printed in the Federal Republic 
of Germany 

ISBN 3-7913-0974-9 (™l- i) 
ISBN 3-7913-0959-5 Ms- 1, 2) 


vii Foreword 

Earl A. Powell ni 

xi Preface 

Robert Gore Rifkind 

XV A Salute 

Wolf-Dieter Dube 

1 An Introduction to the Expressionist Movement 

Peter Guenther 

39 The Revival of Printmaking in Germany 

Ida Katherine Rigby 

In captions for works from the Rifkind Study Center, credit lines have 
generally been omitted. For works with museum numbers beginning 
with M. 82. 287 and M. 82, 288, the credit line is Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist 
Studies; for works with museum numbers beginning with 83. 1, the 
credit line is Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Robert Gore Rifkind 
Center for German Expressionist Studies; purchased with funds pro- 
vided by Anna Bing Arnold, Museum Acquisition Fund, and 
Deaccession Funds. 

The Davis numbers given in the captions refer to Bruce Davis, German 
Expressionist Prints and Drawings: The Robert Gore Rifkind Center 
for German Expressionist Studies, volume 2, Catalogue of the Collec- 
tion, published simultaneously with this volume. 

The collection of the library of the Rifkind Study Center is catalogued 
in Susan Trauger, The Catalogue of the Library of the Robert Gore 
Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies (Boston: G. K. Hall, 




Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 
Unser tdglich Brot/gieb uns 
heute, 1921 

{Give us this day our daily bread) 
Woodcut with watercolor 
15% X iiy^ in. (40,0 X 29.6 cm) 
From portfolio Das Vaterunser 
83. 1 . 22 e 
Davis 2258.5 

67 Portfolios 

Alexander Diickers 

115 Illustrated Books and Periodicals 

Paul Raabe 

131 The Embrace of Expressionism: 

The Vagaries of Its Reception in America 

Stephanie Barron 

151 Wild Passion at Midnight: Reflections on 
Thirty-five Years of Collecting Art 

Robert Gore Rifkind 

163 A Conversation with Kokoschka at Ninety-two 

Robert Gore Rifkind 

173 The Library: Resource for the Study of 
German Expressionism 

Paul Raabe 

183 Scholarship: Past, Present, and Future 

Rose-Carol Washton Long 

208 Index 


Karl Lorenz 

Germany, 188S-1961 
Untitled (design with flowers), 


Woodcut with watercolor 
i2'/2 X 9'/2 in. (31.7 X 24.2 cm) 
From portfolio R. M. Rilke; 
Holzschnitte von Karl Lorenz 
L.86. 1. 1 e; lent by the Robert 
Gore Rifkind Foundation, 
Beverly Hills, California 
Davis 1780.5 

Los Angeles and Europe, particularly Germany, have had a special rela- 
tionship for the past fifty years. During the 1930s and 1940s dozens of 
well-known artists, collectors, writers, musicians, architects, actors, di- 
rectors, and producers emigrated to Los Angeles from Europe. During 
the early 1950s, in fact, the codirector of the Los Angeles County Muse- 
um of History, Science, and Art, William R. Valentiner, was a German 
refugee who had had a long-standing interest in the German Expression- 
ists. Valentiner encouraged members of the Hollywood emigre commu- 
nity to collect and donate to the museum works by the German Expres- 
sionists. The connection with Germany was strengthened in 1967, when 
Los Angeles was named the sole sister city of Berlin. We are delighted to 
be able to extend this relationship in a center dedicated to connoisseur- 
ship and scholarship. 

With the acquisition of the Robert Gore Rifkind collec- 
tion in 1983, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art became in a single 
stroke a major force in the collection, study, and display of German Ex- 
pressionist art, the home of the largest single holding of German Expres- 
sionist graphic art, and the repository of an exceptional library of more 
than four thousand volumes, many containing original graphics. The 
opening in 1987 of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expres- 
sionist Studies, a handsome space of twenty-eight hundred square feet, 
was a momentous step for the museum and one in a recent series of ex- 
pansions that has included the construction of the Robert O. Anderson 
Building and the Pavilion for Japanese Art and the addition of new gal- 
leries for the departments of Prints and Drawings and Photography. 

Mr. Rifkind has frequently made reference to a great pri- 
vate library established by Wilhelm F. Arntz, who lived in Haag, a small 
town outside of Munich. He visited Arntz many times and acquired works 
for his own collection from him. The Arntz collection, which comprises 
sixty thousand books, periodicals, and manuscripts devoted primarily to 
twentieth-century art, contains an extensive body of works on German 
Expressionism. In April 1986, following Arntz's death, the J. Paul Getty 
Trust acquired his library, bringing together in Los Angeles a truly extra- 
ordinary collection of materials on German Expressionism. Many Ger- 
man newspapers, reporting the acquisition, commented that with the 
Rifkind holdings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Arntz 
holdings at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 
many German scholars would now find it necessary to come to Los An- 
geles to do extensive original research. 

The center, along with the Robert Gore Rifkind Founda- 
tion, will continue to make it possible for distinguished scholars-in- 
residence (who have included Wolf-Dieter Dube, Peter Guenther, and 
Gunther Thiem) to come to Los Angeles to pursue research in the field, 
drawing upon the center's resources. The museum will also carry on its 
series of exhibitions drawn from the center's collection. It is extremely 
gratifying that Mr. Rifkind has continued to augment the center's hold- 
ings. Since the museum's acquisition of the collection he has added exten- 
sively to the library and has filled lacunae in the print collection. 

These volumes— the complete illustrated catalogue of 
the print collection and the accompanying commemorative collection of 


scholarly essays— allow the scholar access to the collection and provide an 
extraordinary visual record of the graphic achievement of the German 

The publication of these volumes was an ambitious un- 
dertaking. The catalogue, intended primarily for scholars, is perhaps the 
largest fully illustrated volume documenting a single collection ever pub- 
lished by an American museum. For his extraordinary commitment to its 
compilation I am grateful to Bruce Davis, curator of prints and drawings. 
The commemorative essay volume is intended primarily to encourage a 
world of interested readers and museumgoers to enhance their experi- 
ence of German Expressionist prints and drawings. For their dedication 
to this goal I am grateful to Victor Carlson, senior curator of prints and 
drawings, and to the staff of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German 
Expressionist Studies, headedby Timothy Benson, associate curator. Other 
staff members who were involved in this project include Mitch Tuchman, 
managing editor, who coordinated these volumes and negotiated with our 
copublisher, Prestel-Verlag, and Deenie Yudell, head graphic designer, 
who designed the handsome volumes despite the rigors of her administra- 
tive responsibilities. Stephanie Barron, curator of twentieth-century art, 
contributed valuable advice on all phases of the project in addition to writ- 
ing an essay for the commemorative volume. The other authors— Wolf- 
Dieter Dube, Alexander Diickers, Peter Guenther, Rose-Carol Washton 
Long, Paul Raabe, and Ida Katherine Rigby— all of whom took time from 
their schedules to write essays, are gratefully acknowledged. Karen 
Jacobson undertook the editing of both volumes, achieving the highest 
standards of consistency in this complicated bilingual project. 

I am above all thankful to Robert Gore Rifkind, who in 
enriching the museum's collections in such an extraordinary way has also 
enriched our community and the world of scholarship. 

Earl A. Powell iii 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Eispalast-Tanze , 1912 
(Dances at the ice palace) 
Woodcut with watercoior 
13 X qVa in. (33. 1 X 23.4 cm) 
Davis 1451 


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Plakat Nina Hard, 1921 

(Poster of Nina Hard) 

Color woodcut 

2i'A X ij'/j in. (54.0 X 38.7 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 127 

Davis 1477 

Great private collections have been the source of many great museum 
collections. Over the centuries certain individuals have built collections 
that reflect their own interests and tastes and have donated them to 
museums, which have in turn made the works available to the public. I 
believe that my own efforts have been in this tradition. 

The building of a great art collection requires the col- 
laborative efforts of the collector and of many other individuals, and my 
collection is no exception. With pleasure I take this opportunity to thank 
the many people who have helped build the Rif kind collection, many of 
whom have become good friends and shared memorable experiences with 
me. Although the seventeen years I have spent collecting German Ex- 
pressionist art have not been without their disappointments, for the most 
part collecting has been one of the great joys of my life. 

My relationship with other collectors, dealers, curators, 
and art historians has been truly symbiotic. They have taught me, in- 
spired me, and helped shape my collection, while I have stimulated their 
collecting and scholarship. I should therefore like to acknowledge this 
group generally and three distinguished collectors of German Expres- 
sionist art in particular: Morton D. May of Saint Louis, Wilhelm F. Arntz 
of Haag, and Lothar-Giinther Buchheim of Feldafing. Each of them gave 
me much encouragement. 

I should also like to thank the many scholars who have so 
graciously and generously imparted their knowledge to me. To begin 
with, I should like to thank the coauthors of this catalogue for their contri- 
butions to the study of German Expressionism. Each one is a friend who 
has fostered my collecting. In addition I want to thank other scholars who 
have inspired me. I regret that contributions to this catalogue could 
not be made by the late Ernst Scheyer and the late Donald Gordon, who 
were both more than generous in offering advice and encouragement. It 
is also a pleasure to thank Gunther Thiem, former curator of the Staats- 
galerie, Stuttgart, who has been a supporter of the collection almost from 
the beginning. Thanks are due as well to Isa Lohmann-Siems, former 
curator of the Barlach Haus in Hamburg, who introduced me not only to 
the works of Ernst Barlach but also to German Expressionist sculpture in 
general. I must also acknowledge the contributions of Hans Bolliger of 
Zurich and Elmar Seibel of Boston. Without them I would not have been 
able to build the great library that is now in the possession of the Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art. 

Obviously I cannot individually acknowledge everyone 
who has assisted me, but I must single out Orrel P. Reed, Jr., the first 
curator of the collection, who guided me in all aspects of building the 
collection; Karin Breuer, currently assistant curator of the Achenbach 
Foundation for Graphic Arts of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 
who served as curator for almost five years and was responsible for much 
of the preliminary cataloguing of the collection; and Susan Trauger, who 
has served as librarian of the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation and the 
Rifkind Study Genter for several years, bringing order to an extraordinar- 
ily complex collection. 

Finally, I should like to express my gratitude to Earl A. 
Powell III and the trustees of the Los Angeles Gounty Museum of Art for 


their support of this enormous project. I am particularly grateful to 
trustee Franklin D. Murphy, a longtime admirer of German Expression- 
ist art whose early support of the museum's acquisition of the collection 
was invaluable; to Julian Ganz, Jr., chairman of the board of trustees, who 
spent many hours negotiating the acquisition; and to the board's presi- 
dent, Daniel N. Belin. 

It is an enormous satisfaction to me that the aforemen- 
tioned persons have made possible the publication of this volume and the 
accompanying catalogue of the collection. I believe that these publica- 
tions will stand as landmarks in the field of German Expressionist graphic 
art for many decades. 

Robert Gore Rifkind 

otto Schubert 

Germany, 1892-1970 

Untitled (lion attacking zebra), 

c. 1920 

Color woodcut 

I2y8 X q'A in. (32.0 .X 24. 1 cm) 

From portfolio Bilderbuch fiir 

Tyll und Nele 

83.1.750 b 

Davis 2638.3 

A Salute 

Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1965 
Und die Kraft/ und/ die 
Herrlichkeit. 1921 
(And the power and the glory) 
Woodcut with watercolor 
15% X 11% in. (40.0 X 29.8 cm) 
From portfoho Das Vaterunser 
83.1.22 k 
Davis 2258.11 

Among the most fascinating chapters in the history of art appreciation is 
without a doubt the one devoted to collecting and collectors. Every 
collection is, as it were, an autobiography, a testament to the wishes, 
dreams, and even the obsessions of an individual and to that person's 
capacity for sensual and spiritual perception. A collection bears the marks 
of the struggle toward realization, of ambitions and of actual achieve- 
ments. Thus every collection is unique and, above all, much greater than 
the sum of its parts. This is why we are so dismayed when a collection is 
dissolved, for it is the destruction of a life's work, an accomplishment that 
developed from loving dedication. Collector's stamps on graphic works, 
bookplates in private libraries, collection catalogues are all attempts to 
preserve the traces and to keep the individual's intellectual contribution 
from being forgotten. 

An effective way to prevent such a disappearance is to 
make a collection available to the public, either by establishing an inde- 
pendent institution or by making it part of a larger one. Yet it is not appro- 
priate for every collection to become part of a large museum collection, 
and this often causes problems. Even for those collectors who claim that 
they love their collection more than life itself, personal considerations 
often outweigh concern for the collection when the time comes to donate 
it to an institution. 

The significance of the Rifkind collection can perhaps be 
better understood in light of other great collections of German Expres- 
sionist art in both Germany and the United States. The earliest collec- 
tions were formed by contemporaries of the movement who were often 
friends of the artists. These include the collections of Walter Hess of 
Erfurt, Markus Kruss of Berlin, and Gustav Schiefler of Hamburg. Of 
these only the Kruss collection has remained relatively intact; parts of it 
can be seen today at the Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen in Mu- 
nich, which acquired it by bequest. More extraordinary is the history of 
the collection formed by Sofie and Emanuel Fohn, painters living in 
Rome. The Fohns had assembled a collection of German Romantic draw- 
ings, which they were able to offer the Nazis during the "degenerate art" 
campaign of 1937 in exchange for the protection of their collection of Ex- 
pressionist masterworks. Today their paintings and watercolors are part of 
the collection of the Staatsgalerie Moderne-Kunst in Munich. Like other 
great, publicly minded collectors, the Fohns saw themselves as trustees of 
their collection, and it was inevitable that it would be given to the public. 

Other important collections reflect the collectors' love of 
a particular aspect of Expressionism. In Saint Louis Morton D. May, un- 
der the influence of Max Beckmann, amassed an extensive painting col- 
lection, which today is the core of the Saint Louis Art Museum's holdings 
of German Expressionist paintings. More recently it was announced that 
the collection of Jacob and Ruth Kainen of Washington, D.C., a fine 
group of Expressionist prints, would become part of the National Gal- 
lery's holdings. In Germany the collection of Expressionist paintings and 
prints formed after the war by Lothar-Giinther Buchheim remains an 
independent collection. 

The collection assembled by Robert Gore Rifkind since 
1971 distinguishes itself from those already mentioned in a unique way: it 

A Salute 

is an extensive and systematically built print collection, which traces in a 
comprehensive way the development of German Expressionism in the 
graphic arts and is supplemented by a very complete library. For Rifkind, 
a lawyer who has long been attracted to a systematic way of thinking, the 
formation of a collection of this type may be especially appropriate. He 
has also collected masterworks of Expressionist painting and has formed 
one of the most comprehensive collections of German Expressionist 
sculpture as well as an extensive collection of German posters from the 
early twentieth century. But when one speaks of the Rifkind collection, it 
is immediately understood that one means that unique combination of 
prints, drawings, and primary and secondary literature that is now housed 
in the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at 
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is interesting that the library 
of works on German Expressionism and twentieth-century art formed by 
Wilhelm F. Arntz is now part of the Getty Center for the History of Art 
and the Humanities, also in Los Angeles. Yet the Arntz library is quite 
different; it is a great personal library, not one built as systematically and 
carefully as the Rifkind collection. 

It remains an extraordinary phenomenon that in 1971 a 
Jewish lawyer, a third-generation resident of Los Angeles, decided to col- 
lect German Expressionist graphic art and from the very beginning also 
collected illustrated books and periodicals, literature of the era, and 
important interpretative and descriptive writings on art. All this was care- 
fully collected, documented, conserved, and catalogued. His ambition 
was great and his goal, a distinguished one. Yet this goal could not be 
attained alone in occasional weekend and evening hours. It was necessary 
to find advisers and colleagues. These were found, and they were of the 
highest quality. Rifkind cast a wide net and drew into it all those con- 
cerned with German Expressionism: collectors, dealers, auctioneers, schol- 
ars, and interested admirers. Overcome by his passion, these advisers 
have devoted their expertise and experience to the fulfillment of his ambi- 
tious goal. 

But what was and has remained Rifkind's cause? It is first 
and foremost the collecting itself. But there is more. Sometimes it seems 
to me as if he, the lawyer, were conducting a trial, methodically assem- 
bling the witnesses and the evidence. This always impressed me when- 
ever I had the opportunity to do research in the original study center, 
which was housed within Rifkind's law offices in Beverly Hills. Now, with 
the transfer of the collection to the museum and the opening of the new 
study center, the situation is different. Yet the collecting process contin- 
ues. It was a wise decision to entrust this collection to a bigger institution 
whose mandate is the preservation of works of art; for now future genera- 
tions will benefit from its richness and complexity. 

Wolf-Dieter Dube 

Translated from the German by Ernestine Kahn 

Gabriele Miinter 

Germany, 1887-1962 

Atirelie, 1906 

Color woodcut 

jVie X 6^16 in. (18.2 X 16.7 cm) 

M. 82.288.219 

Davis 2058 

An Introduction 
to the 


Peter Guenther 

Richard Seewald 

Germany, 1889-1976 
Sodom und Gomorrha, 1914 
(Sodom and Gomorrah) 
Woodcut with watercolor 
5V2 X 6% in. (14.0 X 16.2 cm) 
From portfolio Zehn 
Holzschnitte zur Bibel 
M. 82.288.288 e 
Davis 2699.6 

The graphic works in the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Ex- 
pressionist Studies form a convincing and comprehensive visual core of 
one of the most extraordinary developments in the arts in the first quarter 
of the twentieth century. They are not only remarkable creative achieve- 
ments by individual artists but, of equal importance, documents of what 
must be called the Expressionist movement. Even a cursory glance at the 
holdings shows clearly that they do not represent a single style. A study of 
the painting, sculpture, literature, theater, music, dance, and film of this 
period only reinforces this. Neither in form nor in content is there a com- 
monality that would permit a stylistic definition. Yet there was an 
underlying trend, a shared vision of the world, that allied many artists 
with the Expressionist movement. At its roots it consisted of two specific 
and seemingly diametric positions. One was a profound no to the parent 
generation, the dominant historicism, the restrictive patterns of society, 
and the strains caused by rampant industrialization and the materialism 
that accompanied it. The other was a deep-seated hope for a revolutionary 
change that would bring greater freedom for the arts, a truly humane 
existence for all, and a brotherhood of man, which pronounced an equally 
emphatic yes. This hope was grounded in the belief that the arts could 
bring about change by making the viewer, reader, or listener a participant 
in the building of a better society. A virtually religious or spiritual attitude 
toward life and freedom underlay the Expressionist movement. 

It appears difficult at first to understand the no, since the 
German Empire, barely thirty years old, was politically stable, had 
adopted advanced social laws, and was undergoing rapid economic 
growth and phenomenally swift industrialization (aided by indemnities 
imposed on France after Germany's victory in 1871). The administrators 
and politicians were not corrupt, and their prestige was nearly as high as 
that of the military. Nationalistic pride was evident everywhere. There 
were, however, problems behind this impressive facade that caused the 
younger generation to rebel. Industrialization had brought about the 
rapid growth of cities in which the individual lived in virtual anonymity. 
The urban population had grown from about two million in 1871 to more 
than fourteen million by 1910.' The grimy facades of the ugly, dark apart- 
ment houses in which the majority of the workers lived, often in deplora- 
ble conditions, stood in sharp contrast to the palatial villas and grandiose 
apartment houses to which the upper middle class retreated. It was this 
bourgeoisie, with its eagerness to maintain the status quo, that set the 
rules of everyday life for its own segment of society while paying little 
attention to the masses. In this patriarchal society the unquestioned 
authority of the "higher rank" was considered a praiseworthy value. Sus- 
tained by William 11, the aristocracy retained at least a visual prominence, 
although it had lost much of its economic strength and the idea that rank 
and intelligence were not inseparable had begun to surface. 

Although most of the artists who were part of the Expres- 
sionist movement came from the dominant middle class, their no was 
directed against the predictability of life that society treasured. They 
rejected the measurement of progress in material terms, derided the 
value accorded possessions, and spurned reliance on historical examples 
in dealing with contemporary issues. 







wiR uns RRni:unM« 

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A no, no matter how loud, cannot constitute an artistic 
movement, however, unless it is sustained by an equally strong yes. The 
Expressionist movement's yes was for a different world, a better world, a 
world in which the emotions of the individual were important, even sacred, 
and in which injustices and social inequities were eliminated. This Utopian 
vision was vague since the young artists shared neither a common philos- 
ophy (although Nietzsche's influence cannot be overlooked) nor a specific 
political program. While their various nos can be defined quite clearly, 
their yes remained general and was stated mostly in emotional terms. 

The Expressionist movement began inconspicuously in 
Dresden, the rather provincial capital of the kingdom of Saxony, on June 
7, 1905, when four former architecture students decided that work in the 
visual arts could give them the creative freedom that architecture, with its 
prevalent historicism, could not. These four— Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, 

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Ernst Ludwjg Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Sif^net Kimstlergruppe Briicke; 
Programm der Kitnstlergruppe 
Briicke: Text, 1906 
(Signet of the artists' group the 
Briicke; Manifesto of the artists' 
group the Briicke: Text) 
Two woodcuts or hnoleum cuts 
4yi6 X 2 in. (11. o X 5.0 cm); 
6 X z'Vis in. (15.2 X 7.5 cm) 
Collection, the Museum of 
Modern Art, New York. Gift of 
J. B. Neumann 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880- 19,38 
Mitgliederverzeichnisse der 
Kimstlergruppe Briicke, 

(Membership lists for the art- 
ists' group the Briicke) 
Brochure with 5 woodcuts 
8 X 27'/8 in. (20.3 X 68.9 cm) 
L. 85. 2. 38 a-e; lent by the 
Robert Gore Rifkind Founda- 
tion, Beverly Hills, California 
Davis 1424 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff— were amateurs in 
the best sense of the word, with rather limited art instruction. They 
formed a community they called the Briicke (bridge), in which they 
learned with and from one another. They were eager to find forms that 
would not so much imitate nature as make visible on paper and canvas 
their emotional responses to it. Their works were to be documents of per- 
sonal perception and feeling, permitting the viewer to see even familiar 
sights with new eyes. They taught themselves to sketch quickly, concen- 
trating on significant form and choosing bright colors to enhance emo- 
tional appeal. It was not accidental that they discovered the power of the 
woodcut, with its inherent demand for abbreviation; its imposition of 
pure, flat colors; and thus its innate requirement for deformation. 

These young men did for the first time what most later 
groups in the Expressionist movement would do from then on: state their 
fundamental concepts and goals in a manifesto (see fig. 2). "With faith in 
evolution, in a new generation of creators and art lovers, we call together all 
youtli, and as youth, which bears the future, we want to gain freedom of move- 
ment and life against die weU-enbenched older forces. Eveiyone who renders 
what impels him to create direcdy and without adulteration is one of us."^ 

Their appeal won a few new members. Max Pechstein 
filled the gap when Bleyl became a teacher in Freiberg. The Swiss Cuno 


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Drei Badende an den 
Moritzburger Seen, 1910 
(Three bathers at the 
Moritzburg Lakes) 

7x 8'/i6 in. (17.8 X 20.5 cm) 
From portfoho Die Briicke v 


M. 82.288.369 d 

Davis 1430 

Amiet, the north German Emil Nolde, the Dutch Kees van Dongen, the 
Finn Axel Gallen-Kallela, the Czech Bohumil Kubista, and the Germans 
Otto Mueller and Franz Nolken joined the group, some only for short 
periods. Small exhibitions in 1906, two of them in a lamp-factory show- 
room, elicited few responses, and their first larger exhibition, in 1907 at 
the reputable Galerie Emil Richter in Dresden, earned mostly negative 
criticisrii. Traveling shows were sent to any gallery that would have them. 
Yet the large number of graphic works and paintings that the group pro- 
duced in various studios (a former butcher's shop and later a cobbler's 
shop) indicates the strength of their creativity and determination. Their 
stylistic innovations are most evident in representations of the nude and 
the landscape (see figs. 4, 97), which defied the idealization and academic 
posturing of the past by depicting freely moving human forms in colors 
that heightened the underlying eros and made them appear as essential 
parts of their surroundings. 


9. Abend: Mittwoch den 3. April 1912. 

Architektenhaus, Saal C, Wilheim-StraBe 92-93. pkt. 8 Uhr. 

Holderlin: UnvcrorTentJichte Gedlchle und Briofe (R. J.J 

Golo Gftngi: Gedenkrede our Georg Heym. 

An Georg Heym (Gedichte von Roberl JentiSCh, FnU Koffka, W. S. Ghuttmao.) 

Martin Buber; Glelchnlsee dea Tachuang — Tse. 


OEORO HEYM: Gedichte ouu dcm NachiaO, ungedrucktc (R. J.; Gh.) 


Eduard Stsuermann: Secha KlavierstQcke von Arnold Schonberg. 

Ferdinand Hardekopf: Der Gedankenstrich. 

Stanisiaw Przybyezewski: Prasa (F. K.) 

Robert Jentzach: Hymnen. 

Erich Unger; ,|MI1 alien Waaaern gewaschen" von WedeWnd. 

W. S. Ghuttman: EIn Herr. 

itakob van^Hoddls: Gedichte <R. J.; Gh.) 

Mynona. NoveJIe. 

□ an 

Billets & 2 Mk. (numoriert) und I Mk. (unnumenert) Im CaK dea Weslana 
und an der Abendkaeae. 


a»«h(fluUIJi dai NEUEN CLUBS; Erii:h Unggr, aigmundihor ai. 


Im VarUga Em« Rowohli or*chl*n loobim: Q»org Hsym: Der ei«lga Tag. t. Auflago. 
Damntdnl anchdnli Die nachgalaiuntn Qadlchia. und Im HsiUii 1312: Oar Dlab, (Novoltan). 

Karl Schmidt-RoHluff 

Germany, 1884-1976 

Der neue Club, 

Neopathetisckes Cabaret, 1911 

(The new club, 

Neopathetisches Cabaret) 


iVb X 6¥b in. (4.7 x 16.8 cm) 

M. 82. 288.261 

Davis 2538 

Pechstein, whom most critics at that time considered the 
most promising Briicke artist, moved to Berhn in 1908. Shortly thereafter 
the others also left the staid city of Dresden for vibrant Berlin. By this 
time, however, each was beginning to find his own style, and the group 
dissolved in 1913. Each became a significant force in the Expressionist 
movement on his own. 

The history of the Briicke artists consists therefore of two 
parts. Between 1905 and 1911 they were influenced by the artists of the 
Jugendstil (the German version of Art Nouveau), Vincent van Gogh, the 
Fauves, and especially Edvard Munch, and they developed a short-lived 
communal approach. Their later works cannot be associated with the 
Briicke; individual biographies and achievements demand a different focus. 

During the first period the young artists tried to gain sup- 
port and enlisted "passive" members, to whom they offered annual port- 
folios of prints with a report of their exhibition activities. The published 
membership list of 1907 includes eight active and twenty-nine passive mem- 
bers, a number that increased to forty-eight in 1909 and reached sLxty-eight 
in 1910 (see fig. 3). The names of the supporters (six lived in Switzerland, 
one in Sweden, the rest in Germany) furnish a clue to where these young 
artists found acceptance: among open-minded middle-class intellectuals.^ 

While the artists of the Briicke developed a new vision in 
their works, poets and writers also began to search for new themes and 
forms of expression. In 1909 the polemicist Kurt Hiller formed Der neue 
Club (the new club) in Berlin and shortly thereafter the public 
Neopathetisches Cabaret (see fig. 5), in which young poets read their 
works to one another and to a public that at first considered them laugh- 
able entertainment."* The list of participants forms a Who's Who of early 
Expressionist poetry: Ernst Blass, Paul Boldt, Golo Gangi (Erwin Loew- 
enson), Georg Heym, Alfred Lichtenstein, Ernst Stadler, and Jakob van 
Hoddis (Hans Davidsohn), whose poem "Weltende" (End of the world), 
published in 1911, the poet Gottfried Benn considered the beginning of 
literary Expressionism. Johannes R. Becher, another important early 
E.xpressionist poet, recalled that this poem "elevated us out of a world of 
dull bourgeoisie, which we despised and which we did not know how to 
leave.'^The poem became the first in the famous anthology Menschheits- 
ddmnieriing (Twilight of humanity), in which many of the important 
Expressionist poems written prior to 1919 were assembled. ^The editor of 
this epochal collection, Kurt Pinthus, divided the poems into four groups 
that categorized the dominant moods of the poets: fall and scream, awak- 
ening the heart, appeal and redemption, and love for humanity. Other 
anthologies proclaimed the same emotions, as their titles indicate: Die 
Gemeinschaft (The community, 1919), Kameraden der Menschheit (Com- 
rades of humanity, 1919), Die Botschaft (The message, 1920), Verkiln- 
dung (Annunciation, 1921), and Die Entfaltung (The unfolding, 1921).'^ 

The main vehicles through which the poets reached their 
public were two important journals founded just a year apart, one in 1910 
and the other in 1911. Herwarth Walden, after editing a number of other 
journals, founded Der Sturm (The storm), whose title was suggested by 
his first wife, the notable poet Else Lasker-Schiiler. In the pages of this 
remarkable publication the new poetry and prose were combined with 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Morder: Hoffnung der Frauen. 


(Murderer: Hope of women) 

Reproduction of a drawing 

15 X ii'/i in. (20.3 X 16.5 cm) 

From Der Sturm 1, no. 20 


L.86. 1.37; lent by the Robert 
Gore Rifkind Collection, 
Beverly ElilLs, California 

Karl Jakob Hirsch 

Germany, 1892-1952 

Widmungshlatt fiir "Die 

Aktion," c. 191S 

(Dedication page for Die 



4^1 X 4'yi6 in. (12.0 X 12.5 cm) 

From Die Aktion 8, no. 31/32 


83- 1- 1538 a 

Davis 1168 

the new graphic works. Some illustrations were originals printed from 
woodblocks; others were reproductions, among which portraits by Oskar 
Kokoschka as well as drawings accompanying his drama Morder, Hoff- 
nung der Frauen (Murderer, hope of women; see fig. 6) were the most 
outstanding in the early issues. Walden and his various assistants (Lothar 
Schreyer, for example, and the well-known reciter Rudolf Bliimner) 
became the self-appointed spokesmen for the Expressionist movement as 
they understood it. Intolerant of other interpretations of the new arts, 
they engaged in heated arguments, especially about aesthetics, which oc- 
cupied increasing space in the journal. Without Der Sturm the Expres- 
sionist movement would have lacked one of its most significant voices. 

A slightly different trend was followed by Die Aktion 
(Action; see fig. 7), subtitled "weekly for politics, literature, arts." Franz 
Pfemfert, its only editor, was the first to combine politics with the arts. 
From its beginnings and increasingly over the years, the journal dis- 
played pronounced socialist tendencies. Pfemfert at first supported the 
Spartakus Bund (Spartacus league), the most radical of the Communist 
factions, and welcomed the Russian Revolution of 1917, but he later 
became as outspoken an opponent of the Communist party as he had been 
of the First World War. 

Umfflim adit Sdten 

HMribcmgi 10 Mnwlg 

UER STURM S)ie^ttion 


RHlUtta ODd Vntij: Berlin -KUuuc KittirlBcsUn 
Fennpnchti Affit WBaiciiiloft HM /Aucl(ca-Aiuulna 
OcKUftntcDc. BcianWlS, POtMtiHnti.III r AmtVI 

Vlcrnililiinbciig IJ3 AUrt : H*lblUin*beitij 3J0 Muk/ 
litreUtttsE ^<n Mvk / bt) traki ZaADasE I tuciKaai- 
pnU fBi die naffaptlttiK Nonputillerdlf BO Ptcsali 




Zeichniing von Oskar Kokoschka zu dem Drama 
MOrder. Hoffnung der Frauen 

INHALT; oskar KOKOSCHKA: MOrdor, Hoffcton) 
der Figiwn / PAUL LEPPIN EhmKI >*n /Ranu; 
ALFRED DOBLIN. Qupilctia nil Kalyvio {Uw rS« 
Maik / SIBOFRIED PFAMOICH: Llogi Att Frtdo Id 
da LkII I PAUL 5CHE£RBART: OcgimtTkUnniil / 
KABL VOOT: Mum ula ThtialBnIlrdOoT 
K/lfgititMchl ,' Karltialurrn 

Mfirder, Boffoang ler f raoea 

Von Otlur Kokoiidiick 

Nscblhimincl. Turin mlt graBer rotir du met KiBg- 
iQr, Fackcln das dailge Ucht, a^U'aacr Bodcn. 
00 mm Turm ouhldgfnd, (tiQ aDe Figuren reliff- 

VciBa Oeudil. bbugcpanierl, Stimtucb, dia doe * 
Wundt bKkdit, mil tkr Sd«t tjtr Miantt 
(v.lldf Kopff, gunie uiRl rote KcqithMwr. weiBc, 
ichworre und brauap Kidder, Ztkhcn iuf deo 
Klddcm. omlle Bcinc, hohe F«*tls6iogai, 
Schtller, Oelflsc), kfJtditn herauf mil far- 
gndtdilcfl Slangcn und Uchtcm, nnucbcn mOdc 
uod uDit'iUig dcD AbcDinrtr ni/il<^alijiltcn, idQcn 
«in Pltrd nledti, er gehl vor. Bt Wotn deo Knii 
um inn, wihivnd tic rail lAugnmcr Stdgrmng ki1- 

Wif wAna Ami lUnuninde Rid um dich, Bolllnner 

kTndiksuncr FahingCDl 

gthrn lOgtrnd wkder sb Kcltt nidi, er mil dcto 

Fiditllrjgtr WW ikh, tfibl TOrni. 


FObr' uni BIumiI 

Wihrcnd lie du Ptcrd nlcdentiflra woUen. ildgcn 

Wtlbtr mil der Filhmln die linJce Sljtge betwt. 

Frau role Kleldtf, olkoe gelbe Mure, jioB, 

Fran liul 

Mil intloHn Alan ertltdtcrt die blonde SdidKe 

der Sonne, mdn Ange suntnell der MAaner FroK- 

lodirn, (brc lUnrnKlDdc Lint bkcfal wte doc 

Satle um mkh. 

Mmu ilih' von IhV km, sdicn |eUt cfil den Fr«n61«i. 

Er»teB Wrib IDjIem 

Sdn Alcm uugl lidl giOflaid det Jungma «nl 


INllALI Kir.|jk..blllr«l.; Widiimng^hlill lur dit AKTION iTitelbla(l) / Willidm Sclhiler; I olenkl.iRe ; Jui. I'jiilj 2iim 
(anflen Uhr ( Liiilwig BOrne: Uti/eil-Qcmaltcs ' Olio Frcundllch: Dem loien Ircuiide Hols Man Wtoiutikii IlolmlJiiMW 
Oeorg ^n CbarnMitl: Die Marxsclic Hrcislofmcl / Kartl Teiw: rcriinticliTiunE i Aupud OnUtmoiik,: Al.l«udie / Paula 
M™d^«>hn: Attsludle / Chrfwian; / Rodolt hlanzsse: PoMlfk ; Cio Koffkf: Siud.. / Au. BjV'iiiinj* Briet- 
TKliMl 1 Mm Schwlmmcf: ^■cdc^cichnune I HerhcH SaeVd: MondauiEanc / Paul Boldl: Der I cib / Uudme IMunier. 
Intnh.iiSBsrlcn / Qtorg Kulka: Sckc" ' Ijid' Ooldb^uni: liolisiliniU / Willielm Klcnim: Der Orublrr / Julius Kaufmann 
SirnBDur;); Fried ciiMchnsutM / Otokrir Thecr; D^r .Millag dM t'lr^diesrs / EJiih Rwyl; lli.lem Uebel ; Osknr SchOrrr 
Todesrau^ / Jules TaHwi Kdlcr: Eir Uriel ^n Carl Siernhcini / Mi^ Hmniann: llolilschtrs Bnider Wurm / F. P-- Ich 
Khneide die Y.cW ^u=; Kleiner ilrielbslen (mil ..Lyrik" ■•on Hcrbcrl Eulenhere) 

HEFT 80pFG. 




Wassily Kandinsky 

Russia, 1S66-1944 

Der Spiegel, 1907 

(The mirror) 

Color linoleum cut 

i2y-i X 6V-t in. (32.4 X 15.9 cm) 

M. 82.288. 106 

Davis 1363 

Die Aktion and Der Sturm covered all aspects of the Ex- 
pressionist movement. They published the new literature and art, they criti- 
cized public institutions as well as individuals if they were not progressive, 
and they reported on and criticized, sometimes savagely, the theater and 
other artistic activities if they did not support the new direction. In their 
different ways both journals were strongholds of the movement. 

While these publications made Berlin the center of 
Expressionist polemics, another aspect of the movement within the visual 
arts developed in Munich. It began in 1896, when a Russian named 
Wassily Kandinsky gave up a promising academic career and moved to 
Munich to become a painter. Having studied with various teachers and 
become acquainted with the modern French schools, he began a career of 
extraordinary creativity.* After freeing his work from the restrictions of 
Jugendstil, he achieved a style that permitted the omission of recogniz- 
able objects (see figs. 8, 9) and thus by 1910 had significantly contributed 
to the Expressionist movement. The burst of energy to which his biog- 
raphy bears witness led to the formation in 1909 of an influential artists' 
group, the Neue Kiinstlervereinigung Miinchen (new artists' association 
Munich), or NKVM. The following year he was instrumental in present- 
ing to the Munich public within an exhibition of this group the first large- 
scale show of modern French and Russian artists. The list of participants 
remains impressive. Georges Braque, Andre Derain, van Dongen, Henri 
Le Fauconnier, Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault, and Maurice de Vla- 
minck were shown side by side with Vladimir Bechtejeff, David and 
Vladimir Burliuk, Wassily Denissoff, Moyssey Kogan, Alexander 
Mogilewski, and the Munich painters whom Kandinsky had united in the 
NKVM: Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Miinter, Marianne von Werefkin, 
and others. Quarrels ensued the following year, and in December 1911 
Kandinsky, Alfred Kubin, Franz Marc, and Miinter left the group, imme- 
diately planning a counterexhibition, since the artistic differences within 
the group had become irreconcilable and a break inevitable when 
Kandinsky's Composition v was rejected by the jury. 

During the same year Kandinsky and Marc worked on an 
almanac that they envisioned as a voice for the new arts. They used its 
proposed title to announce the Erste Atisstellung der Redaktion der 
"Blaue Reiter" (First exhibition of the editors of Der blaue Reiter). It was 
not a large exhibition, consisting of only forty-three works, including two 
by Henri Rousseau, who had died in 1910, and five by Robert Delaunay. 
Kandinsky, after hearing a concert of Arnold Schonberg's music, initiated 
an exchange of letters with the composer.^ He felt a commonality in their 
strivings and insisted that three of Schonberg's paintings, a self-portrait 
and two works called Vision, be included in the show. The other works 
were by Kandinsky's friends Albert Bloch, the Burliuks, Heinrich 
Campendonk, Elisabeth Epstein, Eugen Kahler, August Macke, Marc, 
Miinter, and Jean Bloe Niestle. 

Although the exhibition was significant, the almanac Der 
blaue Reiter (The blue rider, 1912; fig. 10) became one of the most impor- 
tant documents of modern art. 1° While the Briicke had begun as a com- 
munity of artists, the Blaue Reiter consisted only of Kandinsky and Marc 
(with the support of Macke), both of whom attracted individuals who had 


Wassily Kandinsky 

Russia, 1866-1944 

Lyrisches, 1911 


Color woodcut 

5"/i6 X 8'/2 in. (14.5 X 21.6 cm) 

From Wassily Kandinsky, 


Davis 1368.3 

already developed their own styles and approaches. In short, the Blaue 
Reiter was not a community, and the participants' styles were as different as 
their personalities. A statement in the catalogue of the first exhibition ex- 
pressed the group's philosophy; "We wish to propagate in this small exhibi- 
tion not one precise and special form, but we intend in the variety of the 
forms represented to show how the inner wish of the artists expresses itself."^^ 
This acceptance of diversity was based on a concept that 
was central to the Expressionist movement: the Gesamtkunstwerk (total 
work of art), which found its finest expression in Der blaue Reiter. Assem- 
bled in its 143 pages were theoretical essays, discourses on the modern 
arts, explorations of modern music, an introduction to modern Russian 
painting, as well as musical scores by Schonberg and his most famous 
students, Alban Berg and Anton von Webern (see figs, ii, 12). The span 
of the articles was remarkable, and the 144 illustrations represented an 
astounding new view of the arts. Reproductions of sculptural works from 
Africa and Mexico were interspersed with paintings by Paul Cezanne, 
Henri Matisse, Picasso, members of the Briicke (Kirchner, Mueller, 
Pechstein), children's drawings, Bavarian paintings on glass, Egyptian 
shadow-play figures, and Renaissance woodcuts. Much space was devoted 



Alban Berg at his home in 
Vienna, with a portrait of him 
by Arnold Schonberg, c. 1932 

Anton Webern, 1911 

to Kandinsky's article "Uber Biihnenkomposition" (Concerning stage 
composition), followed by his play Der gelbe Klang (The yellow sound). 
The lead article by Marc, entitled "Geistige Giiter" (Spiritual goods), la- 
mented the general lack of interest in spiritual values and also expressed 
the editors' belief that their ideas were elements of a new movement 
whose "vibrations were felt all over the world. " Using the term Wilden 
(wild ones), obviously a reference to the French Fauves, Marc nearly re- 
peated the manifesto of the Briicke in another article: "In our epoch of the 
great battle for the new arts, we fight as wild ones against an old, or- 
ganized power. The fight seems uneven, but in spiritual matters it is 
never the number but the strength of ideas that will be victorious. "^^ 
Among the other "wild ones," he listed the Briicke (with which Kandinsky 
had had connections since 1906, when he sent woodcuts to their graphics 
exhibition in the lamp factory); the Berlin Neue Sezession (new seces- 
sion), formed in 1910 by Pechstein, his Briicke friends, and other Expres- 
sionist artists as a counterorganization to the more conservative 
Sezession; and even the NKVM. Each of the artists in these groups used 
different forms, Marc stated, but all desired "to create through their 
works symbols for their times, which belong on the altars of the coming 
spiritual religion and behind which their technical creator will disappear." 
In the draft of an announcement he repeated, "[The Blaue Reiter] shall be 
the call that summons the artists who belong to this new time, and it shall 
awaken the ears of the laymen." 

The second Blaue Reiter exhibition, held in Munich in 
1912, was called Der blaue Reiter: Schwarz-Weiss (The blue rider: Black 
and white) and presented 315 graphic works in a wide variety of styles. In 
the same year Kandinsky's important theoretical work Uber das Geistige 
in der Kunst (Concerning the spiritual in art; fig. 13) was published by 
Reinhard Piper in Munich. ^^ Along with the various manifestos and the 
Blaue Reiter almanac, which express the mood as well as the spirit of the 
young artists, this small booklet has become an often quoted and studied 
document of the Expressionist movement. 

By this time Expressionist works of art were being shown 
in several galleries. The first Blaue Reiter exhibition, for instance, went 
from Munich to the Gereonsclub in Cologne and from there to Der Sturm 
in Berlin, the gallery that Walden had opened to provide a showcase for 
the artists whom he supported in his journal. In 1913 this gallery showed 
the largest international modern art exhibition ever held in Germany and 
called it, following the French example, Erster deutsche Herbstsalon 
(First German autumn salon). Seventy-five artists from twelve countries 
contributed 366 works, which represented all of the contemporary styles, 
including Expressionism. Although the latter remained primarily a Ger- 
man development, it had become obvious to critics and the public that 
the "old" arts had found successful challengers in all of Europe. 

At the openings for his exhibitions (he organized more 
than two hundred, many of which traveled to other galleries in Germany 
and abroad) as well as at his later soirees, Walden propagated the Gesamt- 
kunstwerk by offering recitations from works of authors published in the 
journal and performances of contemporary music. (Walden himself was a 
gifted pianist who had won the Liszt Prize; he composed a number of 


Wassily Kandinsky 

Russia, 1866-1944 
Holzschnitt fur den Ahnanach 
"Der hlaue Reiter," 1911 
(Woodcut for the almanac Der 
blaue Reiter) 

Color woodcut (electrotype) 
11 X 8"/"' in. (27.9 X 21. 1 cm) 
From Wassily Kandinsky and 
Franz Marc, eds., Der blaue 
83.1.105 a 
Davis 1366 


Wassily Kandinsky 

Russia. 1866-1944 
Stetiender und stiirzender 
Turm mit Reiter, 1911 
(Standing and falling tower 
with rider) 

Woodcut printed in green 
4^16 X 4^1 in. (10.9 X 12.0 cm) 
From Wassily Kandinsky, Uber 
das Ceistige in der Kunst 
83.1.103 k 
Davis 1367. 1 




operas and symphonies.) In short, Expressionist hterature and music as 
well as painting and graphics found support in Berhn. Other galleries had 
also begun to present works by the still-controversial artists. Gallery own- 
ers Paul Cassirer, Fritz Gurlitt, and I. B. Neumann became spokesmen 
for their artists and thus for the movement. But it was not only in Berlin 
that these new works could be seen. In Munich the Blaue Reiter exhib- 
ited in the Heinrich Thannhauser and Hans Goltz galleries, and in Dres- 
den Emil Richter and Ernst Arnold provided space for the former Briicke 
members and other contemporary artists. Many gallery owners, including 
Alfred Flechtheim in Diisseldorf, Karl Nierendorf in Cologne, and Lud- 
wig Schames in Frankfurt, were eager to show new works just as publish- 
ers such as Ernst Rowohlt and Kurt Wolff in Leipzig, A. R. Meyer and 
Erich Reiss in Berlin, and R. Weissbach in Heidelberg were eager to print 
the new poetry and prose. It was a hectic period, and although the general 
public still rejected and derided Expressionism, new voices were heard and 
new images were seen. The Expressionist movement had gained a strong 
foothold in the artistic life of Germany. And then the war broke out. 

The year 1914 was a true caesura, a divide; a wave of 
patriotism that quickly became chauvinistic engulfed all of Europe and 
especially Germany. Many writers and artists welcomed the war, includ- 
ing Alfred Doblin, Rudolf Leonhard, Ernst Wilhelm Lotz, Thomas 
Mann, and Paul Zech. Marc's diaries and letters echoed this sentiment. 
Many artists volunteered, as they and countless others believed that the 
war would be short and would truly bring about a totally new beginning. 
Although, as expected, artistic activity declined because of censorship 
and the scarcity of paper and canvas, there were still exhibitions. Der 
Sturm and Die Aktion continued pubhcation; the latter strongly opposed 
the war from early on. Kandinsky returned to Moscow, and Jawlensky and 
Werefkin moved to Switzerland, but other artists were able to remain 
active in Germany. In the Red Cross unit led by the art historian and 
curator Walter Kaesbach, Heckel, Otto Herbig, Max Kaus, Anton 
Kerschbaumer, and others found time to paint. 

The early news of German victories on all fronts that had 
fanned so much enthusiasm was soon replaced by tragic accounts. Macke 
had died, as had Lotz, Marc, Wilhelm Morgner, Stadler, and Georg 
Trakl. The list grew steadily. Accounts of victories became rare, and by 
1916 the number of dead and maimed changed the public's mood. At 
home hunger stalked the streets of the cities, and hopes for a new world 
grew dimmer. One example of this change must suffice: in 1914 Paul 
Cassirer, the gallery owner and publisher, initiated a series of illustrated 
broadsides entitled Kriegszeit: Kunstlerflugbldtter (Wartime: Artists' 
broadsides), which were prowar, chauvinistic, and popular. Many of the 
better-known artists, such as August Gaul, Otto Hettner, and Max 
Liebermann, contributed, as did Ernst Barlach, Germany's greatest 
sculptor and an extraordinary graphic artist, writer, and dramatist, who 
had been represented by Cassirer since 1907. Among the eleven works 
that Barlach published in 1914 and 1915 were lithographs that suggest 
that he was following the chauvinistic trend. In issue number 17 a print 
entitled Der heilige Krieg (The holy war; fig. 14) appeared, and in number 
20, Erst Sieg, dann Frieden (First victory, then peace). In 1916, however, 




Ernst Barllach 

Germany, 1870-1938 

Der heilige Krieg, 1914 

(The holy war) 


i6V<i X 10 in. (41.3 X 25.4 cm) 

From Kriegszeit, no. 17 (1914) 

83.1.1416 c 

Davis 74 

Cassirer recognized the changed mood and appointed a new editor, the 
well-known musicologist and pacifist Leo Kestenberg, and changed the 
title of the publication to the more neutral Der Bildermann: Stein- 
zeichnungen fiirs deutsche Volk (The picture man: Lithographs for the 
German people). By then Barlach too saw the war differently. In issue 
number 14 of Der Bildermann, his lithograph bears the title Anno Domini 
MCMXVi post Christum natiwi (The year of our Lord 1916; fig. 15) and 
shows a figure of Christ confronted by the Tempter, who points to a vast 
landscape filled with crosses on the graves of soldiers. Two issues later 
Barlach s print Selig sind die Barmherzigen (Blessed are the merciful) 
appeared, and in number 18 a symbolic kneeling figure is presented, with 
the title Dona nobis pacem (Give us peace; fig. 16). 

The Expressionist movement was stalled: Kirchner was 
hospitalized with a nervous condition. Max Beckmann had been fur- 
loughed after a collapse, Kokoschka was recovering from a wound he had 
received a year earlier, Karl Hofer was interned in France, and Pechstein 
was in Palau. Rene Schickele had moved his pacifist journal Die weissen 
Blatter (The white papers) to Bern, and Hugo Ball had left Germany for 
Zurich, where he founded the Cabaret Voltaire, the birthplace of the 
Dada movement. 

The horrors of the war became more visible every day. 
The growing strength of the Allies, the hunger and deprivation at home, 
mounting strikes in industry, and the mutiny of the navy brought the Ger- 
man war effort to an end. Within days an uprising swept over Germany, 
the kaiser and various princes and dukes resigned, and on November 9, 
1918, the birth of the German Republic was proclaimed. Nobody, how- 
ever, seemed to have made any plans for this event. In the streets of the 
larger cities armed battles broke out between political factions, each of 
which had a different concept of this new Germany. The political left was 
deeply divided. Some wanted to duplicate the Russian form of govern- 
ment using a system of Rate, or councils (the Russian Revolution of 1917 
had made a great impression as a possible model for Germany), while 
another faction wanted a socialistic republic. The new government was 
unable to quell the unrest and called on the political right to volunteer for 
quasimilitary service in the Freikorps (armed volunteer corps), which 
brutally suppressed various uprisings and protest marches. 

The artists who had expressed their fervent hope for an 
end to the war in their works were ready to help build the new society. 
Even before the election for the Constitutional Assembly had been 
announced (November 29, 1918), the young artists had made their pres- 
ence felt in the political arena. On November 9 a group of writers 
appeared in the parliamentary building in Berlin under the leadership of 
Hiller, the founder of the Neopathetisches Cabaret and the later Aktivis- 
ten Bund (activist league) and publisher of the yearbook Das Ziel (The 
goal). They established themselves with the permission of the Arbeiter- 
und Soldatenrat (workers' and soldiers' council) as Rat geistiger Arbeiter 
(council of intellectual workers). This group presented a radical, socialist 
political program that had been signed by many writers, artists, and intel- 
lectuals. The council, self-appointed and self-renewing, wanted to be- 
come the intellectual counterpart of the provisional government and its 



^ergBtrdetmaim z>evA7^iU>txmam 


iy e rau s ^ eye fen 





-%i^2ar-*=' ^ e raus j eyeSen 
p aut tafftrer 

iO.Stjmttr, iSii 



Ernst Bariach 

Germany, 1S70— 1938 

Anno Domini mcmwi post 

Christum natwn, 1916 

(The year of our Lord 1916) 


7^16 X g'/j in. (19.2 x 23.5 cm) 

From DerBildermann 1, no. 14 



Davis 83 


Ernst Bariach 

German); 1870-1938 

Dona nobis pacem, 1916 

(Give us peace) 


7 X 9'/s in. (17.8 X 23.2 cm) 

From DerBildermann 1, no. 18 


83. 1.1462.69 

Davis 87 

permanent adviser on all cultural matters. The organization existed 
through the middle of 1919 and weathered a number of internal disagree- 
ments, yet it remained powerless and isolated from the government. Al- 
though the activist wing of the Expressionist movement existed for only a 
short time, many of its ideas later became law even without its participa- 
tion. (Several such councils existed in Munich, where Heinrich Mann was 
the president, and in Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig, and other cities. Their 
effectiveness, however, was minimal.) 

Another council made its appearance at the same time. 
The Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst (working council for art) was formed by a group 
of architects, painters, sculptors, and critics who had a common goal: "Art 
and people must form a unity. The arts shall no longer be just the delight 
of the few, but the happiness and life of the masses. The unification of all 
of the arts under the wings of a great architecture is the goal. "''* Among 
the founders were many prominent Berlin Expressionists. Two outstand- 
ing architects— Bruno Taut and, slightly later, Walter Gropius— the 
painter and stage designer Cesar Klein, and the critic Adolf Behne 
formed the executive committee. On the board were former members of 
the Briicke, including Heckel, Pechstein, and Schmidt-Rottluff; the 
sculptors Georg Kolbe and Gerhard Marcks; the painter and poet Ludwig 
Meidner; Heinrich Richter-Berlin; and many others. A committee as- 
signed the task of recruiting additional adherents consisted of Lyonel 
Feininger, Otto Freundlich, Karl Jakob Hirsch, and Georg Tappert, 
among others. They proclaimed: "The most important task for the imme- 
diate future . . . lies in the common planning of a comprehensive Utopian 
building project that should combine in equal parts architecture, sculp- 
ture, and painting.'i^ 




Hans Luckhantt 

Germany, 1890-1954 
Sketch for the Deutsches 
Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, 

While rejecting governmental interference, the Arbeits- 
rat demanded that the new government recognize that all building activi- 
ties were of a public nature and thus a cultural activity in which the 
council was to participate. In every town Volkshduser (peoples' houses) 
were to be erected, which would have the task of introducing the people 
to all of the arts, especially the modern arts. The council also demanded 
that museums be reorganized, that lectures be given to all museum visi- 
tors, and that more exhibition space be made available. Aware of the 
public's reluctance to accept modern art, the council emphasized its edu- 
cational program, demanding the complete restructuring of all art schools 
and academies. "Convinced that political change must be used to free the 
arts from decades of tutelage, " it also called for the destruction of all 
"artistically valueless" monuments in public spaces and an immediate end 
to the planning of war museums. '^ 

Among the council's first activities were the distribution 
of a radical architectural program by Taut and a manifesto by P. R. 
Henning demanding greater use of terra-cotta for sculpture as well as in 
and on buildings; an exhibition for the "unknown architect "; and the pub- 
lication of a booklet, Riifzum Baiien (Call to building), with an introduc- 
tion by Behne. Due to the cessation of construction during the war, many 
of the Utopian plans and models designed by architects allied with the 
movement were now introduced to the public for the first time. Some of 
these, by Hermann Finsterlin, Wenzel A. Hablik, Carl Krayl, Hans and 
Wassily Luckhardt, and others, remain impressive to this day (see fig. 17). 
It had to be expected that the press and the public were startled by what 
they perceived as the impracticality of these plans. 

Far more important and indicative of the shared goals 
within the Expressionist movement was a booklet entitled Ja! Stimmen 
des Arbeitsratesfiir Kiinst in Berlin (Yes! Voices of the working council for 
art in Berlin; fig. 18), which contained answers to a questionnaire that had 
been sent to many artists in the spring of 1919.'''' The artists" proposals 
embraced a wide range of topics, including reforms of the education of 



^ AR.BeiT>RAT£3 FUR. 

: _-Ji * 


Bruno Taut 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Cover design for /a.' Stimmen 
des Arbeitsrates fi'ir Kunst in 
Berlin, 1919 
83- 1-354 

artists, the role of the state vis-a-vis the social position of the artist, future 
building plans, how to interest the public in the Gesamtkunstwerk, plans 
to introduce more color into cities, and the establishment of closer rela- 
tions with similar artists' groups in other countries. The Arbeitsrat tried 
to translate many of the Expressionist dreams into reality. Since neither 
the populace nor the government reacted positively, it merged in 1921 
with another group formed during the 1918 revolution, the Novem- 
bergruppe (November group), which took its name from the month of the 
revolution, when hopes for the construction of a new state and a new 
society were still intact. ^^ 

Unlike the Arbeitsrat, the Novembergruppe never 
intended to be more than an organization of "radical artists, radical in the 
use of new means of expression. " The letter sent to prospective members 
began: "The future of the arts and the seriousness of this hour forces us 
revolutionary artists of the spirit (Expressionists, Cubists, Euturists) to 
unity and close association." The executive committee consisted of Rudolf 
Belling, Klein, Moriz Melzer, Pechstein, Richter-Berlin, Tappert, and 
others. They declared that they wanted to be more than just an exhibition 
organization; their aim was to influence all artistic questions that the new 
republic would face. Paralleling much of the program of the Arbeitsrat, 
they announced, in addition to an annual exhibition each November, sev- 
eral publications and performances of modern music. It is not surprising 
that many members of the Novembergruppe (which lasted, albeit as an 
exhibition organization, until the 1930s) had also been members of the 
Arbeitsrat or signatories of its program. Both organizations as well as the 
Rat geistiger Arbeiter were part of the Expressionist movement, and the 
majority of their members were Expressionists. It was not by accident 
that the opening sentences of the Novembergruppe manifesto read: "We 
stand on the fruitful ground of the revolution. Our motto is: Ereedom— 
Equality— Brotherhood!" Ten years after its formation the influential 
critic Will Grohmann recalled: "The miracle happened— that, with very 
few exceptions, all artists felt [themselves] to be a community, morally 
obligated to believe in the goodness of man and to create the best possible 
world. That pathos was genuine and had an ethical accent. "^^ The ter- 
minology used, the characteristic overstatement, and the Utopian goals 
were an integral part of the Expressionist movement. 

The pronouncements of the Arbeitsrat and the Novem- 
bergruppe reached other cities and towns, where new artists' groups 
were formed. Many, if not most, began with a manifesto, exhibitions, and 
a flurry of other artistic activities. There was Der Wurf (the throw) in 
Bielefeld, Die Schanze (the trench) in Miinster, Die Kugel (the sphere) in 
Halle, the Krafte (forces) group in Hamburg, Rih in Karlsruhe, Freie Be- 
wegung (free movement) in Vienna, and many others. The two that deserve 
special attention since they exemplify the variety within the Expressionist 
movement are the Dresden Sezession: Gruppe 1919 (Dresden secession: 
group 1919) and Das junge Rheinland (the young Rhineland). 

The Dresden group was typical of postwar artists' orga- 
nizations: a small group of very young artists began to meet at the end of 
1916 and called themselves Expressionistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft 
(Expressionist working group). They were painters, poets, writers, and 

Friihzeitig von der Neuen Kanst gepackt, 
erkaimte ich in ihr meiiien Weg. Sludierte 
schnell, um zu gestalten, was mich bewegte. 
Und gedriingt von meinem unzufriedenen Clia- 
rakter, gelangte ich bald zu den Resultaten, 
die ich hier als meine Graphik zeige. Eine 
kitschige Caft-Haus-Gaslampe, SchOnbergs Pierrot 
Lunaire, die eckigenDichtungen Jacob van Soddis, 
die Ehen raeiner Freunde, schnurgerade Strassen, 
die Evas von Lukas Cranach und kleine Htigel 
in der Landschafl sind die Entziinder meiner 
Exaltationen. Die Arbeit geschieht hastig, — 
aber nicht iiberstiirzt. Erwartet den Moment der 
Reife, um zu zogern, und zwingt mit Gelassenheit 
das Erlebte — Gefiililte— Durchdachte mitkluger 
Hand zum Niederschlag. — Noch nie war eine 
Kunst „der Kunst so nahe als die Neue". 


Conrad Felixmiiller 

Germany, 1897—1977 

Menschen, 1917 



18 X ^Vh in. (45.8 X 14.9 cm) 

Promotional flier for periodical 


83.1.1362 a 

Davis under 583 

15 Guenther 

critics, and after a while they began to hold public soirees where they 
read their works, gave lectures, and discussed the visual arts. Beginning 
in January 1918 they found an outlet for their ideas in the characteris- 
tically expressionistic journal Menschen (Humanity; see fig. 19). The 
Gruppe 1919 was officially formed shortly after the Novembergruppe and 
announced that it was "founded by a number of artists who wished to 
realize ideal projects that— like their art— necessarily separated them 
from previous artists. Basic principles are: truth— brotherhood— art. '^° 

In the catalogue for the group's first exhibition, at the 
Galerie Emil Richter, the artists repeated the familiar no as well as yes, 
stating that the group was formed out of the "inner necessity to take final 
leave of the old ways and means" and that the members considered them- 
selves "mature [enough] to take on the leadership of the young local 
forces."2i Soon, however, internal dissension disrupted the group. Con- 
rad Felixmiiller, the guiding spirit of the group, was convinced that only 
in connection with a strong political force could they expect to transform 
their hopes into reality and that this required membership in the Com- 
munist party. While Constantin von Mitschke-Collande sided with 
Fehxmiiller for a while, the others refused to take this step. Otto Dix, 
Wilhelm Heckrott, Otto Lange, and Lasar Segall continued to exhibit 
with the group and were later joined by Gela Forster, Christoph Voll, and 
others. Peter August Bockstiegel (Felixmliller's brother-in-law). Otto 
Schubert, and the architect Hugo Zehder left for personal reasons. Even 
Felixmliller's political-artistic drive vanished not long thereafter. 

The journal Menschen remained important, but even 
there the change from the revolutionary to the purely artistic did not take 
long. In its first issues the editors stated that it was "the expression of 
poets, writers, painters, and musicians for whom the arts were a means to 
change man" and only slightly later expanded its concept to include what 
"in literature, painting, music, and criticism is called Expressionism . . . 
and in politics ... a national socialism." In March 1919 the word "politics" 
was dropped from the masthead, and in September 1920 the new editor, 
Walter Hasenclever, simply informed its readers: "We begin the editor- 
ship of this journal under the condition of strict political neutrality." The 
history of the Gruppe 1919 and Menschen illustrates the speed with which 
the mood among artists changed. 

Berlin, Dresden, and Munich had produced very dif- 
ferent strands of the Expressionist movement. It was therefore to be 
expected that the movement's development in the Rhineland would like- 
wise take a different form. There the first important event was the exhibi- 
tion held in Cologne in 1912 by the Sonderbund westdeutscher 
Kunstfreunde und Kiinstler (special association of west German friends of 
art and artists), which proclaimed in its exhibition catalogue that it pro- 
vided an overview of "that movement that has been called Expression- 
ism."22 Significant was the large number of works in this show by Ce- 
zanne, Paul Gauguin, van Gogh, and, among the living artists, Picasso. 
Many Expressionists were represented, including the former Briicke 
members (Heckel and Kirchner were given the honor of painting the 
chapel) and the artists who had exhibited with the Blaue Reiter. (It was 
this exhibition that sparked the famous Armory Show of 1913 in New 




Cover oi Staatliches Buuhaus in 

Weimar, 1919-1923 


York.) It remained an isolated event, however, because the organizing 
group disbanded in 1915. 

In January 1918 another group, Das junge Rheinland, 
made its appearance with an exhibition called Rheinische Expressionisten 
(Rhenish Expressionists), in which Heinrich Campendonk, E. M. 
Engert, Max Ernst, Otto Freundlich, Franz Henseler, Heinrich Nauen, 
and others participated. Macke, who had died in the war, was repre- 
sented by thirty paintings. It is noteworthy that this group was consider- 
ably less demonstrative and that its emphasis on politics was far weaker 
than that of the Novembergruppe and many other groups.-^ In 1922 Das 
junge Rheinland became instrumental in forming the Kartell fort- 
schrittlicher Kiinstlergruppen in Deutschland (cartel of progressive art- 
ists' groups in Germany), in which the Gruppe 1919 as well as the Novem- 
bergruppe and the Darmstadter Sezession (Darmstadt secession) also 
participated. The only political platform that the group retained was the 
demand for the immediate dissolution of the art academies. The Expres- 
sionist movement had lost its revolutionary impetus in the Rhineland. 

That the call for the dissolution of the art academies was 
still on the agenda is intriguing because this was one of the few demands 
of the radical artists' groups that were realized, in the form of the estab- 
lishment of the state-supported Bauhaus in Weimar, a truly new and inno- 
vative school.-'* In 1919 Gropius was able to persuade the government of 
Thuringia to allow him to combine the Grossherzogliche Hochschule fiir 
bildende Kunst (grand-ducal high school for fine arts) and the Grossher- 
zogliche Kunstgewerbeschule (grand-ducal school for applied arts) into a 
single institution. He hired an extraordinary faculty that shocked the 
populace of Weimar and delighted the Expressionists: Feininger, Johan- 
nes Itten, and Marcks. Later additions included Kandinsky, Paul Klee, 


Oskar Schlemmer 

Germany, 1888-1943 

Die erste Bauhaus Ausstellung 

in Weimar, Juli his September 

192.3. 1923 

(The first Bauhaus exhibition in 

Weimar, July to September 


Publicity pamphlet written and 

designed by Schlemmer 

jVb X 2^Vb in. (20.0 X 60.0 cm) 

83- 1-45 






6 1923^ 

III DCtiBplor 
BiiuluF»a IDi 

on An Si 

K Welt doQ SclDli u 


(kUnslleriichD PhonlBela} no 

lelm Oaa aInliichD Maul un 


VarDlnlQunB und SInduns durch Architahiuf. Olo Aufsabo dm bll- 

lOtsI oacf auch utur legMc 

Balioiliin Solelioum un 

Uh< Oi diD G-onion OIIOnDtiochon GbiuIIs.i kphn an.altdr>i. 

fOr stein, MOLZ. 
metsll, ton. olas. 

UNDM, - 


auffUhrungen a 


S W c 

inPsilcteraauntuilof ImPoik vanWolm. 

Georg Muche, and Oskar Schlemmer. The pamphlet in which Gropius 
announced the program of the new school echoed statements made by the 
Arbeitsrat and the Novembergruppe: " 'The final aim of all artistic activity 
is building.' Let us desire, conceive, and create together the new struc- 
ture of the future, which shall be all in one form— architecture and sculp- 
ture and painting— and which will one day rise toward heaven from the 
hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming 
faith. " The pamphlet's cover was a woodcut by Feininger depicting a crys- 



talline cathedral (fig. 23). The accomphshments of the Bauhaus during the 
years in Weimar and after 1923 in Dessau are too well known to require an 
extended account. That the school's approach to the education of artists 
and designers was innovative is unquestionable, yet it should be noted 
that architecture did not become a part of the curriculum until after the 
move to Dessau. By that time, however, the Expressionist ardor had dis- 
sipated, and a new, Constructivist-influenced approach had gained the 
upper hand. 



<ii: 1919 



Title page of Staatliches 
Bauhaus in Weimar, 1919-1923 


Lyonel Feininger 

United States, 1871 — 1956 

Kathedrale, 1919 



12 X -/Va in. (30.5 x 18.7 cm) 

From brochure Programm 

des Staatlichen Bauhauses in 


83.1.3 a 

Davis 563 


Kari Schmidt-Rottluff 

Germany, 1884-1976 

Kiindung: Eine Zeitschrift fiir 

Kunst, 1920 

(Kiindung: A magazine for art) 

Color woodcut 

i2'/8 X 9% in. (30.8 X 23.8 cm) 

M. 82.288.273 

Davis 2570 


Richard Seewald 

Germany, 1889-1976 

Revolution, 1913 


5'/2 X 3*^16 in. (14.0 X 10.0 cm) 

From Revolution 1, no. 1 (1913) 

83.1.1635 a 

Davis under 2695.2 


Cover of Feuer 3, no. 1 (1921) 


Conrad Felixmiiller 

Germany, 1897-1977 

Selbstbildnis, 1916 



6^1 X 6 in. (17.2 X 15.3 cm) 

From Der Weg 1, no. 5/6 (1919) 

83.1.1217 a 

Davis 574 

Cover of Der Ruf [no. 2] (1912) 


F E 


OKT' 1021 



[ R 


ill M (") kl A f S S ^ H D I k T F D P In 


rTK U N WuND ROm\ti/erj K H E KULTUR 
H E I? A U 5 G t B E R ; D P : U I D Q BAG LE R_ _^ 




So far the attempt has been made to trace the history of the Expressionist 
movement through the formation of various artists' groups. The young 
artists who founded these groups proclaimed in manifestos and programs 
that their art was no longer pretty, decorative, or imitative in nature, but 
was a philosophical, spiritual, or even political statement. These artists 
were willing to subordinate their individuality by exhibiting with like- 
minded colleagues and friends. By presenting a common front, they 
would demonstrate to gallery owners, museums, critics, and the public 
that their vision of man and the world was a shared one. While most of the 
Expressionist breakthroughs in the visual arts and in literature occurred 
before the war, the horrors of war and the restrictions imposed during 
wartime make the stridency of these groups' revolutionary pronounce- 
ments understandable. To make a movement out of a "trend " (if that term 
may be used for Expressionism), however, requires that the other arts 
follow a parallel course. Only a few groups were formed by poets and 
writers. We know of their endless discussions in coffeehouses, but the 
coherence of the visual artists within their groups remained singular. 

To attempt to find group structures among poets and 
writers by comparing the appearances of their works in the many journals 
and magazines of the era is not productive, since the same author can be 
found in different journals at the same time. Yet the titles of some of these 
publications do suggest a common denominator, since they reflect the 
direction of their editorial policies: Anbruch (Beginning), Feuer (Fire; fig. 
26), Der Friede (Peace), Kiindung (Annunciation; fig. 24), Die Rettung 
(Deliverance), Revolution (fig. 25), Der Ruf (The call; fig. 28), and Der 
Weg (The way; fig. 27). The parallel to the titles of the poetry anthologies 
is obvious. A careful study of Der Sturm, Die Aktion, and some of the 
other periodicals reveals that the graphic works and the poems and stories 
published in them have little in common as far as content is concerned; 
they do, however, have the same roots. One can offer proof of the basic 
soundness of calling Expressionism a movement by sketching its develop- 
ment in an art form in which literature and the visual arts are combined, 
such as theater or film. 

The German theater always had a pronounced social 
function. The Expressionist theater frequently came close to being a pul- 
pit, a place from which the transformation of man and thus of society 
could be effected. 2^ The psychological dramas of Henrik Ibsen, August 
Strindberg, and Frank Wedekind were the forerunners of the later 
Expressionist dramas and, like them, suffered from censorship as well as a 
hostile public. They inspired their directors to develop a new kind of 
stagecraft, which became one of the characteristics of the plays within the 
Expressionist movement. 

The earliest of these new plays came, not surprisingly, 
from two great visual artists: Kokoschka, whose Morder, Hoffnung der 
Frauen (see fig. 32) was first performed in Vienna in 1907 and created a 
scandal (the second performance took place in Dresden in 1913 before an 
invited audience), and Barlach, whose Der tote Tag (The dead day, 
1907-10) was first performed in Leipzig in 1919. Both plays included fea- 
tures that influenced many later playwrights, such as the transformation 
of specific characters into types and a stylized linguistic structure that 



Ernst Deutsch in Walter 
Hasenclever's Der Sohn, 
Deutsches Landestheater, 
Prague (first performance, 
September 30, 1916) 


Sketch for a production of 
Walter Hasenclever's Der 
Sohn, Stadttheater, Kiel (first 
performance, October 31, 1919; 
director: Gerhard Ausleger; 
set designer: Otto Reigbert) 

substituted a staccato of highly emotional statements accentuating the 
intensity of the action for the well-constructed explanatory sentences and 
dialogues of conventional drama. Ideas and psychological events v^^ere 
transformed into symbolic characters and actions. The Expressionist play- 
wrights saw themselves as visionaries, as prophets whose voices were 
raised for the Erneuerung des Menschen (regeneration of humanity). 

The importance of drama within the Expressionist move- 
ment was very great. The theater was once again a moral institution. 
Reinhard Sorge's Der Bettler (The beggar, 1912) portrays the transforma- 
tion of a young man, an incarnation of pure emotion, who kills his parents 
and then ascends to heaven, having freed himself from all bonds, even 
that of love. In importance this drama was paralleled by Hasenclever's 
Der Sohn (The son, 1914; see figs. 29, 30), in which a young man thirsts 
for self-determination. When his father has him brought home in hand- 
cuffs by the police, the son aims a pistol at the father, who dies of a heart 
attack. In Arnolt Bronnen's Vatermord (Patricide, 1915), the conflict was 
widened, and the influences of the social milieu and of genetic inheri- 
tance were accentuated. In Georg Kaiser's Die Burger von Calais (The 
burghers of Calais, 1914), which was inspired by Rodin's sculpture, sui- 
cide is interpreted as bravery if one willingly becomes a martyr for a good 
cause but not if one fights senselessly for one's honor. Schickele's once- 
famous Hans im Schnakenloch (Hans in Schnakenloch, 1920) revolves 
around an Alsatian's love for both France and Germany, a conflict that was 
well known in both countries. Like many other Expressionist plays, it 
emphasizes the ideals of pacifism and socialism. 

Merely to summarize the plays' content, however, makes 
little sense. Indeed Ernst Toller's deeply moving play. Die Wandlung 
(The transformation, 1919; see fig. 33), which the playwright completed 
while imprisoned for his activities in the Bavarian revolution, defies sum- 
mary. The play is essentially a lyrical monologue about the love of human- 
kind, calling on spectators to transform their lives; it is, in other words, a 
call for Utopia. In all of these plays and in many, many others, reality and 
dream, actual events and visions interact in new ways and establish new 
forms. The plays furiously denounce the past and the present (most were 
written before the war), and many project a redemption that relates them 
to the old mystery plays. 

The new plays required new directors and actors as well 
as new stage designers capable of translating the texts into appropriate 
visual forms. Some of the directors who made these plays famous and who 
in turn became famous by staging them have not been forgotten: Ludwig 
Berger, Jiirgen Fehling, Karl-Heinz Martin, Max Reinhardt, and Ber- 
thold Viertel, among others. The same holds true for the actors who 
became known for their performances in these dramas, for instance, 
Ernst Deutsch (see fig. 29), whose interpretation of Hasenclever's Der 
Sohn set a new standard. Heinrich George, Eugen Klopfer, Fritz Kort- 
ner, Werner Krauss, Gerda Miiller (see fig. 31), Agnes Straub, Alice 
Verden, and many others became personifications of these unconven- 
tional heroes and heroines. The stage designer's role gained new promi- 
nence, since the plays demanded new visual interpretations. Designers 
became something like codirectors, transforming stages into haunting 



Gerda Miiller in Fritz von 
Unruh's Platz, Schauspielhaus, 
Frankfurt am Main (first perfor- 
mance. June 3, 1920; director: 
Gustav Hartung; set designer: 
August Babberger) 

Scene from Oskar Kokoschka's 
Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen, 
Neues Theater, Frankfurt am 
Main (first performance, April 
11, 1920; director: Heinrich 
George; set designer: August 

Scene from Ernst Toller's Die 
Wandlung, Die Tribiine., Berlin 
(first performance, September 
30, 1919; director: Karl-Heinz 
Martin; set designer: Robert 


C^sar Klein 

Germany, 1876-1954 
Sketch for a production of 
Georg Kaiser's Von morgens bis 
mitternachts, Lessingtheater, 
Berlin (first performance, 
April 14, 1921, director: Viktor 

abstract spaces and turning actual places into symbolic visual experi- 
ences. Many of the works of designers such as Cesar Klein, Robert Nep- 
pach, Emil Pirchan, Otto Reigbert, Ludwig Sievert, and Ernst Stern are 
now known only from photographs and sketches (see fig. 34), most of 
which would fit perfectly into any Expressionist art exhibition. 

It was not only in Berlin that these new theatrical experi- 
ences were available. Theaters in Darmstadt, Diisseldorf, Frankfurt, 
Hamburg, Mannheim, and Munich also dared to confront the public with 
controversial plays. The theater critics of the larger newspapers traveled 
to the premieres of these plays and thus encouraged other directors to 
stage new works. That the theater was central to Expressionism becomes 
obvious when one recalls that as early as 1916 Hasenclever had demanded 
the "stage for art, politics, and philosophy!" terms that are at the core of 
the movement. ^^ 




Scene from Der Golem, 

directed by Paul Wegener, 1920 

Scene from Nosferattt, directed 
by F. W. Murnau, 1921 


Untitled, 1919 

Silver print 

10 X 13 in. (25.4x33.0 cm) 

Scene from Das Cabinet des 

Dr. Caligari, directed by 

Robert Wiene, 1919 

M. 82. 287. id 

Davis 3184.4 

A new art form, film, made its appearance shortly before 
the period under discussion and is the only Expressionist theatrical form 
that is still well known since some of the films have been preserved.^'' The 
most famous is Das Cabinet des Doktor Caligari (The cabinet of Doctor 
Caligari, 1919; see fig. 37). Director Robert Wiene, writers Hans Jano- 
witz and Carl Mayer, designers Walter Reimann, Walter Rohrig, and 
Hermann Warm (who were allied with Der Sturm), and the actors Lil 
Dagover, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Werner Krauss, Hans Heinz von Twar- 
dowsky, and Conrad Veidt created an outstanding work of Expressionist 
art in this new medium. The original story was mellowed on the insis- 
tence of the producers, but the painted background decorations, the 
highly stylized performances, the costumes, and the makeup set an unfor- 
gettable mood. The film's graphic quality nearly overshadowed the horror 
story, with its themes of murder, hypnosis, somnambulism, and mental 

Doktor Caligari also broke a pattern that had been estab- 
lished soon after the abolition of censorship in 1918: explicit sex films, 
frequently under the guise of sex education or condemnation of prostitu- 
tion, competed with historical films such as Madame Dubarry or Anne 
Boleijn and with film versions of Hamlet or Othello. Once Wiene had 
proven that Expressionism could be successfully translated into the me- 
dium of film, other directors quickly followed suit. Karl-Heinz Martin 
filmed an adaptation of Kaiser's 1916 play Von morgens bis mitternachts 
(From morning till midnight, 1920), the story of a bank clerk who makes a 
nightmarish attempt to break out of poverty by embezzling money but 
finds that he cannot buy anything of lasting value and finally commits 
suicide. Martin had become famous as a director of Expressionist plays in 
Frankfurt and founded a theater in Berlin, Die Tribiine, with Rudolf 
Leonhard in 1919. There he directed Toller's Die Wandlung, using a black 
stage on which the actors were isolated by bright spotlights. The film ver- 




Frames from Rythmus 21, 

directed by Hans Richter, 1921 

Scene from Die Strasse, 
directed by Ciirl Grime, 1923 


sion of the play made use of this device and, with Neppach's designs, was 
another outstanding example of expressionistic film. In this case it was not 
only the form that was striking but also the typical Expressionist con- 
demnation of materialism and glorification of the poor and downtrodden. 
There were other films that were important to the move- 
ment primarily because they reached a wide public. Genuine (1920)— 
directed by Wiene, based on a script by Mayer, and with designs by 
Klein— serves as a good example. Once again it was the visual form that 
made the film important, since the story is a melodramatic tale of a femme 
fatale. This type of horror fairy tale was typical of the Expressionist imagi- 
nation, as was the second version of Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam 
(The Golem and how he came into the world, 1920; see fig. 35). Based on 
a script by the actor Paul Wegener, who also directed the film and played 
the lead role, Der Golem retold the story of the terrible clay figure in the 
possession of Rabbi Loev in Prague, which in the end is destroyed by the 
innocence of a child. The sculptor Rudolf Belling made the mask for the 
Golem while the architect Hans Poelzig re-created medieval Prague as 
background. The atmosphere is as dense and haunting as that created by 
Albin Grau in another well-known film, Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des 
Grauens (Nosferatu: A symphony of horror, 1921; see fig. 36). F. W. 
Murnau, one of Germany's great directors, used Henrik Galeen's adapta- 
tion of Bram Stoker s Dracula, in which the plague is symbolized by a 
vampire who lives on human blood. Again the story was secondary to the 
visual impact of this most horrible of films. Meidner created expressionis- 
tic designs for the film Die Strasse (The street, 1923; see fig. 39), which 
Carl Grune directed, although they were tamer than the apocalyptic vi- 
sions he had painted around 1912. 


>?, • 




Lino Taut, c. 1911 

Attempts to make abstract films show another interrela- 
tionship among the arts. Viking Eggeling, a Swedish painter, made the 
first such film, Diagonal-Symphonie (Diagonal symphony), in Berlin, 
using animated linear designs. Hans Richter's Rhythmus 21 (Rhythm 21; 
see fig. 38) was also a work of pure abstraction. G. B. R. Hoboken and 
Walter Ruttman experimented with moving planes and colors. A few art- 
ists, among them Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, worked with the same concepts in 
later years. Many other films were part of the movement, but the public 
soon began to prefer more entertaining, less challenging fare. After 1924, 
when political conditions permitted the importation of films from Amer- 
ica, there was no longer a market for expressionistic films. 

The most frustrated artists within the Expressionist 
movement were the architects.-* As prolific as they were in producing 
sketches, models, and theoretical writings in the postwar period, the 
great new tasks and commissions for which they had hoped never materi- 
alized. Germany needed new factory buildings and new apartment 
houses, not Utopian designs. Bruno Taut (see fig. 40) became convinced 
that large groups like the Arbeitsrat or the Novembergruppe, contrary to 
their manifestos, were not conducive to the development of new architec- 
tural forms. At the end of 1919 he initiated an informal exchange of letters 
and drawings among a small number of colleagues to spur the develop- 
ment of a new architecture in order to be ready for new commissions. 
They shared the conviction that architecture, through its visual and spa- 
tial impact, could be a forceful device for social change. Architecture 
needed to be the symbol of the new world, and Taut called on his friends 
to become "imaginary" architects, recognizing that "the bourgeoisie, our 
colleagues included, belittled the revolution by proceeding as if nothing 
had happened."^^ The Glaserne Kette (glass chain), as the group called 
itself, also shared the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk that Kandinsky, 
Gropius, and many others advocated. Wenzel A. Hablik, a member of the 
group, stated: "We need new ideals. One of these is the Gesamtkunst- 
werk, the building. Not the brick box or the minimal living-space box, but 
architecture as a living element comparable to the cosmic laws."^" 




Erich Mendelsohn 

Germany, 1887-1953 

Sketch for the Einstein Tower, 

Potsdam, 1917-21 


Erich Mendelsohn 

Germany, 1887-1953 
Einstein Tower, Postdam, 

Rudolf Steiner with a model for 
the first Goetheanum, 1914 

The architects beheved that the centers of the cities, the 
"crowns of the cities' as they called them, would be templelike structures 
in which all of the arts would be brought together and which the populace 
would regard as the spiritual axes of the cities. Taut and the others recog- 
nized, however, that before such projects could be built, a larger segment 
of society had to be willing to accept the new ideas; "The direct carrier of 
the spiritual forces, molder of the sensitivities of the general public— 
which today is slumbering but tomorrow will awaken— is architecture. 
Only a complete revolution in the spiritual realm will create this new 
architecture. "•" This was stated in 1918, but the expected spiritual revo- 
lution never took place. 

Very few of the buildings erected during this period can 
be called expressionistic. One of the best examples of expressionistic 
architecture was created not by an architect but by the founder of the 
Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Steiner. Between 1913 and 1920 he 
designed a number of ingenious wooden buildings in Dornach, Switzer- 
land, which were to provide a harmonious frame for the activities of his 
society (see fig. 41). After a fire on New Year's Day of 1923 destroyed the 
buildings, they were replaced between 1924 and 1928 by concrete struc- 
tures that were more conservative in form. Another example of expres- 
sionistic architecture that is often cited is the Einstein Tower in Potsdam 
(1917-21; see figs. 42, 43), an observatory designed and built by Erich 
Mendelsohn. Its powerfully curving forms and the imaginative stacking of 
the floors give it the appearance of a monolith. (It was reconstructed after 
the Second World War.) No other large commissions were offered. Gro- 
pius designed a complex triangular structure as a memorial to the workers 
who were killed by government troops in Weimar in March 1920. It is far 
more dynamic than the massive memorial Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 
built in Berlin for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, two Communist 
leaders who were murdered by right-wing militarists. A third memorial 
could be added here, the sculptural arcade built by Max Taut for the 
Wissinger family at the cemetery in Stahnsdorf-Berlin. 

Major commissions that would have demonstrated what 
expressionistic architecture could achieve simply did not come about. 
Only in modern church buildings did expressionistic forms become visi- 
ble. The use of more imaginative forms to enhance the spirit of the faithful 
was more readily accepted by religious organizations. Domenikus Bohm 
built the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Neu-Ulm (1921-26), and 
Otto Bartning built the Church of the Resurrection in Essen (1929-30), 
both of which display an architectural vocabulary that is clearly expres- 
sionistic. After the Second World War, when many churches had to be 
rebuilt, expressionistic forms were revived. Examples include such 
diverse structures as Rainer Disse's Church of the Transfiguration in 
Feldberg (1961-65) and Gottfried Bohm's Pilgrimage Church in Neviges 

As far as interior design is concerned, two well-known 
expressionistic solutions must be mentioned. Poelzig reconstructed the 
interior of a former circus building, transforming it into the largest the- 
ater in Berlin, the Grosses Schauspielhaus (see figs. 44-46), in which Max 
Reinhardt staged some of the great performances of 1919-20. The archi- 


Hans Poelzig 

Germany, 1869-1936 
Grosses Schauspielhaus, 
Berlin, 1919 



tect covered the wide dome structure with stalactite forms and designed a 
color lighting system that could evoke various moods. On a much smaller 
scale the interior of the Tanzkasino (dance casino) Skala in Berlin, 
designed by Belling and the architect Walter Wiirzbach, was dependent 
upon cubistic crystalline forms (see fig. 47). It is typical of the period that 
Behne concluded his critique of this interior with the comment; "Plastic 
conception of space and movement can be splendid when a free will car- 
ries the art. Whether or not that [spirit] can be active in rooms for 
playboys and profiteers remains doubtful."''^ 

One other aspect of architecture within the Expressionist 
movement must be mentioned. It was introduced by Bruno Taut and con- 
cerned the use of color in architecture. The uniformly gray facades of 
urban buildings and the lack of green spaces in the cities contributed to 
the oppressive atmosphere that many of the young Expressionist poets 
had lamented. Blass, Albert Ehrenstein, Heym, Lotz, Stadler, and Franz 
Werfel all inveighed against the inhumanity of the cities and the individ- 
ual's isolation. Ehrenstein asked, "I beg you, destroy the city," and 
Berthold Viertel wrote, "I call you hell of the contaminated—/ City, con- 
structed without soul. ' To alleviate the gloominess, Taut advocated the 
use of bright colors on buildings. When he became city architect of Halle 
(1921-23), he immediately put his idea into practice. The lower parts of 
the city hall were painted fire-engine red, the loggias green, the statues 
and capitals yellow, and the horizontal courses of the seventeenth-century 
building black. Assisted by his office, many houses quickly put on new 
coats of paint, and blue, green, pink, and yellow buildings soon gave the 
inner city a new look. The Barasch department store was decorated with 
multicolored cubistic designs in complete disregard of the underlying fa- 
cade. (Taut's garden city of Falkenberg, near Berlin, was called Kolonie 
Tuschkasten [paint-box colony].) The public was critical, however, and the 
program was discontinued. It is possible that this color experiment 


RudoH Belling 

(iermaiu, 1886-1972 
Walter Wurzbach 

Tiinzkasino skala, Berlin, 1921 




Arnold Schonberg 


Otto Klemperer, Arnold 

Schonberg, Anton Webern, and 

Hermann Scherchen outside 

the Atelier Grill in 

Donaueschingen, Germany, 


strengthened the trend toward the predominant use of white in modern 

Although considered Utopian, some of the architects al- 
hed with the Expressionist movement were highly gifted and found a way 
to prove it after 1924. At that time many large apartment blocks and sat- 
ellite settlements were being built, and these architects designed and 
built some outstanding socially conscious developments. Taut, together 
with Martin Wagner, built the influential Horseshoe settlement in Ber- 
lin, and Gropius created a satellite in Torten, near Dessau. The Uncle 
Tom's Cabin settlement in Berlin was designed by Taut, Hugo Haring, 
and O. R. Salvisberg, and Hans Scharoun developed the plans for Sie- 
mens-Stadt. The settlements integrated practical layouts of apartments, 
kindergarten buildings surrounded by wading pools and sandboxes, 
public libraries, shops, and green spaces (frequently achieved only after 
conflicts with community leaders). The mixture of single dwellings and 
larger apartment blocks and the configuration of the streets broke the 
monotony of the typical city. These projects were based on the dreams of 
the prewar period and the social idealism ol the Expressionist movement. 

Music, an art form that is undoubtedly an important part 
of the movement, nevertheless defies stylistic classification. Neither 
composers nor even specific works can be called "expressionistic, " yet 
Schonberg (see fig. 48) is certainly the most important composer who 
contributed to the movement. The confusion of terms is obvious in a 
statement about the composer by his student. and friend Webern: "His 
feelings create entirely new values of expression; therefore they also need 
new means of expression. "^•'' Schonberg himself struggled with the ter- 
minology. In a lecture before the performance of his musical drama Die 
gliickliche Hand (The fortunate hand, 1909) in Breslau in 1928, he stated: 
"One has called this type of art expressionistic, and I don't know why. It 
never expressed more than what was in it. ... I have said [before], it is 
the art of representing inner processes."'^'* Contemporary critics consid- 
ered Schonberg's music to be pure mathematics, while the composer 
maintained throughout his life that the source of his music was inspiration 
and inner necessity. 

Schonberg's relationship with the Blaue Reiter began in 
January 1911, when Kandinsky referred in a letter to the "similarity of 
their aspirations," which he had felt while listening to Schonberg's music. 
Three of the composer's paintings were included in the first Blaue Reiter 
exhibition, and Kandinsky insisted that Schonberg write an article for the 
almanac. In Uber das Geistige in der Kiinst, Kandinsky wrote: "[Schon- 
berg's] music leads us into a realm where musical experience is a matter 
not of the ear but of the soul alone, and at this point the music of the 
future begins. "^^ 

In addition to Schonberg's contribution, two other arti- 
cles on music were included in the almanac. Thomas von Hartmann wrote 
"Uber die Anarchic in der Musik " (Concerning anarchy in music), 
strongly advocating the freedom to use unusual sounds and sound pat- 
terns as long as they corresponded to a composition's inner necessity. 
(Hartmann had begun working with Kandinsky on the concept of the 
Gesamtkunstwerk in 1909^^ and had written the music for the artist's 



drama Der gelbe Klang. In this play, music, light, solo as well as choral 
voices, and projected colors were combined with actors who portrayed 
types.) Two additional defenses of modern music were included in the 
almanac; Leonid Sabanejew praised Aleksandr Scriabin's opera Prome- 
theus as a ritual mysterium, while N. Kublin propounded Thesen der 
freien Musik (Theses of free music). 

The chronological parallel of Kandinsky's and Schon- 
berg's work during this period is significant. Kandinsky published his 
Uber das Geistige in der Kunst at the same time that Schonberg pub- 
lished his H armonielehre (Structural functions of harmony). While 
Kandinsky was beginning to paint abstract watercolors, Schonberg was 
dissolving traditional tonality and painting his Visions. In 1914 Schonberg 
developed the twelve-tone method (at the same time as Josef Matthias 
Hauer), now known as dodecaphony, while Kandinsky began to work on 
his Punkt und Linie zu Fldche (Point and line to plane). This parallel is the 
exception in the chronology of the Expressionist movement. The date 
when a work was written and its publication date were frequently as far 
apart as the completion of the manuscript for a play and its first perfor- 
mance. In music the same holds true. Only in 1924 were Schonberg's two 
musical dra.msLS—Erwartung (Anticipation), written in 1907, and Die 
gliickliche Hand, composed in 1909— first performed. 

Likewise Berg's opera Wozzeck, based on a dramatic 
fragment by the Romantic playwright Georg Biichner, was begun in 1917 
but was not performed until 1925. It is truly expressionistic in content as 
well as in form and therefore met with the same mixed reaction that so 
many works within the movement encountered. In Prague in 1925, dur- 
ing the third performance, scuffles broke out between the work's admir- 
ers and its detractors. A review by Paul Zscholrich in Deutsche Zeitiing 
exemplifies the bitterness of the attacks on many Expressionist works by 
critics and the public: "the perpetrator of this work counts safely on the 
stupidity and charity of his fellow man, and for the rest relies on God 
Almighty. ... I regard Alban Berg as a musical swindler and a musician 
dangerous to the community." To provide some balance, the publisher of 


Oskar Schlemmer 

Germany. iSSS- 1943 
Sketch for a production of Paul 
Hindemith's opera Mordcr, 
Hoffnung der Frauen, based on 
the play by Oskar Kokoschka. 
Landestheater, Stuttgart (first 
performance, 1921; director: 
Otto Erhardt) 




Mary Wignian performing Song 
of Fate, with Labanotation by 
Ilene Fox 

the opera compiled a booklet entitled "Wozzeck" und die Musikkritiher 
{Wozzeck and the music critics), which included critiques like Zscholrich's 
as well as more serious and positive ones. 

Kokoschka's early plays were transformed into operas by 
Paul Hindemith and Ernst Kfenek (see fig. 50). The latter also wrote 
Zwingburg, a cantata based on a text by Werfel. Many such ties between 
contemporary composers,- poets, and writers existed. The November- 
gruppe's concerts of modern music were organized by Max Butting, who 
published a lecture on contemporary music by Paul Bekker and offered it 
to the public as an introduction.^^ One of the foremost propagators of 
modern music was Hermann Scherchen (see fig. 49), who was a conduc- 
tor, a member of a famous string quartet, and editor of Melos, a journal 
dedicated to modern music. His influence on music could be compared 
with that of Walden on literature and the visual arts. Scherchen was con- 
sidered one of the most gifted interpreters and performers of works by 
the younger composers, including Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Hindemith 
(who rejected the twelve-tone method), Hans Jelinek, Kfenek, Egon 
Wellesz, and Stefan Wolpe. The innovations of those composers who were 
an important part of the Expressionist movement are still apparent in 
today's music. 

The one art form that could be called an offshoot of the 
movement was modern dance, which for a while was called the German 
dance in English-speaking countries.^® Like Expressionism in the visual 
arts it was based on a strong no, in this case to traditional dance and the 
ballet, as well as a forceful yes to freedom for the body to express human 
passions and inner experiences through gesture and rhythm. There had 
been forerunners, such as Isadora Duncan, whose limited gestures and 
positions were based on Greek sculpture and vase paintings; Ruth St. 
Denis, who reinterpreted Indian temple dances; and Sent M'Ahesa, who 
re-created Egyptian forms. There was a growing awareness that the body 
needed to be freed from the unnatural shackles that society had imposed 
on gesture and movement. Gymnastic schools were also instrumental in 
changing the late nineteenth-century ambivalence toward the body. Even 
Steiner's anthroposophical movement developed its own form of dance 

The truly new developments in dance were introduced 
by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, the Swiss music theoretician, and Rudolf La- 
ban de Varaljas (see fig. 52), the Hungarian dancer. Jaques-Dalcroze stud- 
ied the relationship between rhythm and body movement and concluded 
that allowing the body to react freely to music or texts would create new 
experiences for both the dancer and the audience. In 1905 he demon- 
strated his system of Eurythmics for the first time, and in 1911, with the 
help of Wolf Dohrn, he opened a school for rhythmic movement in 
Hellerau, one of Germany's first garden cities and an artistic and intellec- 
tual center. In 1913, in the school's specially built theater, he performed 
Paul Claudels Maria Verkiindigung (The Annunciation), in which rhyth- 
mic choirs performed Gebdrde-Spiele (gesture plays), thus providing a 
visual interpretation of the content and spirit of the play. A later perfor- 
mance of Ghristoph Gluck's Orpheus und Eurydike (Orpheus and Euryd- 
ice) was a significant event in the development of the modern dance the- 




Rudolf Laban 

ater. When the war broke out, Jaques-Dalcroze moved his school to 
Switzerland and later, after the war, to Hamburg. 

One of Jaques-Daleroze's most outstanding students was 
Mary Wigman (see fig. 51), who became the fountainhead of the new 
dance. Nolde called Wigman's attention to the school that Laban had 
opened. Laban rejected the idea that dance was primarily an interpreta- 
tion of music. He taught that ideas, experiences, and emotions could be 
communicated through free body movement. He frequently used only 
gongs, tambourines, and different kinds of drums to set the rhythms for 
his dances. Laban's Gerdusch-Musik (noise music) was closely related to 
the exploration of the arts of Africa and Oceania by the Briicke artists as 
well as by Picasso, Matisse,- and the Fauves. This recognition of the 
expressive force of non-Western arts was an important influence on the 
Expressionist movement. Laban's school in Munich and especially his 
summer courses in Ascona, Switzerland, one of the European centers 
where artists and intellectuals met before and after the war, provided 
Wigman with the impetus to develop "absolute" dances. She participated 
in several of his attempts to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, including his 
famous Sonnenfest: Tanzhymnits in drei Teilen (Sun festival: Dance hymn 
in three parts), based on Otto Borngraeber's poem, which was staged in 
1917. Performed in three acts— at sunset, at night, and at sunrise— the 
work included more conventional music as well as Gerausch-Musik, 
voices reciting poetry, colorful costumes, and solo as well as group dances 
illuminated by torches and bonfires. Laban was one of the great theoreti- 
cians of modern dance, inventing Labanotation (see fig. 51), a system of 
signs capable of recording all of a dancer's movements, thus permitting 
exact repetition. 





A performance of Kurt Joos's 

Der griitw Tisch 

Wigman bad been Laban's assistant before she began her 
career as a solo dancer in 1919. The pubhc was as Uttle prepared for new 
forms of dance as it was for innovations in the other arts. After a difficult 
beginning she had her first great success in Hamburg and from then on 
was acknowledged as Germany's outstanding dancer. A few years later 
she opened her own dance school in Dresden and assembled a group of 
extraordinarily gifted students with whom she performed all over Ger- 
many with great success. Her Sieben Tdnze des Lebens (Seven dances of 
life) and many of her other choreographed solo and group dances set a 
standard few later dancers could sustain. 

Among the members of Wigman s first troupe was Gret 
Palucca, who after an impressive career opened a school in Dresden, 
which is still active today. Other famous dancers who trained with 
Wigman were Yvonne Georgi; Hanya Holm, who opened a Wigman 
school in New York; Harald Kreutzberg; Vera Skoronel; Max Terpis; 
Berthe Triimpy; and Kurt Joos, whose dance drama Der griine Tisch (The 
green table; see fig. 53), first performed in 1932, has remained one of the 
enduring Expressionist dances. All of these artists left their mark on mod- 
ern dance, taking leading positions in theater companies or forming their 
own schools and groups. 

The new dance forms inspired many of the visual artists 
just as some of their works had influenced the gesture patterns of the 
dancers. Kandinsky used one of Palucca's dances as a model in his Punkt 
und Linie zu Fldche (see fig. 54). Modern dance forms also appeared in 
the works of Barlach, Kirchner, Klee, Nolde, and Pechstein, among oth- 
ers. Poets too tried to capture the spirit of the new dance forms in their 
lyrics, among them Ivan Goll, Adolf von Hatzfeld, Walter Rheiner, and 
Alfred Wolfenstein. Modern dancers appear in several novels, among 
which Alfred Doblin's and Max Krell's works are the best known. A great 
number of books on modern dance and dancers were published. Fritz and 
Hanna Winther wrote Der heilige Tanz (The holy dance), and the Expres- 
sionist poet Rudolf Adrian Dietrich rhapsodized in his Tanzbiich (Dance 
book): "Dance is the bodily expression of the spiritual world. It is the 
physical consciousness of the religious sphere in which cosmic vibrations 

gam expression 




Illustrations from Wassily 
Kandinsky, Punkt itnd Linie ; 
Fldche, 1926 

It is significant that many of the terms and concepts typical of the Expres- 
sionist movement defy translation. This is due not only to the inventive 
approach to language adopted by writers and poets but also to the use of 
vague, general terms that had become commonly accepted even though 
they lacked precise meaning. The term Weltanschauung (discredited 
since the Nazis used it for their inhumane doctrines) could be related to 
ideology, but in Germany it denoted something different. It contained a 
smattering of Henri Bergson's antimechanistic and spiritualistic meta- 
physics, a little of Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus spake 
Zarathustra), a bit of Georg Simmel's metaphysics of life, and many other 
fragments. This is not to imply that the philosophical discussions among 
the Expressionists were not based on careful study; such fragmentation 
was typical of the conversational tone of the period. 

Zeitgeist (spirit of the times), a term frequently invoked 
by writers and critics, presents similar problems. It was regarded not as 
something that could be identified by means of a careful historical or so- 
ciological analysis, but as a semi-independent power that forced artists 
and society to adopt a specific direction in work and in life. Even more 
complex is the word Geist (spirit), which was constantly used by artists 
within the movement.^" Literally it means spirit, but it can also mean 
intellect; in most cases, however, it was used in a pantheistic and thus 
mystical religious way. Only the context can reveal the writer's intent. 
The term Seele (soul) took on a broader meaning; it not only embraced 
man's spiritual aspect but was also attributed to the nation, to flowers, 
and to animals and was even used to refer to disembodied emotions. 

Other terms that are likely to pose problems for the En- 
glish-speaking public include sozial (social) and Sozialismus (socialism). 
The latter immediately conjures up a political concept frequently asso- 
ciated with communism. For most Germans it did not hold this meaning. 
They related the term to the only political party standing in opposition to 
William us regime and thus gave it very positive connotations. Sozial, 
however, refers to a vague conglomerate of ideas going back to the 1848 
revolution, to August Bebel and Ferdinand Lasalle, and to the idealism of 
Marx's Communist Manifesto. Except for schooled party members, 
people in general used the term to describe a government policy of 
protecting the individual from economic exploitation and assisting the un- 
fortunate while at the same time defending a nearly unlimited freedom. 
The vagueness of these concepts allowed many Expressionists to wel- 
come, for a while at least, the Russian Revolution as the solution to the 
problems of the modern world. This belief faded rather quickly once fur- 
ther news was received from Russia, but it was also obvious that the 
socialist-governed Weimar Republic was not the embodiment of the 
movement's Utopian ideals. 

The list of words that defy accurate translation is a long 
one and may even include the term Feuilleton, which refers to a specific 
column in German newspapers. The lower quarter of the second page was 
separated from the news above and was used for a variety of contributions. 
Some newspapers used it to print novels in installments, but most 
devoted this area to cultural news: reviews of books, plays, concerts, art 
exhibitions, and dance performances. The writers and especially the edi- 

34 Guenther 

tors of these columns frequently exerted great influence on the public by 
either praising or condemning modern art. Some of the critics became 
famous, and their articles were read all over Germany, mainly in the 
coffeehouses where out-of-town and foreign newspapers were available. 
Today these articles can be regarded as cultural barometers of the period 
as long as one keeps the writer's bias in mind. 

The frustrating vagueness of so many terms parallels the 
multiplicity of styles that the Expressionist artists developed. No strict 
definition for Expressionism or even for expressionistic can be given. 
Viewing the imposing number and variety of graphic works in the Rifkind 
Study Center within the framework of the cultural history of the Expres- 
sionist movement makes each work an eloquent testimony to its strength, 
vitality, and artistic brilliance. Each work is a profession as well as a 
confession and, as such, must be seen in context. 

Why did such a multifarious movement based on such 
strong emotions and beliefs die? Having noted the vagueness of such 
terms, one would not wish to lay the blame on Weltanschauung or Zeit- 
geist. What has frequently been asserted, namely that the Nazis killed 
the Expressionist movement, is incorrect. It is true that they declared 
this art to be decadent and degenerate, confiscated it from museums and 
galleries, suppressed and burned books, prohibited artists from exhibit- 
ing and, yes, even from working. But at the time of the Nazi onslaught of 
1936-37, the Expressionist movement was already dead. It is possible to 
state that the decline had already begun in 1919, when the movement 
seemed to have attained its greatest strength. The large number of youn- 
ger artists who came back from the war or who had been too young to 
serve formed a second wave of Expressionism, but only a few were truly 
innovative and added new accomplishments to the movement. They 
inherited the forms and motivations of the previous generation; thus 
many of their works were basically variations on those created before the 
war. Kasimir Edschmid commented on this phenomenon: "What for- 
merly appeared as a brave gesture is today commonplace. The advance of 
yesterday is the allure of today and the yawn of tomorrow. "*i 

The abundance of new works produced after the First 
World War created a new art market to which publishers and gallery and 
theater owners responded, unleashing a flood of new journals, galleries, 
and theaters. The number of books with original graphics, portfolios of 
prints, and special editions of poetry collections grew daily. One example 
speaks for itself. The industrialist Hugo Stinnes ordered his art dealer to 
acquire one print from each new edition. Within a short time his collec- 
tion numbered in the thousands. That sector of society against which the 
Expressionists had fought, the bourgeoisie, was now the public that 
bought their works, while the majority of the people, the group the artists 
had tried to reach, rejected them as before. 

The hope that the new republic would effect a trans- 
formation of society in which the artists would be able to participate soon 
grew dim. It was not the fault of the government alone; a true inner revo- 
lution had never taken place. The economic hardships caused by the war 
did not end quickly, since the reparations demanded by the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles prevented the reconstruction of a sound economy. There were 

35 Guenther 

strikes, unrest, and bitter, violent armed clashes between the political left 
and right. The still-dominant bourgeoisie demanded a return to normalcy 
and calm, becoming impatient with the emotional and strident Expres- 
sionist artists. The terrible inflation of 1923-24 wiped out the savings of 
the middle class and impoverished the nation yet provided enormous 
profits for some speculators. By the time the currency was reordered, all 
the vitality of the Expressionist movement had dried up. The artists of the 
founding generation retained their styles but mellowed their colors and 
weakened their forms; the writers changed themes, subjects, and style. 
The second generation turned to a kind of neorealism and frequently even 
to sentimentality in descriptions of everyday life. Galleries began to close; 
journals were discontinued; publishers looked for a different type of lit- 
erature, many giving up publishing altogether; and theaters dropped con- 
troversial plays from their repertoires. 

Some of the critics had foreseen such a development and 
had pronounced Expressionism dead or at least dying as early as 1919 or 
1920. Wilhelm Hausenstein, Rudolf Kayser, Wilhelm Worringer (consid- 
ered the most important theorist of Expressionism after the 1908 publica- 
tion of his book Abstraktion unci Einfiihhing [Abstraction and empathy]), 
and others had recognized that the proclaimed spiritual, intellectual, and 
political aims of the movement had become questionable and certainly 
unattainable. Schickele convincingly stated what had brought the move- 
ment about: "We were unhappy in the twilight of our era: we wanted out 
of a world that was making clever business deals with both heart and 
mind." And: "On the ninth of November [1918, the beginning of the revo- 
lution], I felt I was, I might almost say, tangibly in heaven. I felt that from 
now on I should never be alone, never despair of myself or others."^^ 

In 1920 Goll published an obituary of the Expressionist 
movement in the Yugoslavian journal Zenit: 

What is being rumored, deridinghj laughed at, antici- 
pated everywhere, proves itself: again, an art dies of the 
times that betray it. Whether it is the fault of the arts or 
of the times is inconsequential. . . . Expressionism was 
not the name of an artistic form but that of a conviction. 
[It was] probably more a sense of a ivorld view than the 
object of an artistic necessity. . . . 

Therefore, demand, manifesto, appeal, accusation, in- 
cantation, ecstasy, struggle, man screams, we are, to 
each other, pathos. Who was not a part of it? All took 
part. . . . 

Not a single Expressionist was a reactionary. Not a single 
one was not against the war. Not a single one did not 
believe in brotherhood and solidarity. Also among the 
painters. Proof coiiviction. And: Expressionism was a 
beautiful, good, great thing. Solidarity of the spiritual 
[Geistigen]. Parade of the truthful. The result is, un- 
fortunately and through no fault of the Expressionists, 
the German republic of iq2o.*^ 



This short summary of the development of the various arts within the 
Expressionist movement leaves one important question: While other 
artistic movements became international in scope, why was the Expres- 
sionist movement confined basically to Germany? The visual artists were 
certainly influenced by and aware of the works of Gauguin, van Gogh, the 
Cubists, and the Fauves; Munch left indelible marks, especially on the 
early graphic works; the Orphism of Delaunay was greatly admired; Ce- 
zanne and Picasso were thoroughly studied, as were the Russian Con- 
structivists. In short, German artists were aware of artistic movements 
beyond their borders, but German art remained unappreciated for a long 
time in France, England, and the United States. Neither the poetry nor 
the theater nor the films achieved an international reputation until much 
later on. There seems to be only one possible answer. The emotional 
intensity, the frequently too honest and depressing subject matter, the 
strong social undertones, the spiritual ties to a pantheistic world view, the 
inherent religious fervor, and the harsh condemnation of materialism 
were understandable only within the historical context of Germany. No 
other country experienced the violent generational conflict that Germany 
did; none so fervently embraced the belief that the arts could and should 
change man and society. 

Note: All translations by the author. This essay was made possible by an 
appointment as scholar in residence by the Robert Gore Rifkind Founda- 
tion and by a visiting senior fellowship to the Center for Advanced Study 
in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Expres- 
sions of gratitude are also due to the Akademie der Kiinste, Berlin; the 
Sdchsische Landesbibliothek, Dresden; the Deutsche Bibliothek, Leipzig; 
the Deutsches Literatur-Archiv, Marbach; and to the numerous friends 
who shared their knowledge freely. 




Lothar Schreyer 

Germany, 1886-1966 

Gehebte I Mutter, e. 1920 

(Lover / mother) 

Woodcut with pochoir 

S'/is X I2yi6 in. (21.5 .\ 30.9 cm) 

From Lothar Schreyer, 

Kreuzigung: Spielgang Werk vii 

Davis 2602.3 




1 Wolfgang Zorn, ed., Handbuch 
der deutschen Wirtschafis- und 
Sozialgeschichte , vol. 2, Das 19. 
und 20. ] ahrhundert (Stuttgart: 
Ernst Klett Verlag, 1976), p. 22. 

2 See Lothar-Giinther Buchheim, 
Die Kitnstlergemeinschaft Briicke 
{Feldafing: Buchheim Verlag, 
1956); Georg Reinhardt, Die 

friihe Briicke: Beitrdge zur Ge- 
schichte und zum Werk der 
Dresdner Kiinstlergruppe Briicke 
derjahre igo^-igo8, Briicke- 
Archiv, no. 9/10 (Berlin: Briicke- 
Archiv, 1978); Hans Bolliger and 
E. W. Kornfeld, Ausstellung 
Kiinstlergruppe BrUcke: Jahres- 
mappen. igo6-igi2 (Bern; 
Klipstein & Kornfeld. 1958). 

3 Reinhardt, DiefrUhe Briicke, 
pp. 75, 129-31. 

4 See Kurt Hiller, Die Weisheit der 
iMngeniveile: Eine Zeit- und 
Streitschrift, 2 vols. (Leipzig: 
Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1913); Juliane 
Habereder, Kurt Hiller und der 
Uterarische Aktivismus: Zur 
Geistesgeschichte des politischen 
Dichters in denfriihen zwanziger 
Jahren (Frankfurt and Bern; 
Lang, 19S1); Wolfgang Rothe, 
ed., Der Aktivismus, 1925-1920 
(Munich: DeutscherTaschenbuch 
Verlag. 1969). 

5 Johannes R. Becher, "Uber Jakob 
\an Hoddis," in Paul Raabe, ed., 
Expressionismus: Aufzeich- 
nungen und Erinnerungen der 
Zeitgenossen (Olten, 1965), pp. 

6 Kurt Pinthus, ed., Mensch- 
heitsddmmerung: Symphonic 
jiingster Dichtung (Berlin: Ernst 
Rowohlt, 1920). 

7 See Ludwig Rubiner, ed., 
Kameraden der Menschheit: 
Dichtungen zur Weltrevolution: 
Eine Sfl?7im/ung (Potsdam: Gustav 
Kiepenheuer Verlag, 1919); Paul 
Raabe, Die Zeitschriften und 
Sammlungen des literarischcn 
Expressionismus (Stuttgart; J. B. 
Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhand- 
lung, 1964); idem. Die Autoren 
und Biicher des literarischcn 
Expressionismus (Stuttgart: J. B. 
Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhand- 
lung. 1985). 

8 See Will Grohmann, Wassily 
Kandinsky: Leben und Werk, 2d 
ed. (Cologne: M. DuMont 
Schauberg, 1961). 

9 See Jelena Hahl-Koch, ed., Ar- 
nold Schonberg— Wassily Kandin- 
sky: Briefe, Bilder und Doku- 
mente einer aussergewohnlichen 
Begegnung (Salzburg and Vienna: 
Residenz Verlag, 1980). 

10 See Rosel Golleck, Der blaue 
Reiter im Lenbachhaus Mixnchen: 
Begegnungen und Wandlungen, 
1896-J914 {Munich: Prestel- 
Verlag, 1982); and Wassily 
Kandinsky and Franz Marc, eds., 
Der blaue Reiter (Munich; R. 
Piper & Co., 1912). There is also a 
reprint of the almanac, edited by 
Klaus Lankheit (Munich: R. Piper 
& Co., 1965), which has also been 
published in an English -language 
edition: The Blue Rider Almanac, 
Documents ofTwentieth-Centurv' 
Art (New York: Viking. 1974). 

11 Golleck, Der blaue Reiter, p. 274. 

12 Franz Marc, "Die 'Wilden' 
Deutschlands," in Kandinsky and 
Marc, Der blaue Reiter. p. 5. 

13 Wassily Kandinsky, Uber das 
Geistige in der Kunst (Munich: 
R. Piper & Co., 1912). Published 
in English as The Art of Spiritual 
Harmony, trans. Michael T. 
Sadler (London and Boston, 

14 Manfred Schlosser, ed.. 
Arbeit srat fur Kunst, Berlin, 
igi8-ig2i, exh. cat. (Berlin: 
Akademie der Ktinste, 1980), 
pp. 88-89. S^^ ^Iso Eberhard 
Steneberg, Arbeitsratfiir Kunst. 
Berlin. igi8-ig2i (Diisseldorf: 
Edition Marzona, 1987). 

15 Schlosser, Arbeitsrat, pp. 88-S9. 

16 Ibid. 

17 Ibid., see pp. 10-26. 

18 See Helga KHemann, Die 
Novembergruppe (Berlin: 
Gebriider Mann Verlag, 1969); 
Die Novembergruppe: Teil 1, Die 
Maler, Tendenzen der Zwanziger 
Jahre, exh. cat. (Berlin: Kunstamt 
Wedding, 1977). 

19 Will Grohmann, "Zehn Jahre 
Novembergruppe," Kunst der 
Zeit ^, no. 1/3(1928): 1. 

20 Fritz Loffler, Emilio Bertonati, 
and Joachim Heusinger von 
Waldegg, Dresdner Sezession, 
1919-192.3, exh. cat. (Milan and 
Munich: Galleria del Levante, 
1977), unpaginated; see also Fritz 
Loffler, "Die Dresdner Sezes- 
sion, Gruppe 1919: 1919-1925," 
in Kunst im Aufbruch: Dresden, 

igiS-ig^^, exh. cat. (Dresden: 
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen 
Dresden, Gemaldegalerie Neue 
Meister, 1981), p. 39ff. ; Conrad 
FelixmUller: Werke und Doku- 
mente, exh. cat. (Nuremberg: 
Archiv fiir bildende Kunst, 
Germanisches Nationalmuseum. 

21 Loffler et al., Dresdner Sezes- 
sion, unpaginated. 

22 Madalena M. Moeller, Der 
Sonderbund: Seine Voraus- 
setzungen undAnfdnge in Diissel- 
dorf (Cologne: Rhe in land- Verlag, 
1984), p. 54. See also Giinter 
Aust, "Die Ausstellung des 
Sonderbundes 1912 in Koln," in 
Wallraf-Richartz J ahrbiich, vol. 
23 (Cologne: M. DuMont 
Schauberg, 1961). 

23 See Aurel Bongers, Joachim 
Heusinger von Waldegg, and 
Dierk Stemmler, eds.. Die 
rheinischen Expressionisten: 
August Macke und seine 
Maleifreunde, exh. cat. 
(Recklinghausen: Verlag Aurel 
Bongers, 1979); Ulrich Krempel, 
ed., AmAnfang: Dasjunge 
Rhe inland: Zur Kunst- und 
Zeitgeschichte . igi8-ig45. exh. 
cat. (Diisseldorf: Claasen. 1985). 

24 See Hans M. Wingler, Das 
Bauhaus {Bramsche: Gebriider 
Rasch; Cologne: M, DuMont 
Schauberg, 1962). There is also a 
revised and enlarged English- 
language edition (Cambridge: 
MIT Press, 1969). 

25 See Horst Denkler, Drama des 
Expressionismus: Programm, 
Spieltext, Theater. 2d. ed,, rev. 
(Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1979); 
Giinther Riihle, Theater fiir die 
Republik, igiJ-iQSS- Im Spiegel 
der Kritik (Frankfurt: S. Fischer, 
1967); Klaus Siebenhaar, 
"Gesellschaftskritik, Verande- 
rungspostulat und Utopismus im 
Expressionistischen Drama." 
Ph.D. diss., Freie Universitat, 
Berlin, 1979; Annalisa Viviani, 
Das Drama des Expressionismus: 
Kommentar zu einer Epoche (Mu- 
nich: Winkler, 1970); Denis 
Bablet and Jean Jacquot, eds., 
L'expressionisme dans le theatre 
europeen (Paris: Editions du Cen- 
tre National de la Recherche 
Scientifique, 1971)- 

26 Walther Hasenclever, "Das 
Theater von Morgen, " Die Schau- 
biihne, no. 12 (1916): 501. 

27 See Lotte Eisner, The Haunted 
Screen: Expressionism in the Ger- 
man Cinema and the Influence of 
Max Reinhardt (Berkeley and Los 
Angeles: University of California 
Press. 1969); Siegfried Kracauer, 
From Caligari to Hitler: A Psy- 
chological History of the German 
Fi/m (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton 
University Press, 1947); Rudolf 
Kurtz, Expressionismus und Film 
(Berlin: Verlag der Lichtbild- 
biihne. 1926; reprint, Zurich. 
1965); Thomas G. Plummer et al. , 
eds. , Film and Politics in the Wei- 
mar Republic (New York and Lon- 
don: Holmes & Meier, n.d.); 
Jerzy Toepitz, Geschichte des 
Films. 1S95-192S (Munich: 
Rogener & Bernhard, 1975)- 

28 See Wolfgang Pehnt, Expres- 
sionistische Architektur (Stutt- 
gart: Gerd Hatje, 1973); D. 
Sharp, Modern Architecture and 
Expressionism (London: Long- 
mans, 1966); Barbara Miller 
Lane, Architecture and Politics in 
Germany. 1918-19^5 (Cam- 
bridge: Harvard University Press, 
1968); Barbara Volkmann. ed., 
Bruno Taut, 1880- ig38, exh. 
cat. (Berlin: Akademie der 
Kiinste, 1980). 

29 Bruno Taut, introduction to 
Gldserne Kette (1919), 

30 Wenzel A. Hablik, "Utopie und 
Wirklichkeit," reprinted in 
Harald Szeeman, ed,, Der Hang 
zum Gesamtkunstwerk: Euro- 
pdische Utopien sett 1800, exh. 
cat. (Aarau: Sauerlander, 1983), 
p. 368; see also Wolfgang 
Reschke, Wenzel Hablik, 
i88i-ig23 (Miinsterdorf: Hansen 
&: Hansen, 1981). 

31 Bruno Taut, Ein Architektur- 
Program. Flugschriften des 
Arbeitsrates Berhn, reprinted in 
Schlosser, Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, 
p. 86. 

32 Adolph Behne, "Berlin: Bauten." 
Sozialistische Monatshefte 27 
(February 14, 1921): 165-66. 

33 W. Hoffmann, "Beziehungen 
zwischen Malerei und Musik," in 
Schonberg— Weber n— Berg: 
Bilder— Partituren—Dokumente, 
exh. cat. (Vienna: Museum des 
20. Jahrhunderts, 1969), p. 117. 

34 Hahl-Koch, Arnold Schonberg— 
Wassily Kandinsky, p. 133. 

35 Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning 
the Spiritual in Art, trans. 

Michael T. Sadler (1914; reprint. 
New York: Dover, 1977), p. 17. 

36 Szeemann, Der Hang zum 
Gesamtkunstwerk, pp. 269-78. 

37 See H. H. Stuckenschmidt, 
"Musik und Musiker in der 
Novembergruppe," Der Anbruch 
6 (October 1928): 293-95; Heinz 
Tiessen, Zur Geschichte der 
jiingsten Musik. 1913-192S: 
Prohlemc und Entwicklungen 
(Mainz: Melos, 1928). 

38 See Emile Jacjues-Dalcroze, 
Rhythmik. Theorie und Praxis der 
korperlich musikalischen 
Erziehung (Basel, 1926); Rudolf 
Laban, Die Welt des Tdnzers: 
Fiinf Gedankenreihen (Stuttgart; 
Walter Seifert, 1920); idem. 
Gymnastik und Tanz (Oldenburg: 
G. Stalling. 1926); Walter Sorell, 
Der Tanz als Spiegel der Zeit: 
Eine Kulturgeschichte des Tanzes 
(Wilhelmshaven: Heinrichshofen, 
1985); idem. The Mary Wig77ian 
Book (Middletown, Conn.: Wes- 
leyan University Press, 1973); 
Rudolf Adrian Dietrich, Das 
Tanzbuch (Regensburg: Franz 
Ludwig Habbel, 1921); Fritz 
Bohme, Der Tanz der Zukunft 
(Munich: Delphin-Verlag, 1926); 
Egon Vietta, Der Tanz: Eine 
kleinc Mctaphysik (Frankfurt: 
Societats Verlag, 1938); Rudolf 
Bach, Mary-Wigman-Werk 
(Dresden: Kaemmerer, 1933). 

39 Dietrich, Tanzbuch, p. 4. See also 
Fritz Winther and Hanna Win- 
ther, Der heilige Ta/iz (Rudolf- 
stadt: Greifenverlag, 1923). 

40 See the discussion in Peg Weiss. 
Kandinsky in Munich: The 
Formative J ugendstil Years 
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Uni- 
versit\' Press, 1979) 

41 Kasimir Edschmid. "Stand des 
Expressionismus," lecture at 
opening ot the first German 
E.xpressionist art exhibition in 
Darmstadt, June 10, 1920, re- 
printed in Sechzigjahre 
Darmstddtcr Sezession. exh, cat. 
(Darmstadt: Neue Darmstadter 
Sezession. 1979), p. 18. 

42 Rene Schickele, Der Neunte 
November, mit einem Nachwort 
und einem Anhang, 5th ed. 
(Berlin: Erich Reiss, 1919). 

43 Ivan Goll, "Der Expressionismus 
stirbt," Zenit: Internationalna 
revija za umetnost i kultura, no. 8 
(1920): 8-9. 

The Revival 
of Printmaking 
in Germany 

Ida Katherine Bigby 


Franz Marc 

Germany, 1880—1916 

Gebitrt der Pferde , 1913 

(The birth of horses) 

Color woodcut 

8'/" X 5% in. (21.5 X 14.5 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 204 

Davis 1834 


Printmaking was central to the German Expressionist artists' quest for 
the bold, emotion-laden forms that would convey their intense engage- 
ment with the temporal and spiritual circumstances of their lives. Ernst 
Ludwig Kirchner testified to this sense of the significance of printmaking 
when he wrote, "Nowhere does one come to know an artist better than in 
his prints ."1 In their effort to communicate powerful emotions with im- 
mediacy, the Expressionists cultivated a direct, energetic engagement 
with their materials. This in turn led to experimentation with 
printmaking techniques. In their search for condensed, abstract equiv- 
alents for highly charged emotional and metaphysical states, printmaking 
was a constant companion. The first group of Expressionist artists, the 
Briicke (bridge), brought about a renaissance in German printmaking. 

The appeal of the graphic media lay in part in their ability 
to satisfy the artists' urge to record subjective visions quickly, with the 
physical and emotional directness of drawing. Each medium was distin- 
guished by inherent material qualities and techniques the artists found 
conducive to the development of a new, abstract language. The woodcut 
in particular demanded a degree of simplification that they believed 
resulted in the revelation of profound emotional states. 

The woodcut had had a long, revered history in Ger- 
many, which surrounded it with a special aura. In a 1920 article the art 
historian Wilhelm R. Valentiner explained the historical sanction and af- 
firmation of cultural continuity that it offered: 

From the time of the oldest timherwork architecture of 
the Germans, from the wooden sculpture of the German 
Gothic and Renaissance, from the art of the woodcut of 
DiXrers time, the German artist has preferred the use of 
wood for the expression of his ideas in architecture, 
sculpture, and printmaking. It is as if the structure of the 
rough trunk, with its knotty, misshapen forin that never- 
theless submits to the passionate carving knife, were 
especially suited to the half-barbaric, half -sentimental, 
self-sacrificing German character.^ 

The Expressionists regarded frank personal expression as 
the key authenticating characteristic of contemporary art. They did not 
promote and refine the old, cherished technical values of connoisseurship 
and therefore depended on a new kind of collector. Representative of this 
new generation was the Hamburg collector Gustav Schiefler.^ He per- 
ceived the essence of the new sensibility and was especially attracted to 
print collecting: "One feels the pulse of an artist when one contemplates 
his graphic work . . . , " he wrote. "The needle, the crayon, the cutting 
knife are simpler and therefore more penetrating means of expression 
than brush and color."^ Schiefler befriended the artists, collected their 
work, and wrote monographs on the prints of Kirchner, Edvard Munch, 
and Emil Nolde. 

The belief that printmaking could offer a more intimate 
insight into the creative process was shared by artists and critics. Paul 
Fechter, one of the first critics to recognize Expressionism, wrote in an 
article on Max Pechstein's prints: "Whoever wants to experience the in- 



ner many-sidedness of the human, the singular characteristics of this 
humanity in relation to things and men, the intimate life and the identity 
between being and creation, must take up prints."^ 

These artists and critics also assumed that the abstract 
language of printmaking revealed truths inaccessible to traditional real- 
ism. The art critic Emil Alphons Rheinhardt encouraged readers to take 
the time to learn the new "cipher language" before dismissing Expres- 
sionism. Therein, he wrote, the viewer could find not a distancing from 
nature, but the direct experience of its underlying forces.'' 

The authenticity and profundity valued by Schiefler and 
the critics was neither immediately nor generally appreciated. Schiefler 
later recalled some of the early negative responses: "The mandarins of the 
Dresden print room would like to discern here only uncouthness and 
crudeness. ... It was perhaps lucky not to have been understood there. 
... So no patronage built barriers to their development. Free and bold 
they could reach into the world of experience and live life to the fullest.'"'' 

This repudiation on the part of the "mandarins" was 
predictable. What was unexpected was another response reported by 
Schiefler, that of Edvard Munch when he first saw Karl Schmidt- 
Rottluff's prints. "Edvard Munch was at my place when the first shipment 
of his prints arrived. He said: 'The Lord protect us! Difficult times are 
ahead." Although this anecdote is often quoted, Munch's second thoughts 
are usually omitted, perhaps to preserve the dramatic effect of his initial 
response. "The following day he corrected himself: there must be some- 
thing therein; he had had to think about it the whole night."^ 

Even among friends of the artists many were disturbed 
by the new, distorted forms. A good example is Hans Fehr, a former stu- 
dent of Nolde and a subscriber to the initial Briicke portfolio. In a letter to 
Nolde, Fehr expressed his concern about the "recklessness" and "licen- 
tiousness of the prints included therein. Fehr later published Nolde's 
response, which defined and defended the new sensibility: 

Every true artist creates new values, new beauty. . . . 
When you notice anarchy, recklessness, or licentiousness 
in works of contemporary art, when you notice crass 
coarseness and brutality, then occupy yourself long and 
painstakingly precisely with these works, and you will 
suddenly recognize how the seeming recklessness trans- 
forms itself into freedom, the coarseness into high refine- 
ments. Harmless pictures are seldom worth anything.^ 

In their quest for new values the Expressionists departed 
from conventional printmaking techniques as the urge for personal ex- 
pression took precedence over the technical refinements savored by con- 
noisseurs. Among the Briicke artists' innovations was their insistence on 
printingbyhand. Kirchner explained the importance of this: "Where Kirch- 
ner does his own printing, he is in a position to utilize fully all technical 
possibilities. Only the artist who has a love and an aptitude for craftsman- 
ship should make prints; only when the artist truly prints himself does the 
work earn the name original print. "^Techstein too expressed faith in the 
authenticating power of craftsmanship: "What a variety of shapes exists in 




Erich Meckel 

Germany, 18S3-1970 

Plahat der Eroffmings- 

au.tstellung der Kunsthandlung 

C. G. Oncken m Lappan, 

Oldenburg, 1909 

(Poster for opening exhibition of 

the C. G. Oncken art gallery- in 

Lappan, Oldenburg) 


,33'/i6 X 23yiB in. (84.0 x 

159.8 cm) 

L.84.5. 19; lent by the Robert 

Gore Rifkind Collection, 

Beverly Hills, California 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Titelholzschnitt. 1910 

(Title woodcut) 


6^16 X 4V\h in. (16.7 X 10.9 cm) 

From KG Briicke. catalogue of 

exhibition at Galerie Arnold, 

Dresden, 1910 

M. 82.288.374 a 

Davis 1024 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Pantomime von W. S. 

Guttmann, 1912 

(Pantomime by W. S. 



3^16 X 4Va in. (8.5 X 1 1. 1 cm) 

M. 82.288.80 

Davis 1029 

E I N L A D U N G 












10-2, 4-fl WERKT. 



the lithograph when one prepares the stone for printing, etches it, and 
prints oneself. Above all, one must do the printing oneself!"!* 

Printmaking played many roles in the Expressionist 
movement. Before the First World War it had a decisive influence on the 
development of the Expressionists' new, abstract language. After the war 
individual prints and prints published in portfolios and Expressionist 
journals and as posters not only continued to reflect a stylistic evolution 
but also became vehicles for the artists' new politicized stance. In 
presenting a general discussion of Expressionist prints, the balance of this 
essay addresses four subjects: the renaissance of printmaking in Germany, 
the role of printmaking in the work of individual Expressionists, assess- 
ments by the artists' contemporaries, and the repercussions of their work 
on print collecting. 

The Expressionist Revival of Printmaking 

Influenced b\- Paul Gauguin, Munch, Felix Vallotton, the Jugendstil art- 
ists, and Japanese printmakers, the first generation of Expressionists 
broke with the nineteenth-century practice of using printmaking as a 
vehicle for illustration and revived it as an independent artistic pursuit. 
The art historian Hans Tietze paid tribute to their accomplishment in an 
early book on German prints, stating that they had "returned to German 
printmaking its long-silent voice. . . . Original printmaking established 
itself as having equal right beside the proud sister, painting; [painting] 
learned much from the newly resurrected medium.'''^ 

The first to explore new printmaking techniques were 
the artists of the Briicke. One of its founders, Schmidt-Rottluff, em- 
phasized the group's spirit of experimentation in a letter inviting Nolde to 
join. He wrote, "One of the aims of the Briicke is to attract all revolution- 
ary elements."'^ In his memoirs Schiefler described the total dedication 
to art that prevailed in the group's quarters: 

In the days that I spent in Dresden in the middle of 
December ... 7 was together with Kirchner and Heckel a 
great deal. . . . Here they led a singular bohemian life, 
liberated from any ordering of daytimes and mealtimes; 
when they had the impulse they ivorked the whole night 
through and slept through the morning. I was convinced 
that they not infrequently lived on coffee, cake, and ciga- 
rettes. . . . When the lamps were lit, we sat on benches 
and crouched over the bat iked fabrics that were spread 
around the low table and looked at the portfolios with 
hand drawings and printed sheets; all the time strange, 
grotesque sculptures peered over our shoulders. The two 
shoived me how they etched their lithographs, printed 
their etchings, and Kirchner drew two . . . portraits of 
me with the drypoint needle.^* 

The Briicke artists soon abandoned the decorative values 
of the Japanese woodcut, Vallotton, and the Jugendstil in deference to the 
expression discovered in printmaking processes and materials. In an early 
article on Nolde's prints, the art historian Alois Schardt described this 






Erich Heckel 

Germany. 1883-1970 
Die Ballade vom Zttchthaus zu 
Reading von Oskar Wilde mit 
Holzschnitten von E. Heckel, 


(The Ballad of Reading Gaol by 

Oscar Wilde with woodcuts by 

E. Heckel) 


^ViR X 5'yi6 in. (8.8 \ 14.8 cm) 

From portfolio Die Ballade vom 

Zuchthaus zu Reading 

M. 82. 288.87 1 

Davis 1010.1 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Stiftsfi'dulein i7n Garten, 1912 
(Canoness in the garden) 

4% X 3'/8 in. (11.8 X 8.0 cm) 
From Alfred Doblin, Das 
Stiftsfrdtdein und der Tod 
83.1.110 d 
Davis 1453.4 

new source of inspiration: "The same sense of the. . . individuaHty and the 
nature-given force of a material that led Nolde in his etchings to allow the 
etching acid, above all, to work, made him use in his woodcuts not the end 
of the block, which had been utilized until then, but the long side. . . . 
With Nolde it is precisely on the structure of the wood that the language 
of his cuts comes to depend and by which it is stimulated. "'^ 

Printmaking was important to the Briicke artists both as 
an expresssive medium and as a means to publicize their new vision. In 
their 1906 manifesto they declared their faith in a new generation not only 
of artists but also of collectors and appreciators. They sought patronage 
and attempted to spread their ideas by offering associate, or "passive," 
memberships. Associates received the yearly Briicke portfolios of original 
prints (see pp. 67-78). "'The artists designed posters for exhibitions (see 
fig. 57) and used prints to reproduce paintings in exhibition catalogues 
(see fig. 58). Invitations (see fig. 59) and membership cards were them- 
selves original prints. Their manifesto was a woodcut, as were parts of the 
1913 Chronik KG Briicke (Chronicle of the artists' group the Briicke). 

Prints, like drawings, recorded every aspect of the art- 
ists lives. In an essay on Pechstein's prints, Fechter described the auto- 
biographical role printmaking played: "[Prints] not only show the change 
and transformation of [Pechstein's] artistic goals but are also both the mir- 
ror and chronicle of his external life. They report on his journeys and 
trips, on life in the cities and in nature; they exhibit life s surroundings. "^'^ 
Every Expressionist theme— including the self-portrait, portraits of 
friends, the studio, madness, violence, illness, passion, trips to the Mo- 
ritzburg Lakes or to the northern fishing villages, and the metropolis, 
with its streets, circuses, variety shows, prostitutes, and cafes— was taken 
up in prints. 

The Expressionist artists' interest in literature is evident 
in their prints. Heckel's early portfolio Die Ballade vom Zuchthaus zu 
Reading (The Ballad of Reading Gaol; see figs. 60, 202-5) was inspired by 
Oscar Wilde's poem. Five woodcuts by Kirchner illustrated the 1913 edi- 
tion of Alfred Doblin's Das Stiff sf mule in und der Tod (The canoness and 
Death; see figs. 61, 169). Kirchner's semiautobiographical woodcuts for 
Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (The 
wondrous story of Peter Schlemihl) were published in 1915. In 1924 Kurt 
Wolff brought out an edition of Georg Heym's Umbra Vitae (Shadow of 
life; see figs. 62, 164-65) with fifty original woodcuts by Kirchner. 

After the Briicke artists moved to Berlin their contacts 
with German and European avant-garde artists were broadened. In 
Herwarth Walden's gallery, Der Sturm (The storm), they saw and were 
influenced by the work of the Cubists and Futurists. Cubist ideas are 
reflected in Schmidt-Rottluff's broad, planar forms. Heckel's brittle 
angularities evidence the influence of Cubism and Futurism, as does the 
work of their mutual friend Lyonel Feininger. Kirchner's tense Berlin 
street scenes are animated by futurist force lines. 

Although the urban environment was a vital stimulus for 
the Briicke artists, they found it dehumanizing and sought reinvigoration 
in communion with nature and contact with simple, rural people. Their 
interest in tribal cultures and peasant life was fueled both by the German 



Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Alle Landschafteji hahen . . . 


(All landscapes have . . . ) 


5^/4 X s'/ie in. (14.6 X 9. 1 cm) 

From Georg Heym, Umbra 


Davis 1474.4 

ftlle Landichdffen hflben 

9P Sichmir.Blau e^full^ 
l\{k B'usdie indBdume JesStromes 
Dep wef h n den Hdpdens^ will^ 


Di& (TeslaJeJuHimni^lsJdliinler 
Zer^eh«n inVJiad undLitbh 

Wenndleflbendeiinkcn aq 
Und wip scklsfen ein , /V ;. 
Gehen dieTrb'uine die sdion 
Mif leichhnfussenhepdn 

CymLcIn lasscn f kklin^cn 
in den H^ndenli<iih.^D:Lco 
Manthefii/sf'epnund halhen 



Romantic tradition of seeking inspiration in union with nature and by the 
example of Gauguin, whom they envisioned as the primal Adam living in 
a South Seas paradise. Nolde's dancers (see fig. 63), the exotic adorn- 
ments of their studios, and summer sojourns to German fishing villages 
reflected this yearning for contact with the primal and unspoiled. Fechter 
captured the spirit of these sojourns when he described Pechstein's sum- 
mers in Nida, in western Lithuania, where he lived "less as guest than as a 
primitive person among primitive men. . . . After the excesses of the big 
city he once again experiences existence in the close-to-earth forms of 
closest connectedness."'* Nolde traveled to the South Seas with an an- 
thropological expedition in 1913, and Pechstein visited Palau in 1914 (see 
fig. 64). Two rhapsodic passages from Pechstein's Palau diaries perfectly 
render his Briicke comrades' dream; 

A neiv day. Calm as seldo77i the beginning of such a one. 
Did I dream? No! Dream and contented pure was the 
night. . . . 

It is the sure certainttj of having found unity with 
nature, this calm causes one of the .strongest experiences. 

Man, air, trees, world are laid bare and are one!^^ 

Contented .sleep releases the limbs. We await full moon. 
Await the dance!^° 

In addition to the Briicke artists, others created prints in 
the Expressionist mode. Many, including Cesar Klein, Oskar Kokoschka, 
Moriz Melzer, Wilhelm Morgner, Heinrich Richter-Berlin, Jakob 
Steinhardt, and Georg Tappert, were published in Walden's Der Sturm. 
In addition to including Expressionist prints in his journal and exhibiting 
them in his gallery, Walden published special editions of prints by 
Heinrich Campendonk, Wassily Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Franz Marc, 
Morgner, Gabriele Miinter, and Pechstein, among others. It was the Ber- 
lin secessionists, however, and not the Expressionists whose prints won 
recognition before the war. H. W. Singer's otherwise comprehensive 
1914 book on modern prints, for example, gave extensive coverage to the 
secessionists and ignored the Expressionists. ^^ Many well-known mem- 
bers of the Berlin Sezession— Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, Kathe Koll- 
witz. Max Liebermann, Hans Meid, and Max Slevogt— were printmakers, 
but they worked in the romanticized impressionistic or realistic modes 
that dominated the Berlin Sezession. The sculptor and printmaker Ernst 
Barlach was the exception. He belonged to the Berlin Sezession, but he 
was an Expressionist. 

In Munich the Blaue Reiter (blue rider) group devoted 
its second exhibition, in February 1912, to prints, drawings, and 
watercolors. Included were the works of Heckel, Kirchner, Nolde, and 
Pechstein. The artists who were themselves most closely associated with 
the Blaue Reiter made comparatively few prints. Printmaking was not, as 
it was for the Briicke, at the core of their work. Nevertheless the abstract- 
ing nature of the woodcut was well suited for expressing Kandinsky s and 
Marc's spiritual concerns. Kandinsky illustrated his 1913 book Kldnge 



(Sounds; see figs. 9, 207) with woodcuts from 1911-12 that embodied the 
inner musical resonance he sought to convey. Each chapter in his Uber 
das Geistige in der Kiinst (Concerning the spiritual in art, 1912) was 
headed by an abstract, symbolic woodcut. The cover of the 1912 almanac 
Der hlaue Reiter was a woodcut by Kandinsky. Before he went to war, 
Marc had asked Heckel, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Kokoschka, and Alfred 
Kubin to collaborate on an illustrated Bible. Marc completed some prints 
for his section, Genesis (see fig. 56). 

The outbreak of war temporarily halted most artistic 
activity as German artists volunteered or were drafted. Some even wel- 
comed the war. Beckmann, for example, saw it as an opportunity to fill his 
sketchbooks with scenes of high adventure. Dix volunteered out of a 
desire to participate fully in the events of his day and to observe humanity 
in extreme situations. Marc saw in it the cathartic cataclysm that would 
purge a corrupt Europe. For many the war heralded the new age em- 
bodied in Kandinsky's and Meidner's apocalyptic prewar visions. 




Emil Nolde 

Germany, 1867-1956 

Tanzerin, 1913 


Color lithograph 

zoVs X 27VS in. (53.0 X 69.0 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 232 

Davis 2125 


Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 
Untitled (native family on boat), 



8% X 5'yi6 in. (22.2 X 15.0 cm) 

From Reisehilder: Italien, 


Davis 2228.42 

During the war artists continued to record their experi- 
ences in prints. Kirchner suffered a breakdown early in the war, and his 
woodcuts for Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl mirror his shattered psyche. 
Heckel recorded the faces of the wounded and those who cared for them. 
Dix kept detailed sketchbooks that became the basis for Der Krieg (War, 
1924; see pp. 78-85), his portfolio of fifty etchings drawn from his four 
years in the field. Pechstein's portfolio Somme 1916 (1919; see fig. 65) 
recorded the experiences that led him to request a transfer from active 
duty. In a discussion of the portfolio, art critic Curt Glaser identified its 
Expressionist component, the desire to tap levels of meaning beyond the 
quotidian: "For this intensely solitary man the war itself also became an 
experience of the highest unfolding of existence. He saw not so much the 
suffering as the powerful exertion of all forces, which in the etchings of 
the battle of the Somme were raised to a maximum of expression ."^^ 

The war brought bitter disillusionment, which artists ex- 
pressed in prints and portfolios published in the years following the war. 
Christian Rohlfs's Der Gefangene (The prisoner, 1918; fig. 66) is the testa- 
ment of a weary, disheartened old man. Conrad Felixmiiller's Soldat im 
Irrenhaiis (Soldier in a madhouse, 1918; fig. 67) ensnares the viewer in 
the jumbled world of the shell-shocked. A portfolio by George Grosz, 
Gott mit uns (God with us, 1920; see pp. 86-99), ridicules the military 
machine the artist came to hate. Beckmann's portfolio Die Holle (Hell; 
see fig. 145), created during his March 1919 stay in Berlin, embodies the 
horrific aftermath of war and revolution. The Expressionist periodicals 
published or reproduced prints of battered bodies and shattered souls. In 
1924, six years after the war ended, Kollwitz published her portfolio 
Sieben Holzschnitte zum Krieg (Seven woodcuts on the war; see fig. 68), 
which chronicled the cycle of sacrifice, grief, and acceptance that was the 
experience on the home front. The same year Dix's Der Krieg reported 
the horrors of the front in obsessive detail. 

One of the most anguished utterances to issue forth from 
postwar Germany was Schmidt-Rottluffs emblematic Kristus (Christ, 
1918; fig. 71), from the portfolio Neun Holzschnitte (Nine woodcuts, 
1919), carved while the artist was on the censor's staff at the Russian 
front. In the periodical Der Cicerone (The cicerone), Valentiner de- 
scribed the image as 

a frightful vision on which is distincthj marked the sti- 
fling terror of the German people, who dragged them- 
selves through four war years. . . . The one eye is closed 
in pain; the other, open wide in prophecy: therefrom 
pierce glances of sorrow and oppression, which bore 
deep into one's mind. The forehead, however, is branded 
with the number igi8 as a reminder to humanity, which 
in these times has gone astray, as an eternal sign that, as 
the caption reads, in this year, "Christ did not appear to 

The tragedy of a people on whom it suddenly dawns that 
it gave its best for iron instead of for the spirit trembles 
convid.sively through these sheets.^^ 





The Expressionists' contemporaries looked to artists to 
give transcendent meaning to their phght by means of shared cultural 
symbolism. As P. F. Schmidt wrote, commenting on Beckmann's Die 
Holle, that was considered their mission: "We live in such a hell, only we 
are not conscious of it; we have shifted all of the torment and doubt of our 
situation onto the artist's conscience; as prophet and soothsayer of the 
times, he carries our burden; he expresses the meaning and insanity of 
the everyday, which we hold hidden in our hearts. "-'* 

Schmidt-Rottluff's Neun Holzschnitte, Kollwitz's Sieben 
Holzschnitte zum Krieg, and Barlach's Die Wandlungen Gottes (The trans- 
formations of God, 1921; see fig. 73) testify to the concentrated power 
that so often made the woodcut the bearer of the Expressionists' message 
of grief, disillusionment, and transcendence. A letter written by Barlach 
to a cousin in 1919 explains why the woodcut spoke so poignantly to the 
times: "As the misfortune befell in November [1918], I threw myself into 
the woodcut. ... It is a technique that provokes one to confession, to the 
unmistakable statement of what one finally means. It, or far more she, 
enforces a certain general validity of expression. ... I have finished a 
number of large woodcuts that deal with all of the distress of the times. "^^ 

During and immediately after the war the Expressionists 
frequently used Christian symbolism and biblical metaphors to convey 
both disillusionment and hope. Even in the pages of the antibourgeois 
political and cultural journal Die Aktion (Action), prints of the crucifixion 
appeared as the symbol of a martyred humanity and its redemption. 
Ecstatic, mystical imagery filled the postwar Expressionist periodicals 
(see fig. 70). Grohmann attributed the prevalence of religious imagery to a 
heightened spiritual awareness induced by the daily proximity of death. 
In characterizing Schmidt-Rottluff's postwar work, he wrote: 

He returned from the field altered, but the new impulse 
came less out of political and social revolution than . . . 
out of the assurance that there existed a tie to the 
numinous, the sacred, the religious. . . . 

. . . He gives the old symbols new content through human 
bearing and transforms them into symbolic terms of 
expression with contemporary appeal. . . . 

. . . What lie painted in igig and 1Q20 was born out of 
the sense of being near death and again being given the 
gift of life.^^ 

In his book Kunst und Religion (Art and religion, 1919), 
Gustav F. Hartlaub addressed this postwar phenomenon within the 
broader context of the metaphysical underpinnings of the Expressionist 
movement. He illustrated prints by Barlach, Heckel, Kokoschka, Otto 
Lange, Marc, Meidner, and Fritz Schaefler and paintings by Josef Eberz 
and Alois Wach, among others. He perceived the postwar mysticism as an 
intensification of the prewar Expressionists' effort to unite the human 
soul (Menschenseele) with the source of all being (Urgrunde). He saw the 
Christian imagery as part of a radical, antibourgeois desire to create a new 
socialist society and a new religion. He wrote: "The main thing is that 


Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 
Somme S, 191S 
Etching with drypoint 
159/16 X i2'/2 in. (39.5 X 31.8 cm) 
From portfoho Somme 1916 
L.85.2. 10 h; lent by the Robert 
Gore Rifkind Foundation, 
Beverly Hills, California 
Davis 2247.8 


Christian RohHs 

Germany, 1849- 193S 

Der Cefangene, 1918 

(The prisoner) 


24 'A X 18% in. (61. 1 X 46.6 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 253 

Davis 2383 


Conrad Felixmuller 

Germany, 1897-1977 

Soldat imlrrenhaiis, 1918 

(Soldier in a madhouse) 

Color lithograph 

iS'/sx I2yi6in. (38.4 X 31.0 cm) 

M. 82. 287. 16 

Davis 602 




Karl Jakob Hirsch 

Germany, 1892-1952 

Untitled (head), c. 1919 


6%6 X 2% in. (15.7 X 6.6 cm) 

From Die Aktion 9, no. 20 

83.1.1552 a 
Davis 1177 


Alois Wach 

Austria, 1892-1940 

Erlosiing, c. 1919 



5^16 X 6% in. (14.2 X 17.4 cm) 

From Der Weg 1, no. 2 (1919) 

83.1.1214 a 

Davis 3058 


Kathe Kollwitz 

Germany, 1867-1945 

Das Opfer, 1922-23 

(The sacrifice) 


14%6 X 15% in. (37.0 X 40.0 cm) 

From portfolio Sieben 

Holzschnitte zum Krieg 

M. 82. 288. 193 a 

Davis 1606. 1 

Expressionism remain true to itself. It is then, for its part, built on the 
foundation of a way of thinking that should create the new symbols that for 
us today are still totally missing and through which Christianity will gain 
its new form of existence. Not until this existence is ensured will the new 
religious art also be born."^'' 

This desire to comprehend events in spiritual terms was 
reflected in the artists' recurrent images of seers and prophets (see fig. 
72). They envisioned themselves as the potential spiritual leaders of the 
new, postrevolutionary society and believed that their prewar images had 
presaged the cataclysm that was making this new world possible. A state- 
ment by Walther Rilla, editor of Die Erde (The earth), expressed their 
ecstatic faith in the imminence of a new dispensation: "After a huge span 
of catastrophic dehumanization, we stand with trembling hands before a 
new beginning: the humanization of humanity. And of the earth."-* 

The Expressionists fervently believed that the new age 
would nurture the "new man." His image filled their periodicals (see fig. 
6g), and everywhere they celebrated his advent: "The new man, the fel- 
low creature, the brother-man, creation and creator of the earth, prince 
of the lost paradise, the human man, who should stride out of the roar of 
the times into the light— humanity is in danger! A new beginning must be 
found— in man. Revolutionizing the heart, soul, and conscience. . . . 
Nothing will help socialism so long as it is not connected, and connected 
with humanism. "^^ 

For activist artists, socialism was the political manifesta- 
tion of this new humanism, the mechanism through which their Utopian 
goals would be realized. Many Expressionists therefore identified with 
the international socialist workers' movement. Posters and prints calling 
for reconciliation, fraternization, and the repatriation of prisoners of war 
reflected a renewed internationalism. Kollwitz, for example, collaborated 
with Elisabeth Asch, the wife of a prisoner of war, on a poster entitled 
Heraus mit unsern Gefangenen (Set free our prisoners, 1920), and her 
frontispiece for the 1924 edition of Henri Barbusse's Der singende Soldat 
(The singing soldier; fig. 74) was a plea for fraternization. During the war 
the writings of Barbusse and Romain Rolland had been a rallying point for 
pacifist, internationalist sentiment. Postwar Expressionist journals called 
for international congresses of writers, artists, and intellectuals and car- 
ried articles like art critic Willi Wolfradt's "Bruderkrieg" (Fraternal war), 
in which he argued that "a thousand commonalities between men, the 
parallels between their presentiments and longings above all . . . cause all 
men to be brothers " and make every war a "fraternal war" and therefore a 
crime against humanity. 3** 

The Expressionists' heady celebration of humankind had 
its corollary in their infatuation with the working class. A statement by 
Hartlaub typifies this romanticizing of the proletariat: "The 'humanity' 
toward which the Expressionist turns in the impersonal, as it were, only 
temporary forum of exhibitions, periodicals, and manifestos is ... to be 
found in no class. Certainly, however, in the final analysis, the property- 
less are closer to them than the propertied, and an intelligent worker will 
more easily come to appreciate a Nolde than an intelligent bourgeois. "^^ 

The many radical artists' groups founded throughout 





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Germany, such as the Novembergruppe (November group) and the 
Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst (working council for art), declared it their purpose to 
bring art and architecture closer to the people and thereby overcome the 
elitist alienation of the avant-garde. Themes of proletarian life and images 
of leaders such as Kurt Eisner (see fig. 76), Karl Liebknecht, and Rosa 
Luxemburg, and of the evils of capitalist oppression appeared as individ- 
ual prints, in portfolios, and in Expressionist periodicals. Dix, Felixmiil- 
ler, Grosz, Franz Maria Jansen, Kollwitz, and Constantin von Mitschke- 
CoUande were among the most prominent artists to explore proletarian 
themes in prints (see fig. 75).^^ In a review of the 1918 exhibition Der 
expressionistische Holzschnitt (The Expressionist woodcut) at Hans 
Goltz's gallery in Munich, a critic for Der Weg characterized the Expres- 
sionist prints of that period as representing "the desire for more than just 
the so-appearing world and passionate commitment to this goal. Recruit- 
ing, revolt, protest!"^^ 

In the opening months of the war, artists had contributed 
prints to patriotic, nationalist periodicals such as publisher and gallery 
owner Paul Cassirer's Kneg.s::eif (Wartime). Soon, however, implicitly 
critical periodicals, such as Cassirer's Der Bildermann (The picture man; 
see figs. 15, 16), which was the successor to Kriegszeit, and explicitly 
antiwar journals, such as Die Aktion, began to reflect the artists' growing 
disaffection. After the war quickly produced and speedily disseminated 
prints became the common currency of activist artists who designed 
political posters and pamphlet covers and contributed prints to the myr- 
iad radical Expressionist journals that covered the cafe tables when 
Wilhelmine censorship was lifted. Schmidt-Rottluff designed covers for 
Kilndiing (Annunciation; fig. 24) and Die rote Erde (The red earth; fig. 
181); Felixmiiller designed the logo for Menschen (Humanity; fig. 19). 
When the new republic was established, Schmidt-Rottluff contributed a 
woodcut to the competition for the new imperial coat of arms. 

Although Berlin was the most influential and the best- 
documented center of radical activity by artists, the city of Munich actu- 
ally established a soviet-style government that included intellectuals and 
Expressionist literary figures Gustav Landauer, Erich Miihsam, and 
Ernst Toller close to the inner circle. Eisner, the head of the provisional 
Bavarian government, was the only politician to address the issue of the 
artist's place in the new, postrevolutionary society directly and seriously. 
His speech on the arts, delivered to the provisional Bavarian assembly, 
was printed posthumously in the Novembergruppe's booklet An alle 
Kiinstler! (To all artists! fig. 246). In Munich a few artists, notably Wach 
and Schaefler, were engaged with the revolutionary cause through the 
Aktionsausschuss bildender Kiinstler (action committee of visual artists) 
and created woodcuts on revolutionary themes for Der Weg, whose staff 
was closely associated with the Aktionsausschuss. Grosz's print Feiera- 
bend (After work; fig. 133) illustrates the violence that, in May 1919, 
ended the Munich experiment. 

For a brief period after the war Expressionism was the 
accepted idiom of protest and revolution as well as for the expression of 
spiritual and aesthetic experiences. Lesser-known artists, such as 
Kirchner's student Werner Gothein and Heckel's follower Max Kaus, 




continued to work in their mentors' styles. Max Burchartz, Eberz, Walter 
Gramatte, and Steinhardt are among the lesser-known Expressionist 
printmakers who worked after the war. Burchartz's Die Damonen (The 
devils; see fig. 77), for example, continued the prewar Expressionists' 
absorption with psychologically probing Dostoyevskian themes. His work 
reflected the depression induced by two years at the front. 

In the early 1920s the Expressionist movement lost its 
vitality, partly because of the rise of new sensibilities, partly as a result of 
market forces exploiting its popularity, and partly due to the artists' dis- 
illusionment with politics. The Dadaists in particular mounted a cam- 
paign against Expressionism, accusing it of abandoning the revolution. 
They condemned Expressionism in an open letter to the November- 
gruppe published in Wieland Herzfelde's Der Gegner (The opponent).^'* 

The prevalence of critical commentary announcing the 
end of Expressionism prompted Schmidt to ask in a 1922 article on the 
movement's leading printmakers, "Might one dare join in with the joyful 
night watchman's horn blowing about the end of Expressionism? "^^ His 
answer was a resounding no, and he paid tribute to the "extraordinary 
richness " of German printmaking. The same year Tietze offered his 
assessment of the importance of printmaking for the Expressionists, a 
statement that in retrospect served as an epitaph: "The prints of our time 
will give evidence of [the Expressionists] to a later generation as the 
truest document of the fever that agitates us."^® 

The Role of Printmaking in Individual Expressionists' Work 

The Expressionists and their admirers believed that the graphic arts were 
particularly well suited to capturing and conveying spiritual experiences 
and to developing an emotionally compelling, abstract style. Comments 
by some of the artists responsible for introducing this new style make 
clear the vital role printmaking played in its evolution. 

Nolde, for example, wrote that the bold, lively results of 
his work in the printmaking media had encouraged him to abandon the 
external emphasis of Impressionism for the internal world of Expression- 
ism. In a 1906 letter to his friend Schiefler, he described how the exhila- 
rating new sense of collaboration with the medium had freed him from 
the constraints of traditional etching techniques and encouraged bolder, 
freer expression: 

/ want so much for my work to grow forth out of the 
material, just as in nature the plants grow forth out of 
the earth, which corresponds to their character. In the 
print Lebensfreude [Joy of living, igosj I worked for the 
most part with my finger, and the effect I hoped for was 
achieved. There is hidden in the print a bit of wanton- 
ness, in the representation as well as in the boldness of 
the technique. If I were to make the "ragged and moving" 
contours "correctly" in the academic sense, this effect 
would not nearly be achieved.^'' 

This exploitation of the expressive potential of a medium 
is a defining characteristic of Expressionism. In order to intensify the dra- 




Kari Schmidt-Rottluff 

Gerniiinv, 1884-1976 
Kristus, 1918 

19% X isys in. (50. 1 X 39. 1 cm) 
From portfolio Schmidt- 
Rottluff: Neun Holzschnitte 
M. 82.288.270 
Davis 2558 


Josef Ebeiz 

Germany, 1880-1942 

Der Prophet, c. 1918 

(The prophet) 


10% X 7% in. (27. ,3 X 19.8 cm) 

M. 82. 287. 13 

Davis 501 

matic tonal effects in his etchings (see fig. 78), Nolde repeatedly reworked 
the plates, developing up to ten proofs, as he reported to Fehr. He used 
iron rather than the softer copper plates because iron imparted a harsh- 
ness and a coldness that expressed his feelings. He also experimented 
with a variety of grounds, including liquid asphaltum, and brushed in 
effects with his fingers, a palette knife, and stiff brushes, which resulted 
in a uniquely painterly overall tonal treatment of the plate's surfaces. The 
extensive rebiting of plates produced accidental effects that delighted 
Nolde. He also used a variety of richly colored inks. In two 1905 letters to 
Fehr, Nolde described the role his experiments in etching played in gen- 
erating the subjective, abstract imagery and unorthodox surfaces that un- 
locked his inner world: 

/ produce a form, an impression of light, a beauty of 
tones. . . . The etchings are now full of life, an ecstasy, a 
dance, a gentle motion and fluctuation in tones. 

Therefore etching produces a different result from the 
ten drawings of the same character. . . . [The etchings 
are] better, in that they are fresher, bolder, and freer. . . . 

You speak of errors. . . . Men who are so correct and 
flawless are mostly boring; small weaknesses can be 
loved. . . . One chief characteristic of the etchings gives 
me much pleasure: because out of them streams forth a 
tremendous life.^^ 


Ernst Bariach 

Gernian\', 1870-1938 

DerersteTag, 1920-21 

(The first day) 


lo'/s X i4'/s in. (25.7 X 35.9 cm) 

From portfolio Die Wandlung- 

en Gottes: Sieben Holzschnitte 

83.1.7 a 

Davis 98. 1 





Kathe Kollwitz 

Germany, 1S67-1945 

Verbritdentng, 1924 



9^/1 X 6"/ifi in. {23.5 X 17.0 cm) 

From Henri Barbusse, Der 

singende Soldat 

83.1.128 a 

Davis 1608 


Franz Maria Jansen 

Germany, 1S85-1958 

Untitled (workers arriving), 


Etching with drypoint 

lo'/s X 7"/i6 in. (25.7 X 19.6 cm) 

From portfoho Industrie 1920 

83.1.12 b 

Davis 1302.3 


Frfb Schaefler 

Germany, 18S8-1954 

Bildnis Kurt Eisner, c. 1919 

(Portrait of Kurt Eisner) 


10% X y'Vie in. (27.0 x 20.2 cm) 

From Der Weg 1, no. 3 (1919) 


Davis 2446 

Nolde's woodcuts reveal a similar appreciation for the 
expressive potential of the medium. They appear to have grown out of the 
block and to reflect the organic processes that created it. Nolde wrote: 
"In the working of wood and for the determining of its character I had had 
enough experience in my five-year pursuit of woodcutting. I also always 
gladly let the various charming grainings and sometimes the knots be- 
come involved in the printing."^^ 

Before his brief association with the Briicke, Nolde had 
studied wood carving in Flensburg, but from the Briicke he learned to 
exploit the advantages of printing by hand. Nolde's early woodcuts were 
animated by a flickering play of light. Soon, however, he discovered the 
power of broad planar masses. In his prototypical Expressionist woodcut, 
the 1912 Prophet (fig. 80), he combined monumental planar effects with 
dramatic use of light. In it the brooding power of prophecy, the mysteri- 
ous emanation of vision out of darkness, and the melancholy of the 
prophet who is too often unheeded in his own time seem to well from the 
inner recesses of the block, demonstrating the unity of form and content 
that characterizes Expressionism. 

Nolde also made lithographs, but lithography did not 
open new vistas for him as did etching and wood carving because it was 
too closely allied with drawing and painting. In 1913 Nolde spent eight 
weeks working at a lithographic workshop in Flensburg. From there he 
wrote exuberantly to Hans Fehr of his discovery of the pleasures of work- 
ing directly on the stone; previously he had worked through the inter- 
mediary of transfer paper. "I could do as I pleased. ... It was a pleasure, 
and my happiness was great as I could carry away all of the rolled sheets. 
The Tdnzerin [Dancer, 1913; fig. 63], the last of the prints, was to mani- 
fest passion and my joy.""*'* 

The central figure in the Briicke circle, Kirchner, pub- 
lished an essay on his prints in 1921 under the pseudonym L. de Marsalle. 
There he discussed the formative role printmaking played in the develop- 
ment of his Expressionist style. "The woodcut," he wrote, "is the most 
graphic of the printmaking techniques. Its practice demands much tech- 
nical ability and interest. Kirchner's technical skill made woodcutting 
easy for him. Thus he came in a spontaneous way through the simplifica- 
tion necessary here to a clear style of representation. We see in his wood- 
cuts, which constantly accompanied his creative work, the formal lan- 
guage of the paintings prefigured. "'*i This enforced simplification 
produced what he called Gestalten, the clear, graphic forms that in his 
paintings he called "hieroglyphs," simplified, dematerialized, abstract 
equivalents of the underlying meanings of things. 

Kirchner discovered that for him printmaking processes 
were more conducive to achieving personalized results than procedures 
followed in other media. He wrote, "The technical manipulations make 
. . . free in the artist powers that are not important in the much easier 
handling of drawing and painting."'*^ For Kirchner the power of 
printmaking to contribute to the development of new forms grew out of 
the technical demands of the medium: "A primitive power of artistic sen- 
suousness speaks from the prints, which itself develops directly from the 
graphic technique that is tied to painstaking effort. Like the 'savage' who 




with patience cuts the figure . . . out of the hard wood, so the artist creates 
perhaps his purest and strongest pieces . . . following the primordial 
curse, if one may so understand it: from the sweat of thy brow shalt thou 
eat thy bread."'*^ 

Kirchner's comments reflect the awe the Briicke artists 
felt for aboriginal peoples, their respect for craftsmanship, their rever- 
ence for medieval artisans, and their sense of the sanctity of their own 
work. While making woodcuts, they could identify romantically with both 
the exotic work of faraway peoples and their own medieval heritage. 

In contrast to Nolde, Kirchner felt that he had achieved 
even richer effects in his lithographs than in his woodcuts. By washing the 
lithographic stone with water to which a little turpentine had been added 
and pulling a maximum often prints by hand, he was able to intensify the 
deep blacks and silky grays produced when the turpentine loosened the 
crayon or lithographic wash and spread it across the grainy surface of the 
stone. Kirchner also experimented with a variety of new techniques for 
multicolored lithographs, using colored inks in a monotype technique and 
printing on citron yellow paper.''* 

After the war etching became Kirchner's favorite me- 
dium. He attributed this to its responsiveness. Etchings, he wrote, 
"develop in the first states the most immediate hieroglyphs. Rich in lively 
handwriting and rich in variety of motifs, the etchings are like a diary of 
the painter."'*^ He carried plates with him and made initial sketches di- 
rectly from nature. 

Kirchner sustained his vital relationship with printmak- 
ing into his years in Switzerland (1917-38). In a 1924 letter to Schiefler 
he described the continuing direct relationship between printmaking and 
his work in other media: 

I find it increasingly necessary to express my ideas first 
in engraving or lithography so that they may develop 
before I start to paint. Every year my form and expres- 
sion become more sensitive, and my ideas frequently 
have to pass through three graphic stages before I can 
start on the canvas. . . . I can hear you say no, that is 
impossible because the value of the colors demands quite 
different treatment from black and white, but it is the 
inner idea that I try to establish firmly through graphic 

The development of Heckel's work exhibited a similar 
reciprocity between printmaking and painting. Schiefler noted in his 
1918 article on Heckel's prints that the artist's desire for simplification of 
form made the woodcut an appropriate medium: "As far as I can see, as a 
printmaker Erich Heckel essentially developed out of the woodcut. Be- 
cause it imposes the necessity to simplify, it is a good means of education." 
Schiefler also commented on Heckel's propensity to seek a contribution 
from the material itself, the same urge for authenticity to which Nolde 
attested when he wrote that he wanted his images to seem to have grown 
out of the materials. Schiefler wrote, "Sometimes it charmed him to take 
advantage of the nature and quality of specific woods; in that way he cut 

54 Rigby 

the weather-beaten face of an old man in oak that had lain in the moor for 
hundreds of years."'*''' 

Schiefler noted that although most of Heckel's images 
appeared tightly bound to the character of the wood, in the early wood- 
cuts more painterly qualities prevailed. The high point of this painterly 
treatment, he felt, was Meckel's extraordinary portfolio Die Ballade vom 
Zuchthaus zu Reading. Schiefler wrote that the artist's sense of the me- 
dium, however, led him to a more angular woodcut style: "Heckel was 
inclined to feel that he dared not advance further on this path without 
inflicting violence on the style of the woodcut. He found the lithograph as 
a substitute."^* 

Other Briicke members shared this respect for the integ- 
rity of the medium. Pechstein described how he had rejected the tradi- 
tional method of drawing an image on the block in favor of direct engage- 
ment with the medium: "It was and still is fundamental: to begin the work 
with the same tools with which it will be ended, without making a 
preliminary drawing on the wood, stone, or metal. Sketches and drawings 
done in advance clarify the intention, and with it ready in the head, the 
requisite tool realizes the idea. "*^ 

The Briicke artists dedication to process contributed to 
the revival of printmaking as a serious, independent art. Schiefler 
highlighted the novelty of their direct approach when he wrote of Heckel: 

It is characteristic of his relationship to the means of 
expression of his art that he himself iniprinted on stone. 
. . . He often got up at night in order to seize that seen 
within, which quickly with a crayon, quickly with a 
broad brush, he brought onto the stone, and the use of 
acid allowed him to bring out the finest and most 
capricious tones. Through all the preciosity of the treat- 
ment these works preserve exactly the characteristic fea- 
tures of the lithographic technique. That then is the prize 
an artist carries away from the most intimate acquaint- 
ance with the material.^ 

Fechter, who wrote the first monograph on Pechstein 's 
prints, pointed out that the artist's nature was essentially painterly and 
that therefore he took to printmaking more slowly than the other Briicke 
artists. Pechstein, Fechter noted, was often dissatisfied with his prints 
because "instinctively he already feels transposition into line, into black 
and white, somehow as abstraction and as an intermediate position. . . . 
Fundamentally, so to speak, he perceives the symbolic colorfulness in the 
black and white of the plane as a preliminary phase; like a text for which 
the music is still missing. ^' Pechstein experimented with color woodcuts 
and lithographs, using blue or other tinted inks for etchings and hand- 
colored prints. This, according to Fechter, resulted in a less integrated 
graphic process because the original feeling for form out of which the 
imagery arose became a secondary, abstract structure over which grew an 
independent, sensuous surface. 

The Briicke artists, as the first generation of Expression- 
ists, discovered in printmaking a collaborator in their endeavor to find 




Max Burchartz 

Germany, 1887-1961 

Ddmonen 2, 1919 

(Devils 2) 


6V2 X 4y8 in. (16.5 X 11.3 cm) 

From portfoho Die Damonen 

83.1,11 b 

Davis 335. 2 


new forms for expressing new ideas. Two very different media, the etch- 
ing and the woodcut, approached afresh on their own terms rather than 
through the refined techniques cherished by connoisseurs, led the artists 
to the fresh, spontaneous, abstract language that boldly conveyed their 
subjective visions. A second-generation Expressionist, Otto Dix, gave 
perhaps the ultimate tribute to printmaking. "When one etches," he said, 
"one becomes the purest alchemist."^^ 

Contemporary Critics on the Role of Printmalting in Expressionism 

Printmaking received some attention before the First World War, but it 
was not until the end of and immediately after the war that prints became 
a prominent and increasingly popular mode of expression and con- 




Emil Nolde 

Germany, 1867-1956 

Tischgesellschaft, 1906 

(Dinner party) 


5'yi6X 7'/2 in. (15.1 X 19.0 cm) 

From Zeitschrift fiir hildende 

Kunstn.s., 19, no. 2(1907) 

M. 82. 288.233 

Davis 2113 

sequently received considerable attention. ^^ Books and articles came 
from such diverse sources as then-curator Hartlaub; the critic, art his- 
torian, and art commissioner for the new Weimar Republic, Edwin 
Redslob; the Hamburg collector Schiefler; and publisher and art critic 
Westheim. Articles featured some of the new, younger artists, like Eberz 
and Gramatte, but discussion centered on the achievements of the pio- 
neering Briicke artists. The writings of German art critics and historians 
reflected the self-consciousness with which the Expressionist artists had 
turned to printmaking, as they discussed the revival of printmaking as a 
culturally significant phenomenon, especially renewed work in the wood- 
cut, which became the symbol of the new sensibility. 

The woodcut was a fundamental part of the material and 
ideational development of Expressionism, influencing, as we have seen, 
the Briicke artists' individual and collective stylistic development. Of this 
phenomenon, Hartlaub wrote: "The year 1906 ... an important date for 
the history of the new German art and for the decisive role that the black- 
and-white arts played therein! ... A characteristic, in a certain sense 
epoch-making, manner of woodcutting came to maturity. . . . Even more 
than with Munch or Nolde, one receives from the painters of the Briicke 
the impression that the formal language of the woodcut also influenced 
their manner of expression in painting. '^'* 



IS.Juni -IS.JwIilpig 




Georg Schrimpf 

Germany, 1889-1938 
Untitled (cover), c. 1918 

7'yi6 X 6'/s in. (20.2 X 15.5 cm) 
From Uer expressionistische 
Holzschnitt, catalogue of exhi- 
bition at Neue Kunst/Hans 
Goltz, Munich, 1918 
83.1.721 a 
Davis 2618.1 

As art critics, historians, and dealers turned their atten- 
tion to Expressionist printmaking, the woodcut became their primary 
focus. Goltz mounted an exhibition, Der expressionistische Holzschnitt, 
in Munich in June and July of 1918 (see fig. 79). In the introduction to the 
catalogue he argued that the woodcut was charged with cultural symbol- 
ism rooted in affinities with the work of medieval artisans. Hartlaub re- 
flected the same attitude when he wrote of woodcuts: "They are like folk 
songs and folk tales in which something of the sublime awe of the sagas 
still echoes. They are mostly 'awkward.' . . . Nonetheless something of 
that grace that in the Middle Ages the crudest workman let fall into his 
stammering to the praise of God still hangs over them."^^ 

Critics offered a variety of explanations for this interest 
in the woodcut. Westheim attributed it to the artists' striving for monu- 
mentality and their renewed concern for the honesty of handwork and 
craftsmanship. Hartlaub tied it to what he defined as the essence of 
Expressionism, the artists' desire to express an intense inner relationship 
with the exterior world. One of the most dramatic testaments to the wood- 
cut's ability to probe and reveal this relationship was written by Rudolf 
Adrian Dietrich in response to the Goltz exhibition: "The simplest me- 
dium, a woodblock is enough. ... It is terribly exciting to paint, but most 
exciting are the black-and-white planes. Now there are only contrasts. 
Snow-covered mountains and abysses; each cut of the knife is a cut into 
the inner self. This wood is indeed flesh of thy flesh."^*' Hartlaub began 
his, study of German Expressionist printmaking with a statement that 
summarizes the reverential, mystical aura that surrounded the medium: 
"In the beginning was the woodcut. "^^ 

In his Das Holzschnitthiich (The woodcut book, 1921) 
Westheim explained the medium's appeal to young German artists; "In 
the woodcut one of their most determined efforts, the return to a primi- 
tive manner of representation and manual handicraft, comes to fruition. 
... In it they seem to have found a medium of expression that particularly 
advanced their creative intentions. "^^ Like others, Westheim viewed the 
nineteenth century, in which the woodcut was used for illustration, as a 
"detour" in the history of the medium. He admitted that even in the re- 
vered fourteenth and fifteenth centuries illustrators used the woodcut as a 
substitute for drawing, but at the same time the "authentic, primitive 
woodcut " developed in the workshops, "in the hands of simple form 
cutters . . . free from artistic, speculative designs. "^^ It was their tradition 
that he saw the Briicke artists following as they began to explore the 
unique expressive potential of the woodcut rather than continue "false 
misuses " thereof He attributed this new interest to shared aesthetic val- 
ues that he identified as a striving for monumentality and craftsmanlike 
simplicity, and a concern for planar tectonics and surface rhythm. 

Westheim also discussed the role of material factors, 
such as the resistance of the medium, and the manual discipline required 
by the virtual impossibility of restoring cut areas. He explained that the 
woodcutter, no matter how adept, remained bound to wood's material 
character and that the Expressionists savored their engagement with the 
primitive, unyielding medium. The structure of the woodblock, he con- 
cluded, cast a spell over them as they experienced in it the tree's growth. 

58 Rigby 

the structure of its cells, and the stirring of its sap. Westheim also stressed 
the role the artists' emphasis on craftsmanship played in the development 
of the new Expressionist sensibility: "They no longer experience form and 
the coming into being of form on paper alone, but in the manual work of 
printing and cutting. . . . The hand no longer glides over the surface; it 
senses the resistance of the material. ... In the swinging of a curve the 
viewer still experiences something of the power of the hand that guided 
the knife. "60 

Westheim also cited the special appeal that the strong 
black-and-white qualities of prints held for this generation of German art- 
ists: "A specifically modern sensibility likes the black-and-white print— be 
it the woodcut, the etching, or the drawing— in its movement so intensi- 
fied that this alternation of light and dark suggests a colorfulness that even 
while it is suggestive, far surpasses what a colored plane could give."^' 

In an article for Das Kunstblatt (The art paper), which he 
edited, Westheim described the evolution of the woodcut into a distinctly 
Expressionist medium. The first step, he wrote, was for artists to free 
themselves from the influences of Japonisme and the Jugendstil. Both 
had contributed to the development of abstraction, but their decorative 
linearity hindered the expression of the deeper, violent emotions (£r- 
schiitterungen) that the Expressionists sought to convey. Instrumental, 
Westheim observed, in affecting this break was the artists' "colossal 
astonishment " before the far more primitive woodcutting of the four- 
teenth- and fifteenth-century illustrators whose work embodied the quali- 
ties they strove to achieve: freshness, spontaneity, purity of feeling, and 
authenticity. In the presence of these works the Expressionists were awak- 
ened to the power inherent in lines "torn " from the wood and to the inim- 
itable structural nuances that the inked surfaces of the prints revealed. ^^ 

At this point a word of chronological clarification is in 
order. Stephan von Wiese has pointed out that although Kirchner stated 
in the 1913 Chronik KG Briicke that he had brought to the group the 
inspiration of Albrecht Diirer and Lucas Cranach gained during a 1903 
visit to Nuremberg, it was not until 1910 that old German prints played a 
role in the Briicke artists' work. It was then that revivalist interests led 
them to emphasize printmaking as part of the continuous expression of 
the German national character. ^^ Wilhelm Worringer's Forinprohleme 
der Gotik (Form problems of the Gothic) and Die altdeutsche 
Buchillustration (Old German book illustration) were symptomatic of and 
instrumental in encouraging this revival. ^^ 

Accompanying the discovery that the woodcut could 
offer emotional intensity was the realization that this inherently abstract 
medium could also give form to the symbolic meanings the Expressionists 
sought to convey: 

The woodcut . . . becomes the cause of the development 
of a grand sign language. The sensuous content will re- 
treat, the spiritual-tectonic rules the surface and form. 
. . . Such an adjustment can occur only . . . when, so to 
speak, a dematerialization takes place. It results in the 
necessity to abstract . . . it was necessary to think 




Emil Nolde 

Germany, 1867-1956 

Prophet, 1912 


12% X 8% in. (32.0 X 21.2 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 239 

Davis 2123 

through further the consequences of the realization that 
such lines and such planes could no longer be the expres- 
sion of something, no longer the representation of some- 
thing, no longer the description, the portrayal, the re- 
production of things. As though of itself, one's eye was 

Redslob dated the contemporary recognition of the inde- 
pendence of printmaking from book illustration to Liebermann, although 
he felt the artist did not sense the real cultural consequences of his work. 

He knows nothing of the community and team feeling 
that, since Menzel, gave German prints their own neces- 
sity, in which resides the secret of their inner warmth 
and also their cultural liveliness. 

But just for that reason . . . the graphic work of Lieber- 
mann is of particular significance. Before him all cur- 
rents in the graphic arts somehow flowed to the book. . . 
. With those who come after him, everything strives 
. . . for the ivall, for grandeur, for monumental laws. 

Corinth and Slevogt stand at the beginning.^^ 

Whereas most critics attributed the renaissance of printmaking in Ger- 
many to the influence of foreigners such as Munch and Gauguin, Redslob 
pointed to the work of German artists and did not allow the mystique of 
the woodcut to blind him to the importance of the lithograph. When he 
turned to the woodcut, however, he did so with the enthusiasm character- 
istic of his time: "Then, however, the woodcut!" He too commented on 
the special correspondence between the expressive inclinations of con- 
temporary young artists and the woodcut's tendency to enforce abstrac- 
tion. "They want symbols," he wrote. "They want to reach out over the 
earth and grasp the soul of the world. '^^ 

After the First World War printmaking served less as a 
medium of style formation and more for the quick execution and rapid 
dissemination of ecstatic, Utopian images and politicized statements. It 
might even be argued that its role was the reverse of that played during 
the formative years, since the widespread adaptation of Expressionist 
mannerisms in the flurry of postwar printmaking may have contributed to 
the devaluation of the movement. Rather than reflecting a fresh, authen- 
tic involvement, the distortions became easy formulas. 

Hartlaub was concerned that the popularization of 
printmaking was diminishing its vitality and authenticity. Of the plethora 
of postwar prints, he wrote: 

Does the ecstasy of these young artists have a contami- 
nating effect? Whoever thumbs through the newest 
portfolios and volumes notices their cries and gestures 
almost everywhere! They have become stereotypes, like 
so much in the expression and the means of recent 
graphic arts. . . . We had the courage to speak of a new 
blossoming of German printmaking, of a high formal 

60 Rigby 

level, at the same time also, however— in face of the 
avalanchelike production of recent times— of an always 
threatening danger of leveling! Does . . . the heroic 
period, the period of strong personalities already lie 
behind us? In any case the selective collector does not 
have it easy vis-a-vis the latest generation.^^ 

Even this early, at the height of the movement's popular- 
ity, Hartlaub was not alone in expressing concern that the second- 
generation Expressionists were exhausting a once-vital impulse. In 1920, 
the year Hartlaub s book appeared, Worringer lectured in Munich on the 
waning of Expressionism, and the next year in Das Kiinstblatt Wolfradt 
observed not only the waning of the old but pointed to new, rising 
forces. ^^ Just as printmaking had contributed to the movement's develop- 
ment, printmaking participated in and reflected its decline. 

Many of the assumptions expressed by these critics were 
not unique to Expressionism. Both the populist rhetoric applied to 
printmaking and the presumption that there existed a link between 
printmaking and German culture were part of traditional German 
thought. The Expressionists reflected these assumptions in their analy- 
ses; critics in the Third Reich reframed the same assumptions to fit their 
priorities. This made it possible for Nazi critics to celebrate the woodcut 
in terms similar to those used by the Expressionists. For Nazi critics, 
prints expressed the spirit of the German people (Volksgeist); Expression- 
ist critics spoke in more aesthetic terms, positing a tie between the Ger- 
man will to create art iKunstwiUen) and printmaking. Both groups em- 
phasized the role of craftsmanship in a healthy art. The result in the Third 
Reich was volkish kitsch; among the Expressionists it was powerful spiri- 
tual and emotional statements. '^'^ 

Repercussions in Print Collecting 

The Briicke artists recognized the role the print could play as ambassador 
for their cause and immediately began a series of yearly print portfolios 
(1906-12). Their purpose was twofold: to spread their new ideas to a 
group of subscriber-supporters and to help finance their endeavors. From 
the beginning the Expressionists envisioned a central role in their move- 
ment for print collecting. 

A new group of print collectors arose in response to the 
burgeoning production of prints. As a result, after the First World War 
articles on print collecting and on the imminent dangers of the popu- 
larization of printmaking appeared in German art journals. Critics, cura- 
tors, and historians viewed the growing commercialization ol print 
collecting with alarm. A discussion in Der Cicerone summarized their 
concerns: 'Tn Germany the worst is the deluge of prints, which is not to 
be killed off Who buys all this produce? In a flash the most expensive 
portfolios with four (next perhaps with five) zeros behind an imaginary 
figure are out of print. Catastrophic!"''^ 

Curt Glaser, who later published an important history of 
modern German printmaking, wrote an article expressing his concern that 
the growing appeal of print collecting to those whose motivations were 

61 Rigby 

only incidentally related to art was debasing printmaking.'''^ He feared 
that merchandising was taking precedence over quality. Central to his 
discussion was the pernicious role of what he termed the " Auch" -Sammler 
("also collector), who collects because he wants to have what he sees 
others buy. Greedy publishers, Glaser wrote, were exploiting these 
collectors by producing a boundless flood of "original" prints. The prob- 
lem was compounded when the collectors' uneducated preferences influ- 
enced publishers' choices of what to publish. When collectors bought 
simply to keep up with the latest publications, they followed, according to 
Glaser, an equally dangerous motivation, valued a false kind of rarity, and 
thereby encouraged the publication of inferior works. This false rarity re- 
sulted from the artists' practice of destroying unsuccessful plates after 
pulling a few proofs. These collectors purchased the inferior, "rare " proofs. 

Glaser expressed the hope that serious collectors would 
emerge who would concentrate their energy and means on assembling 
the complete graphic work of artists of the caliber of Max Klinger, 
Liebermann, Nolde, or Pechstein and thus prepare the bases for impor- 
tant monographs. At the time, however, it appeared to him that those 
who focused their collections at all were concentrating not on particular 
artists but on particular publishers or presses. He feared that this practice 
only encouraged publishers to inundate the market with "limited " edi- 
tions, discrediting the whole enterprise. The "also " collector, he noted, 
was supported by the "also " publisher and "also " artist. 

Many collectors, Glaser cautioned, would be disap- 
pointed to find that when the masses of prints that then found such ready 
buyers flooded the market for a second time, their value would have 
declined precipitously. In conclusion he wrote: 

We are in a new flowering of printmaking techniques. 
. . . But its extent is not necessary, and so it is dangerous 
when quality threatens to he drowned. Only the individ- 
ual has value in art and from his work only the best. For 
that reason an ideal print collection is . . . small com- 
pared with the limitless, streaming production. . . . Its 
composition reflects the picture of a strongly marked 
will, an independent judgment that will err through no 
false example and no simple collector s ego.'^^ 

Glaser's article was published in tandem with Walter 
Ley's overview of new print publications for collectors to consider.''"* The 
insight into which publications a discerning contemporary observer fa- 
vored remains interesting. Ley noted that Barlach's first woodcuts had 
appeared in a volume of poetry, Reinhold von Walter's Der Kopf (The 
head), and he anticipated Barlach's forthcoming series of religious wood- 
cuts (see fig. 73). Ley mentioned Meidner's fourteen lithographs in his 
book Septetnberschrei (September cry) and quoted from its impassioned 
appeal for brotherhood. He cited the "diabolically insightful " political- 
satirical manifestos by George Grosz published in Malik- Verlag's Die 
Pleite (The bankruptcy) and noted that many of the drawings and litho- 
graphs reproduced in the periodical were also published in portfolios. He 
listed five recent portfolios and books by Pechstein, including Somme 




Watter GramaHi 

Germany, 1897-1929 

Der Morgenweg zum Amt. 1918 

(The morning route to the 



&Ve X sVie in. (16.8 x 13.5 cm) 

From Der Mantel: Zwolf 

Lithographien zitr Erzdhlung 

von Nicolai Gogol 

83.1.63 a 

Davis 839. 1 

1916, Exotische Kopfe (Exotic heads, 1919), and Reisebilder: Italien, 
Siidsee (Travel pictures: Italy, South Seas, 1919). He noted that Kurt 
Wolff had published Neun Holzschnitte by Schmidt-Rottluff and that 
I. B. Neumann had published a portfolio of the latter's woodcuts from 
1913 to 1919. He mentioned Paul Cassirer's two biblical portfolios by 
Otto Gleichmann, Alfred Flechtheim's portfolio by Burchartz on Fyodor 
Dostoyevski's character Raskolnikoff, and Gramatte's illustrations to 
Nikolay Gogol's Der Mantel (The overcoat, 1919; see fig. 81), published 
by Gustav Kiepenheuer. 

Ley concluded by mentioning Die Schaffenden (The cre- 
ators), a series of portfolios containing prints by a number of artists, 
published by Westheim, editor of Das Kunsthlatt ."^^ Since his article 
appeared in Das Kunstblatt, Ley considered it inappropriate to comment 
on the series other than to state: "Only this might be said: now, when such 
an unbounded number and so uselessly many prints are brought to the 
market, its mission of sorting out and selection, of education through 
example appears especially urgent. So much the more as it is not limited 
to the names that on all sides are known but . . . takes pains to reach after 
new, emerging talents. '"'''' The portfolios had included prints by 
Feininger, Heckel, Kokoschka, Meidner, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Otto 
Mueller, Pechstein, and Rohlfs. 

In the October 1922 issue oi Das Kunstblatt, Westheim 
himself wrote a history and implied defense of Die Schaffenden: the for- 
mat (four issues a year of ten hand-signed originals with only one or two 
prints by each artist in editions of 125) permitted him to introduce collec- 
tors to the work of lesser-known artists and to lay the groundwork for 
their broader acceptance. The project originated in his "wish to serve the 
living creators of these, our times. " Westheim noted that in order to em- 
phasize the seriousness of his endeavor he had included sheets with bio- 
graphical information and descriptive and critical data. He also addressed 
the value of the portfolios as investments, noting that the first complete 
portfolio (1918) had sold for six hundred marks; the price for the current 
portfolio (1922) was forty-five hundred marks. In conclusion he asked: 
"Might one say that therewith is created a foundation for a modern print 
collection? The foundation for a wider pursuit of these artists and for fur- 
ther collecting according to individual intentions. "'"'' 

Hartlaub also addressed print collecting and character- 
ized the type of collecting necessitated by the new values embodied in 
Expressionist prints: 

We close our vast print portfolio, whose contents at the 
same time might give an example of how print collecting 
must come to be done today. . . . It is no longer an art for 
lovers of minor masters' artistic translations of technical 
refinements and variations. . . . It imperatively demands 
a new type of collector, who unhesitantly aim^ more at 
artistic content and less at rarity and every possible 
collector's value. . . . It must come to be evaluated as the 
artist himself valued it in the creation. . . . In the final 
analysis, print collecting today should no longer be car- 

63 Rigby 

ried on in a cabinet and in a private, capitalistic manner. 
Printmaking today is public and popular. Today graphic 
art, above all its most important exponent, the woodcut, 
does not want to be motionlessly preserved in portfolios. 
The print wants to fly, a broadsheet fluttering down out 
of the spiritual clouds on a vast populace with hands 
stretched upward!''^ 

Hartlaub addressed two issues, one aesthetic, the other 
pohtical. In distinguishing the Expressionists' celebration of expressive 
concerns from the conventional emphasis on technical refinements, he 
defined the new sensibility that supplanted traditional connoisseurship. 
His paean to the public nature of printmaking was characteristic of a 
period that saw the founding of radical artists' groups that proclaimed the 
need to place art at the service of the people. 

Hartlaub's book was republished with some minor 
editing in 1947. Shortly after the Second World War he reiterated the 
German avant-garde's faith in the redemptive power of art and in the 
potential popular role of printmaking. Echoing his sentiments of 1920, he 
wrote: "The print wanted to fly, a broadsheet, fluttering down out of 
spiritual clouds on a vast populace with hands stretched upward— as art- 
ists in those years believed they saw it before them; . . . Expectations, 
how so suddenly they then became cruelly disillusioned, and . . . now, 
after the sealing of our downfall in the Second World War, [they] are 
totally unrepeatable."''^ After the war there was to be no heady celebra- 
tion of cultural renewal. Demoralization and disillusionment were too 

What had been the result of intense searching and 
experimentation by the first generation of Expressionists too often 
became the basis for rote repetition of successful formulas in the hands of 
their followers. Fortunately, discerning collectors, curators, critics, and 
publishers supported and preserved the most vital work and avoided the 
pitfalls outlined by Glaser, Hartlaub, Ley, and Westheim, and it is their 
legacy, not the popularizations, that today forms our conception of Ger- 
man Expressionist printmaking. 




1 L. de Marsalle. "Uber Kirchners 
Graphik, " Genius 3, no. 2 {1921): 

2 Wilhelm R. Valentiner, "Karl 
Schmidt-Rottluf f, ' Der Cicerone 
12, no. 12 (1920); 467. 

3 See Gustav Schiefler, Meine 
Graphiksaminhing (Hamburg; 
Gesellschaft der Biicherfreunde, 
1927; reprint, 1974); Gerhard 
Schack, ed., Postkarten an Gus- 
tav Schiefler (Hamburg: Chris- 
tians Verlag, 1976). 

4 Gustav Schiefler, "Erich Heckels 
graphisches Werk," Das Kunst- 
hlatt 1, no. 9 (1918): 283-84. 

5 Paul Fechter, "Das graphische 
Werk Max Pechsteins," in 
Abnanach aufdas Jahr ig20 
(Berlin: Fritz Gurlitt Verlag, 
1920), pp. 193, 195. 

6 Emil Alphons Rheinhardt, "Ein 
Gesprach iiber Graphik," in Der 
Ruf: Internationale Schwartz- 
Weiss Ausstellung, Wien, IQ13 
{Vienna, 1913), p- 10. 

7 Gustav Schiefler, "Die Inkuna- 
beln der neuen deutschen 
Graphik: Kirchner, Heckel. 
Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluff," in 
Das graphische Jahrhuch, ed. 
Hans Theodor Joel (Darmstadt: 
Karl Lang Verlag. 1920), p. 17. 

8 Ibid., pp. 19-21. 

9 Hans Fehr, "Aus Leben und 
Werkstatt Emil Noldes, ' Das 
Kunstblatt ^. no. 7 (1919): 208. 

10 Marsalle, "Uber Kirchners 
Graphik," p. 263. 

11 Buchheim, Kiinstlergemeinschaft 
Britcke, p. 303. 

12 Hans Tietze, Deutsche Graphik 
der Gegenwart (Leipzig: Verlag 
von E. A. Seemann, 1922), p. 3. 

13 Arts Council of Great Britain, 
German Expressionist Water- 
colours, Prints, and Drawings 
by the Paintern of the Briicke 
([London:] Arts Council of Great 
Britain, 1969), unpaginated. 

14 Schiefler, Meine Graphiksamm- 
Ittng, p. 51. 

15 Alois J. Schardt, "Nolde als 
Graphiker," Das Kunstblatt 11, 
no. 8 (1927}: 294. 

16 Each subscriber received a mem- 
bership card, an annual report, 
and a portfolio of original prints. 
There were not more than twenty 
copies of the 1906-7 portfolio 
printed; by 1910 the Galerie Ar- 
nold listed sixty-eight associate 
members. The last portfolio 
(1912), by Max Pechstein, with a 
cover by Otto Mueller, was never 
distributed; a few, according to 
Erich Heckel, came into collec- 
tors" hands. For a detailed de- 
scription of the BrOcke portfolios, 
see Hans Bolliger and E. W. 
Kornfeld, Ausstellung Kitnstlcr- 
gruppe Briicke: Jahresmappen, 
1906-2912, exh. cat. (Bern: 
Klipstein & Kornfeld, 1958). 

17 Fechter, "Das graphische Werk 
Max Pechsteins, " p. 192. 

18 Ibid., p. 197. 

19 Max Pechstein, "Tagebuch," in 
Ahnanach aufdas Jahr igig (Ber- 
lin; Fritz Gurlitt Verlag, 1919), 

P- 33- 

20 Max Pechstein, "Aus dem Palau- 
Tagebuch," Das Kunstblatt 2, 
no. 6(1918): 179. 

21 See H. W. Singer, Die moderne 
Graphik: Eine Darstellung fiir 
deren Freunde und Sammler 
(Leipzig: Verlag von E. A. See- 
mann, 1914). 

22 Curt Glaser, Die Graphik der 
Neuzeit voin Anfang des 
neunzehnten Jahrhunderts bis 
zur Gegenwart (Berlin: Bruno 
Cassirer, 1923), p. 545. 

23 Valentiner, "Karl Schmidt- 
Rottluff," pp. 470, 475. 

24 P. F. Schmidt, "Fiihrerperson- 
lichkeiten auf dem Gebiete der 
deutschen Graphik," in Jahrbuch 
derjungen Ku7ist, ed. Georg 
Biermann (Leipzig: Klinkhardt & 
Biermann, 1922), pp. 841, 844. 

25 Barlach to his cousin, 1919, in 
Erhard Gopel, Deutsche Holz- 
schnitte des zwanzigsten Jahr- 
hunderts (Wiesbaden: Insel 
Verlag, 1955), p. 44. 

26 Will Grohmann, Karl Schmidt- 
Rottluff {Stuttgart: W. Kohlham- 
mer, 1956), pp. 90, 92. 

27 Gustav F. Hartlaub, Kunst und 
Religion: Ein Versuch Uber die 
Moglichkeit neuer religioser 
Kunst (Leipzig: Kurt Wolff 
Verlag, 1919), p. 103. 

28 Walther Rilla, editorial, Die Erde 
1, no. 1 (1919): 1. 

29 Walther Rilla, "Der neue 
Mensch," Die Erde 1, no. 1 
(1919): 9, 13. 

30 Willi Wolfradt, "Bruderkrieg," 
Das Tribunal 1, no. 3 (1919); 

31 Hartlaub, Kunst und Religion, 
P- 73- 

32 See Ida Katherine Rigby, An alle 
Kiinstler! War— Revolution— Wei- 
mar: German Expressionist 
Prints, Drawings, Posters, and 
Periodicals from the Robert Gore 
Rifkind Foundation, exh, cat. 
(San Diego: San Diego State Uni- 
versity Press, 1983). 

33 T[rautner], "Galerie Neue Kunst 
Hans Goltz, Miinchen," Der Weg 

1. no. 2 (1919): 8. 

34 See [Otto Dix, Raoul Hausmann, 
George Grosz, et al.] "Offener 
Brief an die Novembergruppe, ' 
Der Gegner 2., no. 8/9(1920-21): 
297-301. For criticism of the 
Novembergruppe's lack of sus- 
tained political activism from a 
friend of the group, see Adolf 
Behne, "Graphik und Plastik von 
Mitgliedern der November- 
gruppe Berlin," Menschen 14, 
no. 81/86 (1919): 1-2. 

35 Schmidt, "Fiihrerpersonlich- 
keiten," p, 293. 

36 Tietze, Deutsche Graphik, p. 7. 

37 Nolde to Schiefler, 1906, in 
Gustav Schiefler and Christe! 
Mosel, Emil Nolde: Das graphi- 
sche Werk, vol. 2 (Cologne: M. 
DuMont Schauberg, 1966-67), 
p. 8. 

38 Nolde to Fehr, October 23, 1905, 
and November 22, 1905, in Fehr, 
"Aus Leben und Werkstatt," 

pp. 205-6. 

39 Schardt. 'Nolde als Graphiker," 
p. 289. 

40 Nolde to Fehr, 1913, in Martin 
Urban, Emil Nolde: Graphik aus 
der Sammlung der Stiftung 
Seebiill Ada und Emil Nolde 
(Seebiill: Stiftung Ada und Emil 
Nolde, 1975), p. 25. 

41 Marsalle, "Uber Kirchners 
Graphik," pp. 252-53. 

42 Ibid., p. 251. 

43 Ibid,, p. 263. 

44 For a detailed discussion of the 
innovative printmaking tech- 
niques employed by the Briicke 
artists, see Frances Carey and 
Antony Griffiths, The Print in 
Germany, iSSo-ig;}^: The Age of 
Expressionis7n, exh. cat. (New 
York: Harper & Row, 1984), 

pp. 29-39. 

45 Marsalle, "Uber Kirchners 
Graphik," p. 258. 

46 Kirchner to Schiefler, 1924, in 
Annemarie Dube-Heynig, 
Kirchner: His Graphic Art 
(Greenwich, Conn.: New York 
Graphic Society, 1961), p. 96. 

47 Schiefler, "Erich Heckels 
graphische Werk," p. 284. 

48 Ibid. 

49 Buchheim, Kiinstlergemeinschaft 
Briicke, p. 304, 

50 Schiefler, "Erich Heckels 
graphische Werk," p. 284. 

51 Fechter, "Graphische Werk Max 
Pechsteins," p. 201. 

52 Florian Karsch, Otto Dix: Das 
graphische Werk (Hannover: 
Fackeltrager- Verlag Schmidt- 
Kiister, 1970), p. 15. 

53 See Glaser, Graphik der Neuzeit; 
Gustav F. Hartlaub, Die neue 
deutsche Graphik, 3d ed. (Berlin: 
Erich Reiss Verlag, 1920); Kurt 
Pfister, Deutsche Graphik der 
Gegenwart (Leipzig: Klinkhardt 
& Biermann, 1920); Tietze, Deut- 
sche Graphik; H. von Wedder- 
kop, ed., Deutsche Graphik des 
Westens (Weimar: Geuerverlag, 
1922); Paul Westheim, Das Holz- 
schnitthuch (Potsdam: Gustav 
Kiepenheuer Verlag, 1921). 
Numerous almanacs were also 
published, including Fritz 
Gurlitt, ed., Ahnanach aufdas 
Jahr igig; Abnanach auf das Jahr 
J920, and Das graphische Jahr. 2 
vols. (Berlin: Fritz Gurlitt \''erlag, 
1921 and 1923); Joel, Das gra- 
phische Jahrbuch; Georg Bier- 
mann, ed. Jahrbuch derjungen 
Kunst {Leipzig; Klinkhardt & 
Biermann. 1920-24); Paul Erich 
Kiippers. ed.. Das Kestnerhuch 
(Hannover: Heinrich Bohme 
Verlag, 1919). 

54 Hartlaub, Neue deutsche 
Graphik, pp. 47-49- 

55 Ibid., pp. 7-8. 

56 Rudolf Adrian Dietrich, 
"Gesichte (Zur Ausstellung 'Der 
expressionistische Holzschnitt' 
bei Goltz in Miinchen)," Die 
schone Raritdt 2, no. 4 (1918): 16, 

57 Hartlaub, Neue deutsche 
Graphik, p. 7. 

58 Westheim, Holzschnittbuch, 
P 5 

59 Ibid., p. 7. 

60 Ibid., p. 168. 

61 Ibid., p. 1.59. 

62 Paul Westheim, "Holzschnitt 
und Monumentalkunst. ' Das 
Kunstblatt 2, no. 2 (1918): 42. 

63 Stephan von Wiese, Graphik des 
Expressionismus (Stuttgart: 
Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1976), p. 23. 

64 Wilhelm Worringer. Form- 
problemc der Gotik, 3d ed. 
(Munich: R. Piper & Co., 1915); 
idem. Die altdeutsche Buch- 
illustration (Munich: R. Piper & 
Co., 1912). 

65 Westheim. "Holzschnitt und 
Monumentalkunst," pp. 50-51. 

66 Edwin Redslob, "Der Weg zur 
Graphik," in Das graphische Jahr 
(1921), p. 10. 

67 Ibid., p. 16. 

68 Hartlaub, Neue deutsche 
Graphik. pp. 93-94, 

69 Willi Wolfradt, "Der Stilkonflict 
in der Kunst der Gegenwart, ' Das 
Kunstblatt 5, no. 2 (1921): 38-48. 

70 For those interested in pursuing 
this subject, articles by two Ger- 
man printniakers from the Third 
Reich may be of interest. See Paul 
Dietrich, "Vom Holzschnitt und 
seiner Aufgabe, ' Das innere 
Reich: Zeitschrift fiir Dichtung, 
Kunst und deutsches Leben 6 
(November 1939): 814-20; Alfred 
Zacharias, "Lob des Holzschnei- 
dens." Das innere Reich: Zeit- 
schrift fiir Dichtung, Kunst und 
deutsches Leben 2., no, 1 (1935): 
29-41; idem, "Von deutscher 
Holzschnittkunst," Das innere 
Reich: Zeitschrift fa r Dichtung, 
Kunst und deutsches Leben 9 
(December 1942-January 1943): 

71 Wiese, Graphik des 
Expressionis7nus, p. 183. 

72 Curt Glaser, "Vom Graphik- 
Sammeln," Das Kunstblatt 3, no. 
11 (1919): 321-30. 



73 Ibid., p. 330. 

74 Walter Ley, "Graphische 
Neuerscheinigungen,"' Das 
Kunstblatt ^, no. 11 {1919): 

75 For a detailed discussion of this 
publication, see Beate Jahn and 
Freideniann Berger, eds.. Die 
Schaffendcn: Eine Auswahl der 
Jahrgdnge i bis in und Katalog des 
Mappemverkes (Leipzig and Wei- 
mar: Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, 

76 Ley, "Graphische 

N e ue rsche in igun gen ,' ' 

PP- 336-37- 

77 Paul Westheim, "120 Blatt 
Originalgraphik," Das KunstUatt 
6, no. 10 (1922): 440, 442. 

78 Hartlaub, Neue deutsche 
Craphik, pp. 94-96. 

79 Gustav F. Hartlaub, Die Graphik 
des Expressionismtis in Deutsch- 
/anf/ (Stuttgart: Verlag Gerd 
Hatje, 1947), p. 52. 


Otto Lange 

Germany, 1879-1944 

VerspottungChristi, probably 

after 1919 

(The mocking of Christ) 

Color woodcut 

20% X 18^16 in. (52.4 X 46.2 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 198 

Davis 1704 



Alexander Diickers 


The collection of the Robert Gore Rif kind Center for German Expres- 
sionist Studies includes more than seventy portfolios containing approxi- 
mately eight hundred graphic works by more than 120 artists. The earUest 
was issued in 1898 by the Verein fiir Originalradierung (original etchings 
society) in Munich; the latest are the eleven Holzschnitte niederrhein- 
ischer Kiinstler (Woodcuts by artists from the lower Rhine) of 1934. The 
artists represented in these portfolios range from those who are now for- 
gotten or who were known only in Germany, such as Walter Grammatte 
and Felix Meseck, to well-known figures such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, 
George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, and Oskar Kokoschka.i 

Any attempt to discuss such a huge body of work, even in 
the barest outline, would far exceed the bounds of this essay; only a few 
representative portfolios can be presented here. The choice has fallen to 
the Jahresmappen, or annual portfolios, of the Briicke group, which ap- 
peared between 1906 and 1912; George Grosz's Gott mit uns (God with 
us) of 1920; Max Beckmann's Jahrmarkt (Annual fair) of 1922; and Otto 
Dix's Der Krieg (War), published in 1924. 

The works chosen could be categorized by theme, but 
the number of themes is so large and the themes overlap in so many ways 
that such an analysis would be impossible in the space available. ^ So the 
choice has been based on a particular characteristic of German art of the 
first quarter of this century: in no other European country, with the 
exception of Russia, was the art of those years more closely bound to cur- 
rent social and political events. For this reason works have been chosen 
that are not only of outstanding artistic quality but that are also represent- 
ative of specific phases of German artistic and social history. Through 
these four works— or rather, as they include the seven Jahresmappen, 
these groups of works— it is possible to trace the process of stylistic change 
that led from Jugendstil by way of Expressionism to Neue Sachlichkeit, or 
new objectivity. They also mark four phases of German political history: 
the empire of William 11, the First World War, the German revolution of 
1918-19, and the Weimar Republic. 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Stehendes Kind, 1910 

(Standing child) 

Color woodcut 

14% X lo'Yie in. (37.5 X 

27.4 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke VI 


M. 82. 288. 370 b 

Davis 1021 

"Everyone who renders what impels him to create directly and without 
adulteration is one of us." 

This key sentence from the manifesto published in 1906 by the artists who 
called themselves the Briicke (bridge)^ does not shed much light on the 
group's guiding theoretical principles; it is hardly precise enough for that. 
But the four young men who had founded the Briicke in Dresden in the 
preceding year were not especially interested in theory. Fritz Bleyl, Erich 
Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff were be- 
tween twenty-one and twenty-five years of age in 1905; all were students 
of architecture and in any generally accepted sense purely self-taught as 
artists. Kirchner alone had had a few months' training in composition, life 
and landscape drawing, watercolor, and printmaking, "but in the schools, " 
as he himself put it, "not much stimulus was to be found. "■* 

The attitude of the founding members of the Briicke was 
antiacademic in the broadest sense of the word. They had turned against 
not only the institution of the art academy, riddled as it was with histori- 
cism, but also the very notion that art could be "learned " in schools. For 




F^lix ValUMon 

Switzerland, 1865-1925 

La Paresse, 1896 



7 X 8y4 in. (17.7 X 22.2 cm) 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 



Axel Galten-Kallela 

Finland, 1865-1931 
Mddchen und Tod im Walde, 


(Maiden and Death in the 


Woodcut printed in dark brown 

6V2 X 4% in. (16.5 X 11.7 cm) 

Proof before edition in portfoHo 

Die Briicke II (1907) 

M. 82.288.364 

Davis 667 

these artists academic training and theory were supplanted by "faith in 
evolution, in a new generation of creators and art lovers,"^ that is, by a 
belief in the individual. The Briicke artists' self-taught status was no 
impediment; on the contrary it was a necessary precondition for their 
work as creative artists because it set them free to pursue their own 
"evolution" through collective work in the studio and in open-air locations. 
There they were able, as the Chronik KG Briicke (Chronicle of the artists' 
group the Briicke), written by Kirchner in 1913, records, "to study the 
nude, the foundation of all pictorial art, in total freedom and naturalness. 
From . . . this basis there emerged the feeling, shared by all, of taking 
creative stimulus from life itself and submitting to the decisive experience. "® 

The impulse that underlay the artists' work is evident in 
the name of their group. On February 4, 1906, Schmidt-Rottluff wrote: 
"One of the aims of the Briicke is to attract all revolutionary elements— 
that is what the name Briicke means."'' The tone of this is reminiscent of 
the group's manifesto, which makes an appeal to "all the young " to 
espouse a new art that is to be an expression of individual experience 
untrammeled by established norms. Briicke in this sense represents the 
bond that tied the four young men in Dresden to the kindred souls to 
whom their collective offered itself as a spiritual home. 

Another interpretation of the name Briicke, quite com- 
patible with Schmidt-Rottluff's, refers to a passage from Nietzsche's Also 
sprach Zarathustra (Thus spake Zarathustra): "Man is a rope that stretches 
from the animal to the superman— a rope across an abyss. . . . What is 
great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal; what can be loved in man 
is that he is a way across and a way down. "* Here the word bridge repre- 
sents the always precarious spiritual dimension of humanity. The young 
artists, who wanted a name for their alliance and who revered Nietzsche, 




Fritz Bleyl 

Germany, i8S 1-1966 

Haus mit Freitreppe, 1905 

(House with flight of steps) 


SVs X 6"/i6 in. (22.5 X 17.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke I 


Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 



Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Kauernder Akt vom Kitchen 

gesehen, 1905 

(Kneehng nude seen from the 



S'/s X 3'yi6 in. (13.0 X 10.0 cm) 

From portfoho Die Briicke I 


Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 


Erich Meckel 

Germany. 1883—1970 

Die Schwestern: Weibliche 

Akte, 1904 

(The sisters: Female nudes) 


jVa X 5V2 in. (18.7 X 14.0 cm) 

From portfoho Die Briicke I 


Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 


^^i«^ 1 






found in his writings the very attitude that served as their own inspira- 
tion: contempt for the materiahsm of their age. They took no expUcit posi- 
tion in regard to the social and pohtical situation in Wilhehnine Germany, 
with its blend of conservatism and fanatical faith in material progress, but 
their fundamentally antibourgeois attitude, despite their bourgeois ori- 
gins, and their antiacademic approach stood in contradiction to the values 
of their age. 

The first of the Briicke's seven portfolios came out in 
1906, one year after the group's founding; the last appeared in 1912, the 
year before it was dissolved. Their publication was occasioned by the for- 
mation in 1906 of a circle of "passive " members, friends and collectors 
who undertook to promote the group's ideas and to provide financial back- 
ing. In return for a yearly fee of twelve marks (by 1912 it had risen to 
twenty-five), they received a membership card that was an original print 
and an annual report of the group's activities, which was copiously illus- 
trated with original graphics, along with- a portfolio of three or four prints.^ 

If we look at the first Jahresmappe and assess its three 
woodcuts by Bleyl, Meckel, and Kirchner in light of the group's stated 
ambition "to attract all revolutionary elements, " a trace of disappointment 
is inevitable. Revolutionary is one thing that these woodcuts definitely are 
not. Formally they go not one inch beyond Art Nouveau, known in Ger- 
many as Jugendstil. Borrowings from artists who were part of the Art 
Nouveau movement in the broader sense of the term— including Felix 
■Vallotton (see fig. 85); the illustrators who worked for the Viennese pe- 
riodical Ver sacrum; and William Nicholson, whose Types de Londres 
(London types) was published in Paris in 1898— are manifest both in the 
use of the woodcut medium'" and in the style. 

Nor do these works do much to satisfy the Briicke demand 
for direct expression of "experience. " Bleyl's Haus mit Freitreppe (House 
with flight of steps, 1905; see fig. 86) perhaps comes closest to this goal, 
but it does so in the spirit of German Impressionism; experience is medi- 
ated here primarily by the eye and not by the emotions. Kirchner's nude 
(fig. 87), seen from behind, may derive from concrete experience— in con- 
trast to Vallotton, he at least allows one detail, the dent in the cushion 
under the left foot, to suggest the body's weight— but the pose looks con- 
trived. This applies even more decisively to Meckel's woodcut Die 
Schwestern (The sisters, 1904; fig. 88). Although his imagery may be 
drawn from a literary source, Meckel appears to be using the contrast 
between the freely moving, youthful figure and the line of patient, mute, 
crouching women to convey the traditional theme oivanitas, the vanity of 
human life, through the contrast between youth and age.'' The melan- 
choly atmosphere of this scene has overtones of Meckel's later works, 
which are frequently elegiac in feeling, but this does nothing to mitigate 
the dramatic contradiction between the avowed aims of the Briicke artists 
and the actual form and content of their early graphic work. 

A telling illustration of this contradiction is the work 
contributed by the Finnish artist Axel Gallen-Kallela to the second 
Jahresmappe in 1907. This woodcut, Mddchen und Tod im Walde (Maiden 
and Death in the woods; fig. 84), dates from 1895, ten years before the 
Briicke's formation, and is another pure manifestation of Jugendstil. This 




Emil Nolde 

Germany. 1867-1956 

Aht, 1906 


Etching and aquatint 

yVn X 5% in. (19.4 x 14.9 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke n 


M. 82. 288.365 

Davis 2112 


Karl Schmidt-RoMluff 

Germany, 1884-1976 

Holbeinplatz in Dresden, 1906 


8'/2 X i3'yi6 in. (21.6 X 35. 1 cm) 

From portfoho Die Briicke II 


M. 82. 287. 96 

Davis 2528 


Max Pechstein 

Germany. 18S1-1955 

Unsere Fran, 1907 

(Our lady) 

Woodcut printed in dark green 

9 X 478 in. (22.8 X 12.4 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke III 


M. 82. 287. 97 

Davis 2212 


Erich Meckel 

Germany. 1883-1970 

Segelboot, 1907 



6^16 X S^/s in. (16. 1 X 21.9 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke III 


M. 82.288.366 

Davis 1012 


second portfolio occupies something of a special position. Apart from one 
work by Schmidt-Rottluff, it consists entirely of works by new members of 
the group: Gallen-Kallela, Cuno Amiet, and Emil Nolde. This serves to 
record the broadening of the group's base and no doubt explains why 
Gallen-Kallela's contribution was welcome. Because the founding mem- 
bers were still feeling their way, they were not troubled by the discrep- 
ancy between their statements and their publication of a work expressing 
the decorative concerns of the turn of the century. 

The Swiss artist Amiet was not a central figure in the 
Briicke, nor did Nolde remain in the group for long. Nevertheless both 
men, born in 1868 and 1867, respectively, influenced the younger artists 
of the Dresden group. 1- Amiet's radically simplified style obviously 
matched the younger artists' aspirations, and this explains the cordial 
wording of the letter that Heckel sent him on September 1, 1906: "We saw 
your work with feelings of admiration and enthusiasm. . . . Our group 
would be exceedingly glad to find in you a comrade in arms and a cham- 
pion of its cause. "1^ Amiet was no doubt of interest to the group as well 
because he had spent time in Paris and Pont-Aven studying modern 
French art, in particular the work of Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and 
Vincent van Gogh.''' 

Nolde's contribution to the second Jahresmappe, the 
etching Akt (Nude, 1906; fig. 89), differs in a number of ways from 
the works considered so far. His handling of the subject has neither lit- 
erary nor symbolist overtones; his nude, who makes no attempt to adopt 
a mannered pose, is rendered with spontaneity. No other graphic work 
in the early Jahresmappen so vividly realizes the group's objective of 
"taking creative stimulus from life itself and submitting to . . . experience." 
Nolde not only took as his subject a nude of "free naturalness" but en- 
dowed it, through a dramatic, expressive use of light and shade, with 
palpable presence. 

Schmidt-Rottluff's contribution to the second Jahres- 
mappe makes it clear that it was intended not only to present the group's 
new members but also to introduce new graphic techniques. Just as 



Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880- 193S 
Portrdt Schmidt-Rotthiff. 1909 
(Portrait of Schmidt-Rottluff) 
Woodcut printed in red 
15% X 11% in. (40.0 X 29.8 cm) 
From portfolio Die Brucke iv 


Davis 1427 













Nolde taught the younger Brucke members the technique of etching, 
Schmidt-Rottluff introduced them to hthography, as Kirchner confirms in 
the Chronik. In 1906 Schmidt-Rotthiff produced no less than thirteen 
works in this medium, including the one in the portfolio, Holbeinplatz in 
Dresden (fig. 90), a night view of a market square, all lamplight and great 
umbrellas, above which looms the dark mass of a fountain dedicated to 
Justitia. He sketches the view in a few terse strokes— as lithography, 
which is closer to drawing than any other printmaking technique, per- 
mits—and gives solidity to the composition with large, strongly em- 
phasized areas of darkness. 

In the third Jahresmappe (1908) Max Pechstein, who had 
joined the group in 1906, taking the place of Bleyl, made his first appear- 
ance in this context. Born in 1881, he belonged to the same generation as 
Meckel, Kirchner, and Schmidt-Rottluff, but unlike them he was a 
trained, professional artist who had studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule 
(school of arts and crafts) and later at the Konigliche Kunstakademie (royal 
academy of art), both in Dresden. It is wholly in keeping with the 
Briicke's anticonventional ethos that Kirchner states in the Chronik that 
Pechstein introduced into the fellowship "the endeavor to break free of 
academic sterility." 

In the woodcut Unsere Fran (Our lady; fig. 91), some 
examples of which are inscribed and dated "Paris 08,"'^ Pechstein has 
come a long way from the flowing Jugendstil line that he too had imitated. 
He frees the religious motif from all vague sweetness and historicist clut- 
ter, pulling it back "into life" with a vigorous, almost crude cutting stroke. 
Kirchner too, in his Stilleben mit Kriig iind Bliimen (Still-life with pitcher 
and flowers; fig. 94), takes a step beyond his earlier works. The composi- 
tion is more firmly constructed, and color has been added. Heckel, in the 
woodcut Segelboot (Sailboat; fig. 92), conjures up the power of nature, 
which is intensified by the massive, rounded clouds that serve as em- 
blems of untrammeled motion. The program set forth in the Brucke 
manifesto had been a statement of intention, a verbal breach with the 
past, far outstripping the artists' creative capacity. Now those promises 
began to be honored. 

With the 1909 Jahresmappe the structure of the portfo- 
lios changed. Each of the first three had included the work of three or four 
different artists; from 1909 on, each contained three graphic works by a 
single artist, with a cover designed by another member of the group. In 
the first portfolio of the new type, Schmidt-Rottluff presented two litho- 
graphs, Bildnis Erich Heckel (Portrait of Erich Heckel) and Berliner 
Strasse in Dresden, a view of the street on which both Heckel and Kirch- 
ner had studios, and one etching, Altdresdner H miser (Old Dresden 
houses). These works reveal just how far the artist still had to go in terms 
of formal invention and technical skill before the major achievements of 
his later work. In both lithography and etching he was clearly still in his 
formative phase; whereas his woodcuts of 1909— one need only think of 
Liebespaar (Lovers)'^— are among the most eloquent examples of the art 
of the Briicke. 

The cover of this fourth portfolio (fig. 93), a woodcut by 
Kirchner, incorporates a portrait of Schmidt-Rottluff together with three 





Ernst Ludwjg Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Stilleben mit Krug und Blwnen. 


(Still life with pitcher and 


Color woodcut 

8 X 6% in. (20.2 X 16.8 cm) 

Proof before edition in portfolio 

Die Brucke m (1908) 

M. 82.288.367 

Davis 1423 

tiny, vignettelike motifs. Printed in red, the image derives its highly indi- 
vidual sense of tension from the wide space that separates the smaller 
subjects on the left from the head on the right. This head is a powerful 
presence, especially compared with Schmidt-Rottluff's portrait of Meckel 
from the same portfolio; it suggests the hand of Kirchner the sculptor. The 
print is given an air of elemental closeness to nature by Kirchner s use of 
the wood grain as part of the composition, a technique familiar from 
Edvard Munch s woodcuts of the 1890s. ^^ 

In the fifth Jahresmappe, published in 1910, Kirchner 
himself is the protagonist, as is Heckel in that of 1911, and both portfolios 
contain masterpieces of the mature Briicke style. The Kirchner portfolio 
features a cover design in black on yellow by Heckel (fig. 96), showing two 
nudes, a woman and a man, who kneel to embrace each other. This is no 
mere decoration; it is an emblem of harmony embodied in physical close- 
ness, an apt prelude to the three prints by Kirchner inside. 

The first of these is a scene of high-spirited, sensuous 
enjoyment in which four naked bathers of both sexes throw reeds at one 
another (fig. 97). In comparison to the still life of 1907 this image of arca- 
dian happiness is marked by sharply contrasting colors that match the 




Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Tdnzerin mit gehobenem Rock. 


(Dancer with lifted skirt) 


9% X 13^16 in. (24.4 X 338 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke V 


M. 82. 288. 369 c 

Davis 1428 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Knieende Akte, igio 

(Kneeling nudes) 


11% X 15% in. (29.9 X 40.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke v 


M. 82. 288.369 a 

Davis 1016 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Mit Schilf werfende Badende, 


(Bathers tossing reeds) 

Color woodcut 

jVs X iiyie in. (20.0 X 29.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke v 


M. 82.288.369 b 

Davis 1432 

animated movements of the bathers: red for the bodies, green for the 
plants and shorehne, black for water and sky. The drawing of the figures 
and of the natural setting is schematic; the composition emerges from 
broadly outlined planes and decisively drawn lines. Kirchner makes no 
attempt to individualize the faces; clearly his concern is to capture not a 
specific experience enjoyed by particular individuals at the Moritzburg 
Lakes, but a moment of delight that transcends the personal. 

The second print in the portfolio, the black-and-white 
woodcut Tdnzerin mit gehobenem Rock (Dancer with lifted skirt; fig. 95), 
is related to the bathing scene in that it too shows a fleeting moment, a 
figure in motion. The erotic keynote is here too, but in a motif with a big- 
city setting, that of vaudeville. 







Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881 — 1955 

Knieender Akt mit Schale, 1911 

(Kneeling nude with Ijowl) 


i4"/i6 X 12 in. (37.3 X 30.4 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke VI 


M. 82. 288. 370 a 

Davis 2220 


Erich Meckel 

Germany. 1883—1970 

Szenc im Watd, 1910 

(Scene in the woods) 


11 X 13% in. (28.0 X 34.9 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke vi 


M. 82. 288. 370 c 

Davis 1023 


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Badeszene unter iiher- 
hdngenden Baumzweigen, 1913 
(Bathing scene under 
overhanging branches) 

i6'/8 X 15^16 in. (41.0 X 38.5 cm) 
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 

In the last print Kirchner takes us back into nature (fig. 
4), so that a sequence among the three prints becomes apparent. This 
final piece, an etching, Drei Badende an den Moritzburger Seen (Three 
bathers at the Moritzburg Lakes), is like the color woodcut in the econ- 
omy with which the figures are evoked, which is in keeping with the 
nature of the medium. A single line traces both the legs of the woman in 
the center and those of the one seated on the right, so that they are in- 
dissolubly interlocked. The mood is markedly different from that of the 
first bathing scene; in place of a joyous, carefree interaction— itself an im- 
plicit counter to the sexual strife and loneliness expressed in the work of 
Munch— there is psychic harmony, peace, and stillness. The concord that 
prevails among these three human beings is suggested by formal means; it 
extends also to nature, of which the figures are an integral part. 

For the 1911 Heckel portfolio, Pechstein provided the 
cover Along with the previous year's Kirchner portfolio, this marks the 
high point of the entire series. The cover woodcut, Knieender Akt mit 
Schale (Kneeling nude with bowl; fig. 98), is not as powerful as Heckel's 
cover for the Kirchner portfolio, but it is a magnificent example of the 
collective Briicke style that in 1910 and 1911 temporarily overrode the 
individuality of the group's members. Heckel gives the portfolio a certain 
structure by presenting three different types of image in three different 
techniques: an interior (woodcut); a scene showing human figures in 
nature (lithography); and a street scene (drypoint). 

The interior, Stehendes Kind (Standing child; fig. 83), 
printed from three blocks in black, green, and red, is a classic work of 
Expressionism. The girl Franzi, who along with her sister Marcella mod- 
eled for the Briicke artists both in Dresden and at the Moritzburg Lakes, 
stands with her thin but lithe and vigorous body twisted round, in an 
attitude combining childish grace with aloofness. Spatial elements play a 
far less important role in the pictorial structure of this work than do color 
and plane. The surface is divided summarily into three broad, horizontal 
background zones, which in the right-hand half are overlaid and tied 
together by the standing figure. The color increases in intensity as the eye 
moves upward, making sharp transitions from black to green to red. The 
skin tone of the naked girl, which is the color of the underlying paper, 
extends across all three zones, so that the head, the most expressive fea- 
ture, is seen against the strongest color, red. Heckel is sparing with ele- 
ments of drawing within the outlines. He emphasizes the line of the 
groin, the navel, the emerging breasts, and especially the face. Above the 
mouth, with its faint hint of a smile, two sweeping lines define nose and 
eyebrows at a stroke, creating wide arcs above the bright, alert, yet some- 
how pensive and inward-looking eyes. Within a face that is already 
highlighted by means of form and color, the eyes are given added em- 
phasis by overdrawing, an Expressionist technique about which both 
Kirchner and Schmidt-Rottluff have written. 1* 

Heckel's characteristic use of an irregularly shaped 
block— in this case one that becomes narrower toward the top— also 
serves to focus attention on the head. The tapering format echoes the 
slenderness of the girl's body, making the image seem weightless. Naked- 
ness is often an emblem of sensuality, but here Heckel depicts an almost 




Erich Heckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 
Strasse mit Fussgdngern— 
Hamburger Hafen, 1910 
(Street with pedestrians- 
Hamburg harbor) 

6"/i6X y'Viein. (17.0 x 20.1 cm) 
From portfolio Die Briicke VI 


M. 82.288.370 d 

Davis 1022 

infantile body, emphasizing the face and especially the eyes, and chooses 
a format and hence a composition that create an effect of lightness. In all 
these ways he adds to a remote echo of eroticism a breath of the sublime. 

The lithograph Szene irn Wald (Scene in the woods; fig. 
99) is another manifestation of the Briicke conception of the unity of all 
living things, yet it also contains a subversive element. The central, 
crouching female figure— in contrast to the two corresponding images in 
the 1910 Kirchner portfolio and to the figures who accompany her— does 
not represent humanity in communion with nature. She has her clothes 
on, her eyes are shut, and she conveys an impression of total introversion, 
which is enhanced by the way her body is shielded from view. The two 
figures in the foreground are also isolated. A similar contrast is evident in 
Kirchner s woodcut of two years later, Badeszene unter iiberhdngenden 
Baumziveigen (Bathing scene under overhanging branches; fig. lOo), in 
which the artist himself appears on the shore as a detached, fully clothed, 
pipe-smoking spectator. 

In the third print in the Heckel portfolio, the drypoint 
Strasse mit Fussgdngern— Hamburger Hafen (Street with pedestrians- 
Hamburg harbor; fig. loi), the theme is space and movement. Not only is 
the curve of the tree-lined street on the right strongly emphasized, but 
the viewjDoint chosen reveals a second street branching off to the left, 
which conveys a sense of opposing movement. An equally strong sense of 
motion is created by a group of three passersby, the leading member of 
which is cut off by the lower edge of the image, as in an action photo- 
graph, and also by the rise and fall of the line of the treetops, which is 
prolonged by that of the roofs. On the sidewalk under the trees, figures 
are walking into town, away from the big, striding figures in the fore- 
ground. A boat sails in the opposite direction, toward the bridge that rises 




Max Pechstein 

Germany, 18S1-1955 

Fischerkopf 7 , 1911 

(Head of a fisherman 7) 


iiVs X 9V2 in. (29.0 X 24. 1 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke VII 


M. 82.288.373 

Davis 2219 

above the line of sight on the right. For all its initial air of northern Eu- 
ropean austerity, this Hamburg street scene reveals an abundance of com- 
plex and problematic sequences of motion that can be read both in the 
obvious sense— as expressions of the multifarious activity of city life— and 
as metaphors of tension. 

The cover of the final Jahresmappe, which was issued in 
1912, is by Otto Mueller. Kirchner and Heckel met Mueller when they 
visited Berlin in 1910, and soon afterward he became the last artist of note 
to join the Briicke. Pechstein, who was responsible for the three prints 
inside this portfolio, had been living in Berlin since 1908, and the other 
active members of the group moved there in the fall of 1911. 

The cover woodcut, Sitzender Akt auf Wiese (Seated 
nude in meadow; fig. 104), printed in gold on a black ground, is remark- 
able for its sumptuous presentation, the harmony between lettering and 



Max Pechstein 

Germany. 1881-1955 

Russisches Ballet 1, 1912 

(Russian ballet 1) 

Etching and aquatint 

ii'yie X 9"/i6 in. (30.0 x 

25.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Briicke vii 


M. 82. 288.371 

Davis 2224 





OHo Mueller 

Moravia, 1874-1930 
Sitzender Akt aufWiese, 1912 
(Seated nude in meadow) 
Woodcut printed in gold 
I4'yi6 X 12 in. (38.0 X 30.5 cm) 
From portfolio Die Briicke vii 


Davis 2049 


Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 

Tanzende iind Badende am 

Waldteich, 1912 

(Dancers and bathers at a forest 


Lithograph with watercolor 

i7'/i6 X I2'yi6 in. (43.3 X 

32.5 cm) 

From portfoUo Die Briicke vii 


M. 82. 288. 372 

Davis 2226 

image, and its lyrical tone, which was characteristic of Mueller. Pech- 
stein's three works are much more down-to-earth; they leave little room 
for halftones, and there is almost no sign of Heckel's and Kirchner's con- 
cern with the harmonizing of subject and form. The central action in the 
etching Russisches Ballet i (Russian ballet i; fig. 103) is rendered in a 
narrative technique, and instead of using the surrounding space to 
develop the theme in a meaningful way, Pechstein contents himself with 
baldly reproducing the exotic stage setting. The woodcut Fischerkopf 7 
(Head of a fisherman 7; fig. 102) is an important testimony to the Briicke 
hankering for the primeval, but formally it lacks tension in comparison 
with the graphic work of most of the other members. Much the same can 
be said of the hand-colored lithograph Tanzende iind Badende am Wald- 
teich (Dancers and bathers at a forest pond; fig. 105), with its manifest 
echoes of Henri Matisse (Pechstein had spent nine months in Paris in 
1908). Here Pechstein pays homage to the Briicke dream of an earthly 
paradise, but his setting owes less to experience than to the desire to 
incorporate the figures into an ornamental pattern. 

The year 1912 brought a breakthrough for the Briicke 
artists in terms of public recognition, but it also marked the beginning of 
the group's end. The Sonderbund exhibition, held in the summer of 1912 
in Cologne, established Cezanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh as the founding 
fathers of modernism; it also included more than thirty works by Munch. 
The Briicke artists, along with Pablo Picasso and the Fauves, represented 
a nucleus of younger talent. In February 1912 the group participated in 
an exhibition in Munich organized by the Blaue Reiter, which traveled to 
Der Sturm in Berlin. In April the Galerie Fritz Gurlitt, also in Berlin, 
organized a Briicke show that traveled to the Galerie Commeter in Ham- 
burg. The work of Pechstein was missing at the second venue, however; 
he had been expelled from the group after a quarrel over the relationship 
between the Bri^icke and a Berlin artists' association, the Neue Sezession 
(new secession). That year the decision was taken to make a written 
record, the Chronik. The group was already laying claim to its place in 
history. The Chronik was published in several small, privately printed 
editions, but Kirchner's account of the origin and development of the 
group was repudiated by the other members, who believed that he had 
grossly exaggerated his own role. In May 1913 the group disbanded. 

The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 bru- 
tally relegated the Briicke ideal, its faith in brotherhood and harmony 
between man and nature, to the realm of Utopian dreams. Disillusion- 
ment had begun to set in even before the war, as Kirchner's Badeszene 
unter iiherhdngenden Baumzweigen of 1913 suggests. As the artist had 
declared that it was his "appointed task " to "create an image of the age,"^^ 
the work can be seen as more than an expression of private conflicts. 
Kirchner, who was more excited than any other member of the group by 
the experience of life in the big city, had captured even more clearly the 
precariousness of that prewar world in his Berlin street scenes, both 
prints and paintings, with their abruptly plunging perspectives and their 
population of demireps. 

Although none of these images appears in the Jahres- 
mappen, they are essential evidence in any consideration of the relation- 



ship between the Briicke artists' work and their times. In 1916 Kirchner 
drew an analogy between his own situation after his wartime physical and 
mental breakdown and the motifs that had characterized his art just 
before the war: "Bloated, one staggers off to work, where all work is in 
vain and the onslaught of mediocrity flattens everything. Like the co- 
cottes that I painted, that is how one is now. Wiped out, next time gone ."2" 





Title page of Der Krieg 

"No, artists are not there to reform and convert. They are far too little for 
that. They must testify." 

Such was the credo of Otto Dix,^' who in 1923-24 recorded his experi- 
ence of the First World War in fifty etchings issued in five portfolios often 
prints each. Dix, who was born near Gera in Thuringia in 1891 and stud- 
ied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden from 1909 to 1914, was drafted 
into the field artillery shortly after the outbreak of war. One year later he 
volunteered for front-line duty, and from then until the fall of 1918 he 
served in France, Flanders, Poland, and Russia. 

Dix was not the only major German artist of his day to 
volunteer for military service. Grosz did the same, not out of any special 
enthusiasm for the business of legalized killing, but because his age made 
him liable to be drafted. As a volunteer, he was eligible for certain privi- 
leges, including that of choosing the branch of the service in which he was 
to serve. Beckmann, for his part, went to the eastern front in September 
1914 as an escort for a shipment of supplies and stayed there as a volun- 
teer medical orderly. ^^ Later he served as a medic in Flanders. It has 
been conjectured that Beckmann's intention was to keep himself from 
becoming part of the machinery of mass slaughter, ^^ and the tone of bit- 
terness and grief in his 1914 etchings Weinende Frau (Weeping woman) 
and Kriegserklarung (Declaration of war)^'* leirds plausibility to this inter- 
pretation. It is contradicted, however, by isolated remarks in his wartime 





Germany, 1891-1969 

Verwundeter, Herbst 1916, 

Bapauine, 1924 

(Wounded man, autumn 1916, 


Etching with aquatint 

7% X iiYs in. (19.7 X 29.0 cm) 

From portfolio Der Krieg 

M. 82.288.51 f 

Davis 4S4.6 


Germany, 1891-1969 

Lens wird mit Bomhen belegt, 


{Lens being bombed) 

Etching with aquatint 

11% X 9"/i6 in. (29.8 X 24.6 cm) 

From portfoho Der Krieg 

M. 82. 288.54 c 

Davis 484.33 


Germany, 1891-1969 
BeiLangemarck. Febniar igiS, 


(Near Langemarck, February 


Etching with aquatint 

gV-i X iiYie in. (24.7 x 29.3 cm) 

From portfoho Der Krieg 

M. 82.288.51 g 

Davis 484.7 

letters: "Out there is the wonderful, tremendous sound of battle, . . . [its] 
special, fearful, magnificent music. "^^ 

Dix's diary of 1915-16 and the postcards he wrote from 
the front in 1914-16 embody similar contradictions. In one place he 
writes: "Lice, rats, barbed wire, fleas, grenades, bombs, holes, bodies, 
blood, schnapps, mice, cats, gas, guns, dirt, bullets, mortars, fire, steel: 
that is war! The work of the Devil!" But Dix was not a pacifist. His concep- 
tion of humanity left no room for belief in a world without war: "Money, 
religion, and women have been the occasion of wars, but they have never 
been the root cause, ivhich is an eternal law." He hoped that "there 
[would] soon be peace" but regarded war as a terrible but inevitable part 
of human life. Dix believed that an artist must have the courage to say yes 
to all aspects of life, both light and dark, and concluded that "war too 
must be regarded as a natural phenomenon. "^^ 

Beckmann expressed similar views, writing in May 1915 
that war "in itself is one of the manifestations of life, like disease, love, 
and lust. And just as I follow fear, disease, lust, love, and hate to their 
utmost limits, well, now I am trying war. It is all life, wonderfully various 
and rich in inspiration."^''' Both artists' beliefs had a common source in the 
philosophy of Nietzsche. Since long before the war, both had subscribed 
to his vitalistic interpretation of the world, his conception of life as a 
"power of motion without a goal, beyond all categories of good and evil, 
which gives birth and devours its own offspring, only to give birth 



Beckmann did not succeed for long in maintaining his 
view of war as a more or less normal phenomenon, however. In 1915 he 
broke down, hke Kirchner in the same year, and like Grosz in 1917.^^ By 
contrast Dix held on through the worst of the "work of the Devil" and 
never changed his view of it. As late as 1961 he said, "The war was a 





horrible business, and yet there was something tremendous about it." 
Two years later he said in conversation with friends: 

I'm a man who is concerned with reality. I have to see 
everything. I have to plumb the depths of life. And so I 
go to war. That's why I volunteered. And when I tell 
people that nowadays, they say, "Good grief so Dix was 
an out-and-out militarist! How does that fit together? He 
painted a war picture that was so frightful, so horrific, 
and now he says he ivas a militarist?" Yes, that's just it! 
What I said was: "If you want to be a hero, you have to 
see this whole mess and still say yes to it."^^ 

The "war picture" to which Dix referred is probably Der Schiitzengraben 
(The trench), painted in 1923 and destroyed during the Second World 
War. He later explained his motive for painting it, saying "I just wanted to 
get rid of it, that's all!"^i But he also confessed that he had "for years, ten 
years at least, always had these dreams in which I had to crawl through 
the ruins of houses, through openings I could barely get through." 
Despite his claims to the contrary— "it's not that painting was a way of 
setting myself free "3^— there can be no doubt that Dix sought release 
from his nightmares through art. His purpose in painting his war pic- 
tures, he said later, was "to banish the war, "^^ but he never entirely suc- 
ceeded, though he went on trying all his life. 

Dix returned to the theme of war in a number of major 
paintings after Der Schiitzengraben , such as the triptych Der Krieg 
(1919-32; Gemaldegalerie, Dresden), Flandern (Flanders, 1934-36; 
National galerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin), 
and the post- Second World War mural painting Krieg und Frieden (War 
and peace, i960; Rathaus, Singen). His desire— and at the same time his 
inability— to exorcise oppressive memories and recurrent dreams may 
explain why, immediately after finishing Der Schiitzengraben, far from 
laying the theme aside even temporarily, he embarked on a renewed and 
massive effort to banish the horror through the fifty prints of Der Krieg. 
Dix's ambivalence toward the war— his view of it as both "horrible" and 
"tremendous"— was still evident in a 1965 interview in which he denied 
having created these works "for the peace of my soul." On the contrary: 
"The cause is the urge to create. I have to do it! I saw it, I remember it, I 
must paint it."^'* 

While working on Der Krieg, Dix relied not only on his 
recollections but also on a large number of drawings that he had made at 
the front. He also set out "to recapture the sensory experience of war, 
painting watercolors of human viscera in the dissecting room, drawing the 
skulls in the Palermo catacombs in 1923, and poring over the photographs 
in Ernst Friedrich's pacifist book Krieg dem Kriege [War on war, 1924]."^^ 

Dix used a number of aids to visualization, but none of 
them went beyond what he himself had experienced. He set out to give "a 
genuine reportage of the war. '^^ What he saw were the crazed, staring 
eyes and clenched hands oi Verwundeter (Wounded man, no. 6; fig. 107); 
the shattered landscape oiBei Langemarck (Near Langemarck, no. 7; fig. 
109); a street in the town of Lens in northern France, where women and 


Germany, 1891-1969 

Besuch bei Madame Germaine 

in Mericottrt, 1924 

(Visit to Madame Germaine's 

in Mericourt) 

Etching with aquatint 

lolA X 7% in. (26. 1 X 19.8 cm) 

From portfoho Der Krieg 

M. 82.288.54 f 

Davis 484.36 


Germany, 1891-1969 
Frontsoldat in Brtissel, 1924 
(Front-Hne soldier in Brussels) 
Etching with aquatint 
iiyi6X7"/i6in. (28.8 X 19.8 cm) 
From portfolio Der Krieg 
M. 82.288. 54 d 
Davis 484.34 


Germany, 1891-1969 
Mahlzeit in der Sappe, 
Lorettohohe, 1924 
(Mealtime in the trench, 
Loretto heights) 
Etching with aquatint 
jVi X iiVie in. (19.6 x 29.0 cm) 
From portfolio Der Krieg 
M. 82.288.52 c 
Davis 484. 13 



Germany, 1891-1969 

Die Irrsinnige von Sainte- 

Marie-a-Py, 1924 

(The madwoman of Sainte- 


Etching with aquatint 

iiYie X 7% in. (28.8 X 19.8 cm) 

From portfolio Der Krieg 

M. 82. 288. 54 6 

Davis 484.35 



Germany, 1891-1969 

Transplantation, 1924 

(Skin graft) 

Etching with aquatint 

7"/i6 X ^Vs in. (19.8 X 14.9 cm) 

From portfolio Der Krieg 

M. 82.288.54 j 

Davis 484.40 




Germany, 1891-1969 

Durch Fliegerbomben 

zerstortes Haus, 1924 

(House destroyed by aerial 


Etching with aquatint 

11% X 9% in. (29.8 X 24.4 cm) 

From portfoho Der Krieg 

M. 82. 288. 54 i 

Davis 484.39 


Francisco de Ck>>a y Lucieiites 

Spain, 1746- 1828 

Estragos delaguerra, 1810- 

c. 1820 

(Ravages of war) 

Etching, drypoint, burin, and 


5'/2 X 6"/i6 in. (14.0 X 17.0 cm) 

From series Los desastres de la 


Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 


children flee in terror or lie prostrate while a bomber swoops over them 
like a great, evil insect (no. 33; fig. 108); medics standing by impotently, 
rendered obsolete by the new reality of murder by gas (no. 3). He also 
witnessed the sheer lust for life that emerges in men who eat, like cattle, 
their meal in the trench (no. 13; fig. 112); in sailors who dance in an Ant- 
werp bar (no. 32); in a visit to an aging, grotesquely bedizened whore (no. 
36; fig. 110); or in the ample, rounded forms of the women at whom a 
soldier looks upward with an air of perplexity and near incredulity (no. 34; 
fig. 111). Dix also saw apocalyptic landscapes of shell craters (no. 4), 
which he described in one of his postcards from the front as "the eye 
sockets of the earth'V^ soldiers dying on barbed wire, their grisly contor- 
tions a modern version of the medieval dance of death (no. 19); the mon- 
strous aftermath of a skin graft (no. 40; fig. 114); and, finally, people who 
are no longer capable of a lust for life but have reacted to death and 
destruction by going to another extreme, that of insanity (no. 35; fig. 1 13). 

Dix rarely shows actual combat in Der Krieg; he is con- 
cerned with the effects of war on people, the qualities it brings out in 
them. He does not adopt a narrative form but offers widely contrasting 
glimpses of war. In the fourth portfolio (nos. 31-40), for instance, he jux- 
taposes a skull stripped bare by worms, an orgy, fighting, a street lined 
with whores, madness, a visit to a brothel, drunkenness, dismembered 
soldiers, civilians killed by bombing from the air, and a survivor with a 
grisly, patched-up face. 

Der Krieg has often been likened to Francisco de Goya's 
Los desastres de la guerra (The disasters of war), and formal affinities 
have been traced, for instance, between Durch Fliegerhomhen zerstortes 
Haus (House destroyed by aerial bombs, no. 39; fig. 115) and Estragos de 
la guerra (Ravages of war; fig. 116).^* One major difference has also been 





Germany, 1891-1969 
Gesehen am Steilhang von 
Clery-sttr-Soinine, 1924 
(Seen on the escarpment at 
Etching with aquatint 
lo'A X 7% in. {26.0 X 19.6 cm) 
From portfoho Der Krieg 
M. 82, 288. 53 h 
Davis 484. 28 



Germany, 1891-1969 

Verlassene Stellung bei 

Neuville, 1924 

(Abandoned position near 


Etching with aquatint 

7% X 5% in. (19.7 X 14.6 cm) 

From portfolio Der Krieg 

M. 82. 288.52 a 

Davis 484.11 

pointed out: Dix, unlike Goya, passes no comment on what is going on.'*^ 
Textually the two sequences do indeed differ in that Dix takes no exphcit 
position, but one thing they share is an insistent emphasis on the authen- 
ticity of what is shown. Number 44 of Los desastres bears the title Yo lo vi 
(I saw it), a claim also made by Dix not only in the 1965 interview but also 
within the portfolio itself Gesehen am Steilhang von Clery-sur-Somme 
(Seen on the escarpment at Clery-sur-Somme, no. 28; fig. 117). 

The fact is that Dix does incorporate a commentai-y, not 
in words, but through the graphic medium. At first glance it seems to be 
the eye of an objective reporter that sees new shoots sprouting from a 
shattered tree in Verlassene Stellung bei Neuville (Abandoned position 
near Neuville, no. 11; fig. 118) or a shell hole ringed with flowers (no. 24; 
fig. 120) or the sun blazing over a battlefield, with its promise of 
undiminished vital power (no. 43; fig. 121). An etching with the same 
theme of death juxtaposed with new life, Toter Soldat (Dead soldier; fig. 
123), was published in 1922 in a portfolio with the programmatic title Tod 
und Auferstehung (Death and resurrection).'"' The three images from Der 
Krieg can thus be interpreted as statements of a position, ripostes to 
death. They have their origin in Nietzsche's concept of the eternal cycle of 
becoming, decay, and renewal, but they are also foreshadowed in earlier 
German graphic art, in that of Max Klinger (see fig. 122), for instance.^' 





Germany, 1891-1969 
Pferdekadaver, 1924 
(Horse cadaver) 
Etching with aquatint 
5"/i6 X j¥i in. (14-5 X 19.7 cm) 
From portfoho Der Krieg 
M. 82.288.51 e 
Davis 484.5 


Germany, 1891-1969 
Granattrichter mit Bluinen, 

FriXhling igi6, 1924 
(Shell crater with flowers, 
spring 1916) 
Etching with aquatint 
5'yi6 X jWif, in. (14.8 X 19.8 cm) 
From portfolio Der Krieg 
M. 82. 288. 53 d 
Davis 484.24 


Germany, 1891-1969 
Essenkoler hei Pilkem, 1924 
(Ration carriers near Pilkem) 
Etching with aquatint 
g% X iiy4 in. (24.5 X 29.8 cm) 
From portfolio Der Krieg 
M. 82.288.55 c 
Davis 484.43 


An element of commentary may also be found in images 
that reflect Dix's conviction that war is both "horrible" and "tremendous." 
He shows the horror of war in close-up; he faces reality in all its crudeness 
without attempting to palliate the starkness of human suffering by over- 
laying it with heroism. Yet he also shows the drama of war: the legs of a 
dead horse pointing to the sky (no. 5; fig. 119); the remnants of trees and 
houses that punctuate the skyline ofZerfallender Kainpfgrahen (Disinte- 
grating trench, no. 9); Ndchtliche Begegnung mit einem Irrsinnigen 
(Nocturnal encounter with a lunatic, no. 22); or Uberfall einer Schleich- 




Max Klinger 

Germany, 1857-1920 
Tote Mutter, 1889 
(Dead mother) 
Etching and engraving 
lyysx i3"/i6in. (45.5 x 
34.7 cm) 

From portfoho Vom Tode II 
Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 


Germany, 1891-1969 

Toter Soldat, 1922 

(Dead soldier) 


lo'yis X I3y8 in. (27.5 X 

34.6 cm) 

From portfoho Tod und 


Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 


patrouille (Surprise attack, no. 44), an almost cinematic scene that flashes 
out of the darkness with all the suddenness of the bayonet thrust in the 
sentry's chest. 

None of these appeals to emotion seems contrived or 
imposed; Dix does not manipulate his subjects. He does, however, high- 
light them through the choice of detail, through a low viewpoint, or 
through the use of light and shade. In other prints, such as Besuch bei 
Madame Germaine in Mericourt (Visit to Madame Germaine's in 
Mericourt, no. 36; fig. 110), he uses elements of caricature, but never the 
kind of overemphasis that is designed to intensify the emotional impact of 
a particular object, which is found in Briicke graphics and can also be seen 
in Pechstein's Somme 1916 (see fig. 65). His approach is, one might say, a 
soberer one. "The brutal naturalism," wrote a critic immediately after the 
publication of the portfolio, "is an attempt to give painting a new style of 

Dix was not celebrating heroes, as the propagandistic 
journal Kriegszeit (Wartime) so unremittingly and bombastically did; nor 
was it his concern to mourn the victims and, like Kathe Kollwitz in her 
Sieben Holzschnitte zum Krieg (Seven woodcuts on the war, see fig. 68), 
to call upon the survivors to change their ways. He would certainly not 
have subscribed to her motto, "In this age, I want to have an effect";^^he 
did not believe that the exhortation on her poster Nie wieder Krieg (Never 
again war, 1924) could possibly make any difference. Dix laid claim to an 
artistic mission of another kind, and his choice of subjects, his attitude to 
what he depicted, and his graphic virtuosity"*^ allowed him to perform 
what he saw as the artist's task: to testify. 




Politische Mappe 


Neun Lithographien 




Title page of Gott mit uns 

"Brutality! Clarity that hurts! 

There are enough musics that put people to sleep!" 

When, in April 1918, George Grosz demanded this approach of a painter 
friend— and of himself— as a guiding principle for all future work,^^ the 
slaughter of the First World War was well into its fourth year. The war had 
convinced him that art could be used as a weapon, and the experience of 
the revolution that began in Germany at the end of the war, in November 
1918, and continued into the spring of 1919 was hardly likely to soften his 
hard line. What it did was to make him more keenly aware of the nature of 
his adversary. The first great "manifesto" of Grosz's struggle was the 
portfolio Gott mit uns. A brief look at his earlier work— in particular his 
first two portfolios of prints, the Erste George Grosz-Mappe (First 
George Grosz portfolio) and the Kleine Grosz Mappe (Little Grosz 
portfolio), both published in 1917— helps explain its position and signifi- 
cance in his oeuvre. 

Grosz, born in Berlin in 1893, began his studies at the 
Konigliche Kunstakademie in Dresden. From 1912 to 1916, with some 
interruptions, he attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. His first 
published work appeared in 1910. It was a drawing that he later converted 
into his first original print, the etching Zwei Manner in Betrachtung eines 
Paares (Two men watching a couple, 1911).'*'' The drawing was repro- 
duced in Ulk, the humorous supplement to the daily Berliner- Tageblatt, 
and it is this, rather than anything in the work itself, that classifies it as 
satirical. It is only one of Grosz's many early drawings that display an 
affinity with the fashionable linearity of Jugendstil. Even during his time 
in Dresden, however, he had begun to explore the tangible world, draw- 
ing constantly in order to capture those impressions that the plaster casts 
of the academy drawing classes could not offer him. 

Grosz's sketchbooks from this early period have the air of 
an inventory, but this does not mean that his subjects were chosen at ran- 
dom. His wanderings in Berlin did not take him along Unter den Linden, 
into the fashionable West End, or to the middle-class residential areas; 
they took him instead to the back door, as it were, of the whole sprawling 
industrial conurbation. The dismal landscape of the outskirts of Berlin 
provides the subject matter of a succession of early prints with titles like 
Bahndamm (Railroad tracks), Zirkiis (Circus), Arbeiter (Workers), and 
Arbeitergegend (Working-class district).'*'^ 

There is a sense of taking stock also in the sequence of 
five closely related self-portraits that date from 1913-14; they bear all the 
marks of juvenile self-interrogation in front of a mirror.''^ Other figural 
prints of this period, with their subjects' exaggerated physical characteris- 
tics and eccentric arm and hand gestures, oscillate between caricature 
and an expressive language reminiscent of Ludwig Meidner's, conveying 
psychic upheavals through a radical remolding of the human face and fig- 
ure. ^^ These early works reveal the desire to understand the world that 
presents itself to the artist's eye, but there is also a second, subliminal 
thematic level. This draws on Grosz's reading of that late Symbolist fic- 
tion, much of it comparatively trivial, that looks beyond the reality of 
bourgeois life to a shadow side that is violent, spine-chilling, heavy with 
eroticism. Der Mord (Murder) and Lasterhohle (Den of iniquity) bear the 



influence of the penny-dreadful fantasies that formed the young artist's 
staple reading.^** 

On November 13, 1914, Grosz volunteered for military 
service for reasons that have already been discussed in connection with 
Dix.^i He probably never went to the front, and on May 11, 1915, he was 
discharged as medically unfit for duty.^^ His time in the army, however, 
and the omnipresence of the war in newspapers, rallies, speeches, and 
parades opened his eyes to one devastating fact. The acceptance of vio- 
lence and the craving for life were not confined to distant battlefields; the 
great city to which he returned was the very source and focus of the 
plague. From that time onward he set out to strip people and objects of 
their flimsy masks of pretence. 

Grosz told of slaughter not only on the battlefield but also 
in the cities themselves in works such as Attentat (Attack), Blutiger 
Karneval (Bloody carnival), ^^ and Krawall der Irren (Riot of the insane; 
Kleine Grosz Mappe, no. 6; fig. 125). Erotic desires no longer seek out 
the seclusion of shady drinking dens but flaunt themselves in the daylight 
oi Strassenbild (Street scene; Kleine Grosz Mappe, no. 3; fig. 126): a man 
raises his hat, and the top of his skull comes, off, revealing that he is men- 
tally undressing a woman. ^"^ 

Once Grosz came to see the appearance of things as a 
masquerade, he dissolved the scenic unity of space and time and came 
close to the pictorial formula developed by the Futurists, who had exhib- 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Krawall der Irren, 1915-16 

(Riot of the insane) 

Transfer lithograph 

gYiB X 5% in. (23.7 x 14.6 cm) 

From portfoho Kleine Grosz 


M. 82. 288. 72 f 

Davis 951 6 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Strassenbild, 1915-16 

(Street scene) 

Transfer lithograph 

gVift X 5V2 in. (23.4 x 14.0 cm) 

From portfolio Kleine Grosz 


M. 82. 288. 72 c 

Davis 951.3 





George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Der Dorfschullehrer. 1915-16 

(Village schoolmaster) 

Transfer lithograph 

Sys X 5^16 in. (21.3 X 13.5 cm) 

From portfolio Kleine Grosz 


M. 82. 288, 72 q 

Davis 951. 17 

George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Peripherie, 1915-16 


Transfer lithograph 

i2'/i6 X 8Vb in. (30.6 X 22.5 cm) 

From portfolio Erste George 


M. 82.288.71 g 

Davis 950.7 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Die Fabriken, 1915-16 

(The factories) 

Transfer lithograph 

8% X sVie in. (21.3 x 13.5 cm) 

From portfolio Kleine Grosz 



Davis 951. 14 

George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Erinnerung an New York, 


(Memory of New York) 

Transfer lithograph 

i4ya X iiYs in. (37.8 x 29.6 cm) 

From portfolio Erste George 


M. 82.288.71 a 

Davis 950. 1 

ited in Berlin as early as April 1912: reality is captured not by a static, 
framed section of the visual field, but by the representation of moving 
objects and of contrasting events occurring simultaneously in different 
places. "The Holy Simultaneity" was now Grosz's ideal. ^^ The simul- 
taneistic panoramas of Erinnerung an New York (Memory of New York; 
Erste George Grosz-Mappe, no. i; fig. 130) and Die Fabriken (The fac- 
tories; Kleine Grosz Mappe, no. 14; fig. 129) testify to the artist's fascina- 
tion with the vitality of the modern city. 

With the possible exception of the skyscrapers of Grosz's 
New York vision, which is not a "memory " at all but a fantasy, the archi- 
tecture in his work has none of the Futurist rhetoric of progress and the 
"age of speed." He treated the facades of buildings as he did the garments 
of human beings, stripping them of their historicist decor, leaving them 
unadorned and bare, with perhaps one absurd turret, unmasking them as 
what the poet Theodor Daubler called "crates for people. "^^ These ci- 
phers for buildings, which appear frequently in Grosz's first two portfolios 
(see fig. 128), have none of the solidity of real structures. Lightweight as 
collapsible cartons, often devoid of side and back walls, they lean out of 
plumb, their sharp, pen-drawn outlines often converging and conflicting. 
The same high tension pervades the pictorial space, which often unfolds 
in a zigzag, and the attitudes of the people, who not only cross one an- 
other's paths but also often seem to be facing two ways at once. Grosz 
adapted the methods of Futurism, the Cubist multiple viewpoint, and the 
summary depiction of objects in children's drawings and graffiti in order 
to translate reality into a configuration of sharply delineated forms. 5''' 

Antithesis became the foundation of Grosz's work. He 
drew a world that is as fragile as it is explosive, and he constantly con- 
fronted desire with death. The street corner, with its implicit spatial dia- 
lectic, became a favorite setting. It creates unexpected encounters; it 
reveals and conceals at the same time; it allows some to emerge into the 
light while affording others, like the murderer (see fig. 131), anonymity. 
And death too has its antithesis here: not only the naked woman at the 
window but the mongrel bitch with bulging teats. 

Grosz often combined the polarity of desire and death 
with elements from other contexts to compose a tight chain of motifs and 
associations replete with contradictions. He said of the print Menschen in 
der Strasse (People in the street; fig. 132), from his first portfolio: "I drew 
... a cross section through an apartment building: in one window a man is 
hitting his wife with a broom, in the second two people are making love, 
in the third someone is hanging from the transom with flies buzzing 
around him. "^^ There is a fourth motif as well, that of a social outcast who 
peers out of the barred window of the basement. 

Such images are like drawers with a succession of false 
bottoms, each containing something completely different from the oth- 
ers. They also recall the masks behind which Grosz chose to conceal him- 
self. He introduced himself to Wieland Herzfelde, founder of Malik- 
Verlag, the publishing house that was to issue nearly all of Grosz's 
portfolios, as a "businessman from Holland."^^ Around the late summer of 
1916 he changed his name from Georg Gross to George Grosz. Like his 
friend Helmut Herzfelde, who renamed himself John Heartfield, Grosz 



was trying to distance himself from the prevaihng mood of warhke na- 
tionahsm. From then on he pronounced his surname with a short o, to 
rhyme with cross. ^^ The harder sound of the new name was a contributory 
sign of a new identity. He also used a whole string of pseudonyms with 
contradictory associations that indicate his capacity to identify simulta- 
neously with disparate and indeed irreconcilable roles. ^^ 

In early January 1917 Grosz was recalled into the army, 
only to be transferred shortly afterward to Gorden mental hospital near 
Brandenburg. From there he wrote on April 4: "Day after day gasped 
away, slowly seep hours when fettered or immured, only at times does 
imagination scale the palisades that the spirit of chaos and confusion, the 
spirit of reactionary bombast, has set up around us— dreams, dreams of 
endless, destructive hate! Mists of hate, beclouding the burning brain!"^^ 
At the end of April 1917 he was sent home, and on May 20 he was dis- 
charged on grounds of "permanent unfitness for duty.""*^ 

He responded to the torment of those months with 
intensified hostility to all that was inherited and established: "That this 
age is on a destructive downward course: of this I am immovably sure."^"* 





/n \^\ 


He became even more unshakably convinced that the only path open was 
that of negation. The images of dancing stars and a pipe-smoking moon in 
the Erste George Grosz-Mappe and Kleine Grosz Mappe (see fig. 127), 
done before his second period of mihtary service, can be seen as hnks in a 
chain of antitheses and as ciphers of a veiled but still perceptible hope. 
Such celestial portents were to disappear almost without a trace. 

The message of Dadaism, brought to Berlin from Zurich 
early in 1917 by Richard Huelsenbeck, was that there must be a clean 
sweep. Grosz had arrived at the same position independently. Like the 
other manifestations of Dadaism— in Zurich, Paris, and Cologne— Berlin 
Dada, in which Grosz speedily became a leading figure, was avowedly 
antiartistic. Grosz condemned the Expressionists along with the Cubists, 
whom he regarded as narcissistically obsessed with issues of form. What 
they produced was Kunscht— or "art, schmart"— and he wanted "nothing 
whatever to do with it. Once and for all, it is time to toss out that vapid 
French tradition that has almost monopolized German painters. No more 
dreary sentiment— insipid painters— Cezanne, Picasso, and so forth. ^^ 

Grosz had anticipated the Dada attack on "high" art in 
his espousal of children's drawings; the montages of 1918-19 and the 
incorporation of extra-artistic fragments into his drawings and watercolors 
are a logical consequence of this. But in Berlin— and only in Berlin— Dada 
had another side; after the war and the disappointment of the revolution, 
it became an explicitly political movement. 

When Huelsenbeck moved to Berlin he found a city 

where people iverejust about to start baking bread out of 
straw. The main focus of interest . . . was a vegetable, the 
rutabaga, which was served up as cake, as roast hare, 
and as malt beer. Profiteering was rampant; all moral 
inhibitions ivere cast to the winds . . . And all the time the 
official hocus-pocus of war went right on, military trains 
took shipments of hunmn flesh and pork to the front, and 
that eminent criminal and hypocrite, Guillaume 11, 
continued to make speeches to his people. It was a time of 
pas.sive resistance, a time when patriotic and monarchi- 
cal truths began to be subject to stirrings of doubt, a time 
of mute rage that waited for its moment to strike, a time 
of airless misery. ^^ 

Two years later Berlin was the capital of a defeated, 
demoralized country. The revolution had driven out the kaiser and the 
princes, but in the eyes of Grosz and his friends nothing had really 
changed. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which in the person of 
Friedrich Ebert supplied the chairman of the Council of People's Repre- 
sentatives, had a stain on its record. Amid the nationalistic fervor of 1914 
it had succumbed to the fear of being branded unpatriotic and had voted 
for war credits. And now, after the collapse of the monarchy, it turned to 
the generals, the pillars of the old regime, to ensure public order. 

In 1917 the Independent Social Democratic Party of 
Germany (USPD) broke away from the parent party. In turn Rosa Luxem- 
burg and Karl Liebknecht led a splinter group from the USPD, the 



Spartakus Bund (Spartacus league), which on December 30, 1918, be- 
came the Communist party of Germany, or KPD. Grosz joined the new 
party, as did Heartfield and his brother Wieland Herzfelde, probably 
right after its inauguration. ^'^ 

Gott mit uns appeared in June 1920 and incoiporates nine 
photolithographs with captions in German, French, and English, based 
on drawings done in 1919 (with the exception of number 5, probably drawn 
in 1918). The Rifkind Study Center has the original drawing for number 7 
(see fig. 138).^* The term Lithographien, which appears on the title page 
and suggests that Grosz worked directly on the stone or used a transfer 
technique, is misleading. Art to him and to his publisher, Herzfelde, was 
primarily a political weapon, so the distinction between an original print 
and a reproduction was no doubt meaningless to them. A few months 
after the publication of the portfolio, Grosz wrote; "Art today is an abso- 
lutely secondary matter. Anyone who is able to look further than the walls 
of his own studio can see this. . . . All the same, art is a business that 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Mord, 1915-16 


Transfer lithograph 

9X5'/i6in. (22.9 X 13.5 cm) 

From portfoho Kleine Grosz 


M. 82.288.72 s 

Davis 951.19 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Menschen iti der Strasse, 


(People in the street) 

Transfer lithograph 

ley's X 8^16 in, (27.6 X 21.7 cm) 

From portfolio Erste George 


M. 82. 288. 71 e 

Davis 950.5 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Feierabend. 1919 

("Ich dien") 


i5'/4 X ii'yic. in. (38.7 X 

29.9 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82.288.73 c 

Davis 953.3 






%j}Ml]iM:>^ k^dikJv.4Vr\\ 

n U 


D mt 





demands a very clear decision from anyone who undertakes it. It is not 
immaterial where you stand in this business. . . . Are you on the side of 
the exploiters or on that of the masses, who want to wring the exploiters' 
necks ?"*'^ 

Immediately after Gott mit uns appeared— with the 
description "political portfolio" on the title page— it was shown at the 
Erste Internationale Dada-Messe (First international Dada fair) in Berlin. 
Such typical Dadaist features as the unexpected juxtaposition of fragmen- 
tary objects from widely disparate contexts and the disruption of logic are, 
however, absent from Grosz's prints. It is not because they fit previously 
established criteria of Dadaism that these works are Dadaist; through 
them Dadaism acquired a new face. Its target was no longer merely estab- 
lished art, but something that it had previously attacked only by implica- 
tion; the political establishment. 

Gott mit uns was the motto on the belt buckles of Ger- 
man soldiers; no doubt it had originally been a prayer— "may God be with 
but the nationalist mind had transformed it into an article of 


ovei^weening faith: "God is with us. " In nine images denouncing the cyni- 
cism, stupidity, and brutality of the German military caste, Grosz laid 




George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Gott init uns, 1919 

(God with us) 


ii'/s X leVs in. (30.2 X 42.9 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82. 288.73 a 

Davis 953. 1 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Fiir deutsches Recht und deut- 

sche Sitte, 1919 

("The Germans to the Front") 


I4'yi6 X 12^16 in. (38.0 X 

31.3 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82.288.73 b 

Davis 953.2 


George Grosz 

Germany 1893-1959 

Licht und Luft dem Proletariat, 


(The Workman's Holiday) 


1,3^1 X ii"/i6 in. (34.9 X 

29.7 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82.288.73 d 

Davis 953.4 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Die Gesundbeter. 1918 

(German Doctors Fighting the 



I2yi6 X iiys in. (31.6 X 29.6 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82. 288.736 

Davis 953.5 

bare the hypocrisy that underlay this behef. His targets hit back. Shortly 
after the portfolio came out, Grosz was indicted for "insult to the German 
Army." The suit, brought by the Army Ministry, ended with a verdict that 
some regarded as truly Dadaist. A Berlin newspaper reported in April 
1921: "The court ordered the artist Grosz to pay a fine of 300 marks and 
the publisher Herzfelde to pay 600 marks, ordered the plates and printing 
forms to be confiscated and destroyed, and assigned publication rights to 
the ministry— Dada!"'*' 

The first two prints in the portfolio present representa- 
tives of the German military. In the first (fig. 134), four soldiers march 
along like puppets on strings. The second (fig. 135) depicts a brooding, 
bemedaled officer in a spiked helmet with his retinue: the fat, brutal, 
stolid type with revolver in hand; the cool, arrogant type with a cigarette 
in the corner of his mouth; and two subordinates who stand rigidly at 
attention at a respectful distance, awaiting orders. On a meadow carpeted 
with flowers, these worthies stand, as the German caption has it, Filr 
deutsches Recht und deutsche Sitte (For German right and German tradi- 
tional values). The English caption, "The Germans to the Front," is no 
more reassuring,'^! \y^i (-j-^g j^ost pertinent comment on the events of the 
immediate postwar period is provided by the French caption: Les boches 
sent vaincus—Ie hochisme est vaincjueur The hoches (a First World War 






l'£tat, c'eST moi 






slang term for Germans, originally meaning "woodenheads") were 
beaten, but bochisme—SLt least on home ground— was the victor. 

It would far exceed the scope of this essay to attempt to 
recount the historical events that lie behind this portfolio; it must suffice 
to point to a few of the more salient developments. In the wake of the 
street fighting that broke out in Berlin in December 1918, the USPD left 
the government. A mass demonstration of left-wing workers on January 
5, 1919, signaled the beginning of the Spartacist uprising, which lasted 
until January 12. The commander in chief, Gustav Noske of the SPD, 
quelled the uprising with troops mustered in the environs of Berlin by 
officers of the old army. "The doom of the German Republic was sealed, 
not by the fact that Noske used force, but [because of] the troops he used 
to exert that force. . . . Soon the German Republic had a counterrevolu- 
tionary army led by the kaiser's officers. "^^ Luxemburg and Liebknecht 
were murdered on January 15 by troops loyal to the old regime. 

Another important event was the March 1919 insurrec- 
tion in Berlin, which emerged from the decision to hold a general strike; 




George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Die vollendete Demokratie, 


("The World Made Safe for 

Detnocracy" ) 


l/'/a X ll'yie in. (445 X 

30.3 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82. 288. 73 f 

Davis 953.6 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Zuhiikcr des Todes, 1919 

(The Pimps of Death) 


i5'/8 X ii^/ie in. (38.4 x 

30. 1 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 


The political objectives of this and similar actions were 
the adoption of socialism . . . and the disbanding of the 
volunteer corps. . . . At the outset of the Berlin uprising 
there were many minors of alleged atrocities on the part 
of the insurgents. Noske let himself be rushed into 
issuing a fateful order. He decreed that any insurgent 
who was caught with a weapon in his hand wotdd be 
shot. Noske intended this to act as a deterrent and bring 
the insurrection to a speedy end. But he should have 
known the meiitality of his volunteers better, and he 
shoidd have understood the consequences of an order to 
shoot. The suppression of the March igig uprising . . . 
was accompanied by mass shootings. Very many of those 
killed had nothing at all to do with the uprising. The 
ivorst case of this type is associated with one Lieutenant 
Marloh of the government forces . A group of sailors . . . 
[who] had not joined the insurrection lined up peacefully 
to collect their pay. Marloh had [them] surrounded, 
arrested, and shot en masse. '^^ 

The diplomat, collector, and publisher Count Harry Kessler, who knew 
Grosz,''''* said of this event that it had "opened a rift within the German 
people that would not heal for decades."''^ 

A second locus of the German revolution was Munich, 
where workers' and soldiers' councils, or Soviets, had been formed even 
before the upheaval in Berlin. On November 7, 1918, a republic was pro- 
claimed, and Kurt Eisner of the USPD was named premier. Eisner was 
murdered on February 21, 1919, by a young man who, because he was 
half Jewish, had been "expelled from the Thulegesellschaft, an association 
that later boasted with some justification that it was the germ cell of the 
Nazi movement."''^ A few weeks after the killing of Eisner a soviet repub- 
lic was proclaimed in Munich, whereupon the central government in Ber- 
lin decided to resort to force: 

The Reich government dispatched a number o/Freikorps 
[volunteer corps] to Munich to suppress the soviet 
republic. These were joined by newly formed Bavarian 
volunteer units. These Bavarian volunteers, who were 
recruited from the bourgeoisie and led by officers of the 
old king's army, wanted to put an end to the whole 
Bavarian revolution and all Eisner's handiwork. The 
animosity of the government troops was intensified when 
it became known that the Soviets had ordered a number 
of bourgeois hostages to be shot. On May 1 and 2 the 
government troops took Munich. There were hundreds 
of shootings. . . . The grisliest episode was when a group 
of volunteers broke up a peaceful meeting of twenty 
members of a Catholic fellowship, decided the members 
were Spartacists in spite of their protestations to the con- 
trary, and slaughtered them to a man.'''' 







The German title of the third hthograph of Gott mit uns 
is Feierabend (After work; fig. 133). The French title, L'angehis a Munich, 
together with the towers of the Frauenkirche, serves to localize the scene. 
The day's work done, a soldier leans against a tree in an idyllic riverside 
landscape, smoking a cigar and observing with total indifference the 
cadavers washed up on the riverbank.'''* 

The fourth print is entitled Licht iind Liift dem Proletar- 
iat/ Liberie, egalite , fraternite / The Workman's Holiday (fig. 136). A close 
variant was published on May 1, 1919, under the title Maifeier in Plotzen- 
see (May Day in Flotzensee), on the cover of the satirical paper Die Pleite 
(Bankruptcy).™ The leadership of the new German state, which set out to 
govern in accordance with the ideals formulated during the French Revo- 
lution, soon found itself oppressing the majority of the population with 
the aid of the military. In the print prisoners arrested at the time of the 
Spartacist uprising and the March 1919 insurrection celebrate the "work- 
man's holiday " in the yard at Flotzensee Prison in Berlin. The world out- 
side the prison walls is nothing but a variation on that within. In one tiny 
detail Grosz shows a sooty sky, a smoking chimney, and a factory building 
with barred windows. 

The fifth image, German Doctors Fighting the Blockade 
(entitled Die Gesundbeter, "praying for recovery," in German; fig. 137), is 
the only one to refer specifically to the First World War. A skeleton, sym- 
bol of the starved, exhausted Germany of the war's last months, is 
declared KV {kriegsverwendiingsfdhig, "fit for active duty ") by the medi- 
cal officer of the draft board. It has been pointed out that both this image 




George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Die Kommunisten fallen— und 

die Devisen steigen, 1919 

(Blood Is the Best Sauce) 


12 X ly'Yie in. (30.5 x 45.2 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82. 288.73 g 

Davis 953.7 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Den niacht uns keiner nach, 


{"Made in Germany") 


1 1'/ir, X 9% in. (28.4 X 24. 7 cm) 

From portfolio Gott mit uns 

M. 82.288.73 h 

Davis 953.8 




and Bertolt Brecht's "Legende vom toten Soldaten " (Legend of the dead 
soldier) have their origin in a story that made the rounds in Germany at 
the end of the war, to the effect that dead bodies were being dug up to be 
sent to the front.'**' Grosz, who often titled his works differently according 
to the political situation or the place of publication, brought the theme up 
to date when the drawing was first published, in the third issue of Die 
Pleite, in April 1919, by adding a reference to a doctor's strike that took 
place during the months of upheaval following the war: "Dedicated to the 
doctors of Stuttgart, Greifswald, Erfurt, and Leipzig. They supplied Death 
with his prey for four and a half years; now that their job is to keep people 
alive, they have gone on strike. They have not changed. They have remained 
true to themselves. They fit into the German revolution." 

This is followed by an image of the obscenity of power 
(fig. 139): figures of Death, dressed as whores, walk the streets of the red- 
light district, as do two little figures of bourgeois men. The kaiser's flag 
flies over all. There is a distant echo of the motif of Eros and Thanatos, 
familiar from northern European Renaissance art and revived by Munch 
and Beckmann, but Grosz interprets it in political terms. Death's prey is 
brought in by the officer class; they are his procurers. 

In numbers 7 and 8 Grosz expresses his view of power 
relationships in postwar Germany (fig. 138). The German title of number 
7, Die vollendete Demokratie (Democracy perfected) is his sarcastic gloss 
on an image of the working man, cudgeled by the military, handcuffed, 
but clenching his fists. And that, of course, is also the import of the En- 
glish title, "The World Made Safe for Democracy," a free quotation from a 
speech made by President Woodrow Wilson a few days before the entry of 
the United States into the war on April 6, 1917. In Grosz's eyes this ele- 
vated goal is twisted into its exact opposite, the absolute rule of the mili- 
tary caste (hence the French title, L'etat, c'est moi). 

Die Kommunisten fallen— und die Devisen steigen (The 
Communists fall— and the currency rises)*' becomes in French Ecrasez la 
famine (Crush famine) and in English Blood Is the Best Sauce (no. 8; fig. 
140). Above the well-provided table at which two gentlemen are dining, a 
wild mob of soldiers is killing two workers, one of whom is identified as a 
demonstrator by the tattered banner he holds. Grosz is commenting not 
only on the suppression of the revolution but also on the crushing poverty 
that affected much of the German population at the time. 

Gott mit uns ends with a profile head of a soldier (fig. 
141) whose expression conveys a stupidity not far short of imbecility and 
whose ugliness Grosz makes demonic in a manner that recalls late medi- 
eval art, turning it into a symbol of evil: Den macht uns keiner nach I 
Honni soit qui mal y pense I "Made in Germany."^^ 

This portfolio marks a decisive shift in Grosz's work. In- 
stead of capturing fleeting moments in which figures meet and rush past 
one another, he presents single scenes with clearly readable spatial con- 
texts. There is an element of simultaneity in Die Kommunisten fallen, but 
the former multiplicity of events has become a single stark juxtaposition. 
The war had reduced Grosz to a state approaching blind rage. The revolu- 
tion provided a target for this rage, directing it against specific groups 
within society. 



</y<. f. 


Wilhelm Pliinnecke 

Geiniany, 1894-1954 

Untitled (title page), 1919 


iS'/j X ii'/a in. (46.4 X 29.2 cm) 

From portfolio Die Marseillaise 

83.1.28 a 

Davis 2304.2 


Constantin wn Mitschke^llande 

Germany, 1884-1956 

Die Zeit ist reif, 1919 

(The time is ripe) 


13% X ii"/i6 in. (,35.0 X 

30.0 cm) 

From portfolio Der begeisterte 


M. 82.288.211 f 

Davis 2008.6 

^«(»i..*«.i«^ *»otit- 

Unlike Constantin von Mitschke-Collande, whose port- 
folio Der begeisterte Weg (The inspired way, 1919; see fig. 143) cele- 
brated the revolution as the beginning of a new age whose coming, 
though subject to delay, was inevitable, Grosz saw the reality of defeat 
and in the act of saying so achieved a "clarity that hurts." The kind of 
virtually comment-free, idealized images that Wilhelm Pliinnecke pro- 
vided in his portfolio Die Marseillaise (The Marseillaise, 1919; see fig. 
142), with their modishly elongated figures of revolutionary heroes, could 
never satisfy Grosz. And his intimate political involvement prevented him 
from interweaving the themes of war and revolution, as in the timeless 
vision of Beckmann's Die Holle (Hell, 1919).*^ 

Shortly after the publication of the Erste George Grosz- 
Mappe, a reviewer noted: 

This cynic is a secret moralist. Negation is merely his 
manner of speaking; what he really . . . loves is the posi- 
tive. One might think: one little push, and he would he 
painting pictures full of ecstasy and mysticism. It is his 
personal bad luck that he is condemned to be a caricatur- 




ist. In any case he is never going to be a humorist like 
Williehn Busch, one of the comfortable kind. There is no 
telling tvhat he will become. For the time being we recall 
the old saying that yes and no are very close neighbors, 
in life and in art.^* 

Grosz became the prototype of the twentieth-century 
political artist and consequently the one most bitterly persecuted by the 
reactionary bourgeoisie. In later years he distanced himself from his 
political and satirical work; he had lost his faith in art as an effective 
instrument for promoting political change. He was not prepared to give 
up thinking for himself in favor of following a party line, but he continued 
to fight against oppression and for the powerless.**^ His attitude is 
summed up by the title of his memoirs, which was perhaps inspired by 
the words of that early critic; Ein kleines Ja und ein grosses Nein (A little 
yes and a big no). 








Title page of Jahrmarkt 

"If one regards all this-the whole war, or even the whole of life-as merely 
a scene in the theater of infinity, much becomes easier to bear." 

Max Beckmann wrote this sentence in 1940,'*'^ but the self-protective idea 
was one he had espoused decades earlier. In the margin of the drawing 
Mann mit KriXcke im Rollstuhl (Verwundeter Soldat) (Man with crutch in 
wheelchair [wounded soldier]), now in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, he wrote; 
Theatre dti monde— Grand Spectakel [sic] de la vie (theater of the world- 
grand spectacle of life). He originally wanted to give the portfolio Gesicht- 
er (Faces, 1919) a different title, Welttheater (Theater of the world), ^''' and 
the portfolio Die Holle, published in the same year and encapsulating his 
experience of war and revolution, was described on the cover as a "grand 
spectacle in ten pictures." 

After studying at the Grossherzogliche Kunstschule 
(grand-ducal art school) in Weimar and spending several months in Paris, 
the twenty-year-old Beckmann settled in Berlin in 1904. Over the next 
ten years he produced the work of his early phase, idiosyncratically com- 
bining themes from mythology. Christian tradition, and contemporary 
history in a style that has been dubbed "expressive impressionism."*'^ His 
concerns are expressed in a diary entry of 1909, written after a visit to an 
exhibition of Chinese art: "My heart beats more for a rougher, more ordi- 
nary, more vulgar art that does not live in a poetic, fairy-tale dream but 
admits the fearful, the common, the magnificent, the ordinary, the banal 
grotesque in life. An art that can always be directly present to us when life 
is at its most real." 

On the same day he noted; "Martin thinks there will be a 
war. Russia England France against Germany. We agreed that it would be 
no bad thing for our rather demoralized present-day civilization if every- 
one's instincts and drives were to be harnessed to one cause."^^ 
Beckmann's initial attitude toward war, and the influence of Nietzsche's 
philosophy on him have been mentioned in the context of Dix's Der 
Krieg. It has also been noted that Beckmann, unlike Dix, was unable to 
stand up to war. In April 1915 he confessed that it was "amusing all the 
same, how the peacetime life we cursed and groaned about now elevates 




Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 
Der Nachhatiseiveg, 1919 
(The way home) 
Transfer hthograph 
28'yi6X igyie in. (73.3 x 
48.8 cm) 

From portfoHo Die Holla 
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 


,,^. ^^v^ 

itself with iron logic to the status of paradise.' "" He became aware of "the 
wild lunacy of this vast slaughter." In war, "life had really become a para- 
doxical joke. "^1 

After his mental breakdown in 1915 Beckmann moved to 
Frankfurt, and his art undei-went a fundamental transformation that is 
most fully realized in the painting Die Nacht (Night, 1918-19; Kunst- 
sammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Diisseldorl) and in the lithographs of 
Die Holle, in one of which the composition oi Die Nacht reappears. The 
characteristics of this new pictorial language are epitomized by the first 
print in Die Holle, Der Nachhauseweg (The way home; fig. 145). This 
nocturnal encounter between the artist and a mutilated soldier is marked 
on the formal level by the way the objects are packed tightly together, 
extending beyond the inner border of the image, and by the discontinuity 



of the space. In his "Schopferische Konfession" (Creative credo) of 1918, 
Beckmann wrote: "To me the most important thing is roundness captured 
in height and breadth. Roundness in the plane, depth in the feehng of the 
plane. "^^ Giving spatial context to the elements in a two-dimensional im- 
age creates an impression of dynamism and also of compression. 

Another important element in Beckmann's new pictorial 
language is the encoding of the content. We are forced to decipher, often 
laboriously, what objects are and how they relate to one another; this cre- 
ates a multiplicity of meaning. Then there is his frequent use and progres- 
sive elaboration of elements of Christian and other traditional symbolism 
derived from his knowledge of earlier art, in particular northern Eu- 
ropean art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, for which he expresses 
admiration in the "Schopferische Konfession." A striking feature of his 
imagery is what one critic has called Dingsijmbole, symbolic objects like 
the overturned candles that denote the extinction of life in Der Vorhang 
hebt sich (The curtain is raised; fig. 146).^^ 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1^184-1950 

Der Vorhang hebt sich, 1923 

(The curtain is raised) 

Etching and drypoint 

iiTie X 8V2 in. (29.4 X 21.6 cm) 

Private collection 






Germany, 1891 — 1969 

Die Verdchter des Todes. 1922 

(The disdainers of death) 

Etching with drypoint 

\'t,Vh X lo'/s in. (34- 7 X 27.7 cm) 

From portfoho Zirkus 

M. 82. 288. 50 a 

Davis 476, 1 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Der Ausrufcr—Sclbstbildnis, 


(The barker— self-portrait) 


13'/) X lo'/iB in. (33.6 X 25.9 cm) 

From portfoho Der Jahrmarkt 


Davis 138. 1 



Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Carderobe. 1921 

(Dressing room) 


SVs X 5'Yie in. (20.7 x 14.7 cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82. 288. 19 b 

Davis 138.2 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 18S4-1950 

H inter den Kuhssen, 1921 

(Behind the scenes) 


HVi X 12 in. (21.0 X 30.5 cm) 

From portfoho Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82.288. 19 c 

Davis 138.3 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Abendgesellschaft , 1913 

(Evening party) 

Etching and drypoint 

5% X 7'yi6 in. (14.6 X 19.7 cm) 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berhn 


Each of the Beckmann portfohos issued around 1920 
starts with a self-portrait. In the first image of the 1922 portfolio 
Jahrmarkt, a sequence of ten drypoints that dates from the previous 
year,^^ he appears as Der Ausrufer (The barker; fig. 148). He stands in 
front of a sign reading "Circus Beckm[ann]," rings a huckster's bell, and 
points to the attractions that await the pubhc. The barker is clearly 
aware— to judge by the "trace of insolence in the delicately chiseled fea- 
tures "^^— that the pleasures he is extolling are dubious ones at best. This 
introductory image suggests that Beckmann is trying to distance himself 
entirely from whatever may happen in those that follow, but we shall meet 
him again as a performer in his own circus. 

This circus is very different from the one shown in Dix's 
portfolio Zirkus (Circus; see fig. 147), of the same year. Dix sees hiinself 
once more as an objective reporter. Only on the surface is Beckmann's 
fairground a place of spectacle and backstage genre scenes like those he 
had depicted in earlier works such as the \\i\\ogi&^\\ ] ahrmarkthude (Fair- 
ground booth, 1912).^^ Just as he presented the murder of Rosa Luxem- 
burg as a scene enacted on a fairground stage in the print Martyrium 
(Martyrdom), from Die Holle,^''' here he disguises his real subject, "nor- 
mal" human life, in circus images. 

The barker is not followed immediately by the acts he 
extols; Beckmann first takes us backstage (see fig. 149). In a dressing room 
a woman and a man are seated at makeup tables. They face each other, 
self-absorbed, preparing for a performance of Vanity Fair. The mirror that 
frames the woman's face, a traditional vanitas symbol, points to the 
deeper meaning of the scene: drawing attention to a body by ornamenting 
it only makes us all the more conscious of its transience. 

In the following print, Hinter den Kulissen (Behind the 
scenes; fig. 150), space is tight. The performers are crammed into a low, 
bo.xlike room; its ceiling of rough boards almost touches the heads of even 
some of those who are seated. In spite of their proximity, there seems to 
be no real communication among them; they look past one another. This 
was not a new motif for Beckmann. He is giving pointed expression to a 
theme he had already incorporated in an etching of 1913 that shows a 
bourgeois social gathering, Abendgesellschaft (Evening party; fig. 151). 
He put it into words in an early diary: "People together are lonely."^^ 

All the performers in Hinter den Kidissen are ready to go 
onstage; they are dressed, they know their lines, and all their instruments 
are at hand, but there is no sign of an end to their wait. The bearded man 
in the long robe paces restlessly, the little man seated at the table in the 
foreground is making faces, and the rest gaze ahead in a cheerless stupor. 
The young woman smokes a cigarette to kill time, looking at nothing in 
particular through eyelids that are starting to droop. She has clearly aban- 
doned any thought of going onstage to do her dance; her tambourine, 
propped against the wall, will probably remain at it is, a useless, silent 
accessory. Opposite her sits a man with wide, staring eyes. He leans on 
the table with clasped hands and stares ahead with an air of deadly se- 
riousness, as if overcome by some shattering realization. 

The source of his consternation can probably be traced 
through the motif of the brightly burning candle placed between him and 






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■1 M^^ 

i^^^ft^ . ■ 




■• ''S^VSilii^llSM*^' -' '4M"^V"'''''.i*^ 







f- "'i^ilu^'"^ 


si-j^i-^ijj^ ; 









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Ti^u-i. -ru-' '< t-K-N. 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Der grosse Mann, 1921 

(The tall man) 


iz'/i6 X 8yi6 in. (30.7 X 20.8 cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82.288. 196 

Davis 138.5 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 
Schiessbude. 1921 
(Shooting gallery) 

iz'/a X 9% in. (31.8 X 24.8 cm) 
From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 
M. 82.288. 19 d 
Davis 138.4 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Die Gdhnenden, 1918 

(The yawners) 


i2'/8 X io'/i6 in. (30.8 X 25.5 cm) 

From portfolio Gesichter 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 


X^}x>i. Mlt'tl <<l\ 





the dancer. In contrast to the overturned, spent candles in Der Vorhang 
hebt sich and hke the upright, burning candle in Die Nacht, this one is a 
symbol of life. The mute, frustrated actors sit around it; there is no indica- 
tion that their wait, aggravated by their confinement, will end before it 
gutters out. There is no way out of this antechamber, which is life itself; 
there is nothing more to life than this vain expectation of a "real" life. 
Presumably this is the realization that has struck the man with such force. 

Is Beckmann simply dispelling a widely held illusion, or 
does he go one step further to deal with the reason for so vain a hope? Is 
the bull looking through the window on the right an allusion to the fear of 
taking risks?^^ And the monkey squatting on the floor? In medieval icono- 
graphy the monkey is a symbol of folly; here he might serve to underline 
the foolishness of the human cast, whose role-playing never actually gets 
them onstage. 

The theme of the absurd, of "the world turned upside 
down," recurs in several of these scenes of fairground life. One is left with 
the grotesque impression that the girl holding the gun in Schiessbude 
(Shooting gallery; fig. 153) has a squint. Beckmann does not exploit phys- 
ical defects for hostile purposes, as Grosz sometimes does, but incor- 
porates them into his imagery as signs. Even so, no conclusive interpreta- 
tion offers itself to link the motif with the deeper meaning oi Schiessbude. 
All that can be said is that the squint promotes a false view of nature and 
that this probably has something to do with the suffering creature, trans- 
formed into a target, that can be glimpsed behind the girl's back. 

The sideshow that exhibits the tall man (see fig. 152) is 
swamped by the din of other attractions: the swingboats, the panorama, 
and the performance that the spectators are so avidly watching. The man 
with the wind instrument hanging around his neck is giving the giant's 
performance the best buildup he can, but even those who stand around to 
listen do not seem particularly impressed. At first sight it looks as if the 
woman on the right has opened her mouth to shout, but the look of the 
other spectators and the parallels in earlier works by Beckmann— the 
etching Strasse 11 (Street 11, 1916)''"* and especially the 1918 print Die 
Gdhnenden (The yawners; fig. 154)— make it seem much more likely that 
she is yawning. All endeavors to draw attention to the protagonist have 
been in vain. The audience is indifferent, if not openly bored. 

The faces of the individuals shown, although distorted to 
the point of caricature, suggest that Beckmann may have meant the tall 
man to represent himself and the two figures nearest him, the man at his 
feet on the right and the one with the wind instrument, to represent his 
publishers, Reinhard Piper and I. B. Neumann.'^ilf this interpretation is 
correct and the print incorporates an implied criticism of contemporary 
taste, laced with self-mockery, then it is one early sign of the artist's 
recovery from a long period of existential crisis.'"^ 

The link between the sixth item in the portfolio, Der 
Neger (The Negro; fig. 155) and the lithograph Christ and Pilate (fig. 156) 
from the portfolio Day and Dream (1946) was pointed out some time ago 
by Friedrich Wilhelm Fischer: "The 'harlequin' next to the black obvi- 
ously represents Pilate (see the suggestion of a laurel wreath on the back 
of the head and the pointing gesture). ... It cannot be by chance that an 



\\ ■> Ml, i 1 ' -t ' 'v'^— ^ 

/ f, 


early state of the fairground scene contains the syllable wi, and the final 
version has the clearly legible syllable KEIT. The word ewigkeit [eter- 
nity] was later concealed in a number of pictures, "i*'^ 

The image of an outsider, a black, placed on show as a 
fairground attraction is a modern variant of the ecce homo theme, and the 
word eternity indicates that Beckmann sees the fate of Christ as proto- 
typical of a recurrent pattern of degradation and destruction. The obvious 
affinity between the 1921 and 1946 prints and Der Nachhauseweg sug- 
gests that the mutilated soldier in the latter also stands in line of succes- 
sion to Christ. 

As has often been pointed out, Das Karussell (The car- 
ousel; fig. 157) is a particularly clear image of the world turned upside 
down, for the animals on the carousel are ridden by adults, whose antics 
are watched by two children. The ride has not yet started; the woman on 
the pig still has her left foot on the balustrade. The passengers on this ship 
of fools look forward to their ride in high good humor; their enjoyment is 
all in anticipation. By contrast the showman has a contemplative air. He 
knows that high hopes often come to nothing. 

Already in the great sun of the etching Aiiferstehung 
(Resurrection, 1918)1**'* Beckmann had drawn the spokes of a wheel "as a 
symbol of a mechanical process. "'"^ The carousel can likewise be inter- 
preted as a Dingsymbol of life. Human beings set out on this absurd 
jaunt, unsuspecting, high-spirited, craving pleasure. This craving is rep- 
resented most clearly by the woman who sits with her skirts up on the 
back of a highly realistic pig, "which may well serve as a crude symbol of 
sexuality. "1*'® She seems to prefigure the woman who straddles a reptile in 
Der Vorhang hebt sich and who, together with the crowned woman 
beside her (they personify lust and earthly power, respectively), is the 
object of death's onstage admonition: their rule approaches its end. The 
fairground scene contains no such explicit warning of the vanity of human 
hopes and desires; it relies more on the symbolism of its subject. The 
carousel goes round, gets nowhere, and leaves the riders just where they 
were when they started. The showman is not the only one who is in the 
know; so are the demons who grin from the pillars of the carousel, like 
those who look down on the couple in Liehespaar 11 (Lovers II, 1918). '"' 

Die Seiltdnzer (The tightrope walkers; fig. 159) is described 
in a dedication to Beckmann's first wife as "a self-portrait of both of us."i°^ 
He sees life, one deduces, as a foolhardy high-wire act, and the Ferris 
wheel in the background must be a thinly veiled allusion to the wheel of 
fortune. It is a surprise to see the moon in the picture; it makes no sense 
to suppose that the two artists are performing their routine by moonlight. 
It does not seem likely, however, that the moon is just a meaningless bit of 
scenery. The only other place in Der Jahrmarkt where this particular mo- 
tif appears is Der Neger, and perhaps the idea of eternity, which underlies 
that image, has some relevance here. It seems possible that Beckmann 
used the moon to indicate the permanence of certain unpalatable facts, 
whether the human propensity to despise those who are in some way 
different or the precariousness of human existence. 

There is room to doubt the supposition that some have 
voiced"'^ that in Niggertanz (Nigger dance; fig. 161) Beckmann is revert- 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

DerNeger, 1921 

(The Negro) 


11% X io'/4 in. (28.9 X z6.o cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82. 288. 19 f 

Davis 138.6 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Christ and Pilate , 1946 


I3'yi6 X lo'/s in. (34.4 X 27.6 cm) 

From portfoho Day and Dream 

M. 82.287.60 

Davis 151.15 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Das Karussell, 1921 

(The carousel) 


11716 X 10 in. (29.0 X 25.4 cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82.288. 19 g 

Davis 138.7 

kZSv- ^i^'-^ «*<*.. 



Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1S84-1950 

Malepartus, 1919 

Reduced reproduction of a 


g'Vie X 6'/8 in. (25.2 x 15.6 cm) 

From Die Holle 




Israhel van Mechenem 

Netherlands, c. 1445-1503 
The Dance for the Prize 
{The Morris Dancers), 
c. 1490-1500 

Diameter: 678 in. (17.4 cm) 
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Die Seiltdnzer, 1921 

(The tightrope walkers' 


lo'/s X lo'/ie in. (25.7 x 25.6 cm 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82. 288. 19 h 

Davis 138.8 





Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Niggertanz, 1921 

(Nigger dance) 


lo'/j X 10 in. (26.0 X 25.4 cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82, 288. 19 i 

Davis 138.9 

ing to the theme of racial discrimination. Apart from the fact that such a 
repetition would be unusual within a single portfolio, Beckmann's image 
does not seem calculated to engage our sympathies with the black mu- 
sicians, whose gestures suggest both ecstasy and boredom. Nor does the 
title suggest any involvement with the fate of an oppressed humanity. The 
underlying meaning must be sought elsewhere. 

The key to this image lies not in the skin color of the 
performers but in what they are doing. It may help to refer to Israhel van 
Meckenem's engraving The Dance for the Prize (fig. 158). The gestures 
and movements of morris dancers of the type shown in the engraving 
clearly influenced Beckmann's image of the dancers in the Malepartus 
bar (fig. 160) from Die Holle."" In the present case the reference to the 
Netherlandish engraving implies no formal inspiration but serves to 
elucidate the content: this too is a dance performed to win a woman, one 
who possesses pronounced physical charms. And the dance— the servitude 
of sex— retains its hold even on the obviously jaded man in the center of 
the picture; sexual desire represents an unfreedom from which there is 
no escape. 11^ 

Just as Jahrmarkt begins with a full-page portrait, that of 
the barker, it ends with another, Schlangendame (Snake lady; fig. 162). If 
Der Ausrufer announces what is to come, then Schlangendame may be 
expected to sum up what has gone before. 

A beautiful woman with a fashionable hairstyle, wearing 
an earring, a string of pearls, and a headband emblazoned with stars, 
looks at us with mysterious, hooded eyes. Her adornment is completed 
by the snake that coils round her neck like a living necklace. A visitor, who 
may be on his way in or out, peers through the doorway as if to make sure 
that he is unobserved. He comes to the alluring snake lady in secret; their 
meeting, one deduces, is a forbidden act. 

This woman, who is skin-to-skin with an embodiment of 
mortal danger, is herself the embodiment of the demonic beloved, the 
femme fatale. She is a type who appears many times over in the literature 
and art of the fin de siecle, and Beckmann himself had used her in the 
biblical guise of Delilah. "^ The most famous depiction of the femme fatale 
in the German art of the turn of the century is probably Franz von Stuck's 
painting Die Silnde (Sin; fig. 163), of which eight marginally differing 
versions exist and which was undoubtedly known to Beckmann. His 
Schlangendame is an updated version of Stuck's "eternal Eve" in a circus 
setting. With an image of a woman whose charms bring ruin, an image of 
sin, Beckmann sums up the whole doomed folly of life's Vanity Fair. The 
stars on the woman's headdress can be read as allusions to the timeless 
power of sin and the eternal human folly that causes us to succumb to it. 

The treatment of space and plane in Das Jahrmarkt does 
not manifest the abrupt discontinuities, the splintery sharpness, seen in 
Der Nachhauseweg, for instance. Beckmann has not abandoned the picto- 
rial vocabulary of his earher works, but he uses it with less vehemence. 
This again can be seen as a sign of the gradual heaUng of his psyche after 
the traumatic experience of war. The Welttheater formula ("all the world's 
a stage") that underlies the Jahrmarkt images contributed to this change. 
Beckmann always poured all of himself into his work, and ultimately it 





Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1S84- 1950 

Schlangendame, 1921 

(Snake lady) 


ii'/ie X lo'/ie in. (29.0 x 

25.5 cm) 

From portfolio Der Jahrmarkt 

M. 82.288. 19 j 

Davis 138. 10 


Franz von Stuck 

Germans, 1S63-1928 

Die Siinde. c. 1894 (detail) 


Oil on canvas 

34ys X 2o"/i6 in. (88.0 x 

52.5 cm) 

Nationalgalerie, Berlin (SMPK) 

was through art that he found dehverance from the anguish of the human 
condition. In 1948, in one of his Drei Briefe an eine Malerin (Three letters 
to a painter), he wrote; "In any case the will to form bears within it a 
portion of the redemption that you seek. The way is hard, and the goal is 
endless— but there is a wav.""^ 

An account of the seven Briicke Jahresmappen, Dix's Der Krieg, Grosz's 
Gott mit uns, and Beckmann s Der Jahrmarkt can describe no more than 
a tiny portion of the great panorama of German graphic art of the first 
third of this century. Leaving aside for a moment the printing technique 
used in the Grosz portfolio, they are magnificent products of an age of 
incomparable graphic achievement. The quality of the printmaking of 
those decades is reflected in the fact that it is impossible to assess the 
aims and achievements of, say, the Briicke artists without considering 
their woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs. Der Krieg and Gott mit uns 
are central not only to the work of Dix and Grosz but also to twentieth- 
century German art as a whole. In Beckmann's development of pictorial 
form, graphic art not infrequently played the part of pathfinder. Yet for 
Beckmann, as for the other artists discussed here, prints were in no sense 
mere by-products: "The graphic work is not a sketch but a concentrated 
essence, a definitive formulation of a motif that has been reduced to its 
core of rhythmic and expressive content. Such works are the antithesis of 
fleeting improvisations.'^'^ 

Translated from the German by David Britt 




1 On the portfolio in general, see 
Gerhard Pommerantz-Liedtke, 
Der graphische Zyklus von Max 
Klinger bis zur Gegenwart (Ber- 
lin: Deutsche Akademie der 
Kiinste, 1956), and Waltraut 
Neuerburg, "Der graphische 
Zyklus im deutschen Expres- 
sionismus und seine Typen, 
1905-1925" (Ph.D. diss., 
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms 
Universitat, Bonn, 1976). 

2 Neuerburg refers in the table of 
contents of "Der graphische 
Zyklus" to the nine "most 
important types of Expressionist 
graphic cycle": the big-city 
cycle, the religious cycle, self- 
confession, stages of human life, 
cycles on current events, popular 
series and picture stories, 
capriccios, hymns to nature and 
images of travel, and heads and 
portraits. She subdivides these 
into seventeen narrower thematic 

3 On the Programm der Kiinstler- 
gruppe Briicke, which Kirchner 
printed as a woodcut in 1906, 
see Annemarie Dube and Wolf- 
Dieter Dube, Ernst Ludwig 
Kirchner: Das graphische Werk, 
2 vols. (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 
1967), no. 696. 

4 Kirchner, in Hans Bolliger and 
Georg Reinhardt, "Text-Bild- 
Dokumentation," in Ernst Lud- 
wig Kirchner. 1880-1Q28, exh. 
cat. (Berlin; Nationalgalerie 
[Staatliche Museen Preussischer 
Kulturbesitz], 1979-80), p. 48. 

5 Quoted from the Programm (see 
note 3). 

6 Kirchner, in Wolf-Dieter Dube, 
Der Expressionismus in Wort und 
BtW (Genf and Stuttgart: Skira, 
Klett-Cotta, 1983), p. 34. 

7 Schmidt-Rottluff to Emil Nolde, 
in Lothar-Giinther Buchheim, 
Die Kiinstlergemeinschaft Briicke 
(Feldafing; Buchheim Verlag, 
1956). P- 53- 

8 See Annemarie Dube-Heynig, 
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Graphik 
(Munich: Prestel Verlag. 1961), 
p. 26. There is also an English- 
language edition: Kirchner: His 
Grap/iicArf (Greenwich, Conn.: 
New York Graphic Society, 1961). 

9 In some ways the Jahresmappe 
resembles the J ahresgaben sent 
out by the various Kunstvereine in 
Germany. These associations for 
the promotion of the arts, found- 
ed not by state or city authorities 
but by private citizens, were set 
up in large numbers in the mid- 
nineteenth century. They issued, 
and in some cases still do issue, 
reproductions and artists' prints 
at concessionary prices; nowadays 
they often distribute small sculp- 
tures, drawings, and photographs 
as well. For more on the Jahres- 
mappen, see Hans Bolliger and 
E. W. Kornfeld, Ausstellung 
Kunstlergruppe Briicke: Jahres- 
nuippen, 1Q06-1Q12, exh. cat. 
(Bern: Klipstein & Kornfeld, 


10 This connection is pointed out by 
Annemarie Dube and Wolf- 
Dieter Dube in the introduction 
to Erich Meckel: Holzschnitte, 
Lithographien, Radierungen aus 
denjahren igo;^- iq6.2, exh. cat. 
(Munich: Staatliche graphische 
Sammlung, 1963), p. 4. In the 
Chronik, however, Kirchner 
stressed the inspiration of Ger- 
man Old Master woodcuts (see 
Dube, Expressionismus in Wort 
undBild, p. 34). There must have 
been influences of this kind, but 
there is no need to refer back to 
Albrecht Diirer, for instance, for 
an explanation of the revival of the 
woodcut; this was already taking 
place all over Europe in the dec- 
ade that preceded the founding of 
the Briicke. 

11 Heckel's concern with this theme 
at the time is confirmed by his 
woodcut Psalm go (Dube 46), a 
portrait of an old woman that 
dates from 1905. The reference is 
clearly to verse 10: "The days of 
our years are threescore years and 
ten; and if by reason of strength 
they be fourscore years, yet is 
their strength labor and sorrow; 
for it is soon cut off, and we fly 

12 Amiet joined the Briicke in 1906; 
Gallen-Kallela, in 1907. Nolde 
became a member after his exhi- 
bition at the Galerie Arnold in 
Dresden in January 1906. He 
moved to Dresden for a while but 
left the group eighteen months 

13 Heckel, in Giinter Kriiger, "Die 
Kiinstlergemeinschaft Briicke 
und die Schweiz," Zeitschrift des 
deutschen Vereins fiir Kunst- 
tfis5en5c/ia/( 39, no. 1/4(1980): 

14 It should be noted, however, that 
the founding members of the 
Briicke did not rely entirely on 
information from elsewhere for 
their knowledge of what was go- 
ing on in European art; Dresden 
at that time was an extremely 
lively artistic center with far- 
reaching international ties. It 
seems to me that Orrel P. Reed, 
Jr., in German Expressionist Art: 
The Robert Gore Rifkind Collec- 
tion, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Fred- 
erick S. Wight Art Gallery, Uni- 
versity of California, 1977), has 
underemphasized this (for Amiet 
and Gallen-Kallela, see nos. 48, 
49). Paintings by Cezanne were 
seen in Dresden as early as 1896; 
the Galerie Arnold showed fifty 
works by van Gogh in 1905 and, in 
the following year, a collective 
show that included Gauguin, van 
Gogh, the Nabis, and the Neo- 
Impressionists. In addition 
Kirchner had seen works by van 
Gogh, Paul Signac, Henri de 
Toulouse-Lautrec, Vallotton, and 
others in various exhibitions in 
Munich in the winter of 1903-4. 

15 This applies at the very least to 
the one reproduced in Bolliger 
and Kornfeld, Kiinstlergruppe 
Briicke, p. 15. 

16 See Rosa Schapire, Karl Schmidt- 
Rotthiffs graphisches Werk bis 
IQ23 (Berlin: Euphorion Verlag, 
1924), no. 25. 

17 Kirchner, Heckel, and Schmidt- 
Rottluff all later denied any 
connection with Munch, or dis- 
missed it as purely incidental. It is 
nevertheless known that the 
Munch exhibition mounted by 
the Sachsischer Kunstverein in 
Dresden in February 1906 was 
visited by the members of the 
Brucke, that Schmidt-Rottluff 
sent nine letters and postcards to 
Munch between 1906 and 1909 
inviting him to exhibit with 
Schmidt-Rottluff himself or with 
the Briicke; and that in 1908-9 
the Brucke artists considered 
inviting Munch to join their 
group. Munch never answered 
any of the letters, and this is prob- 
ably the reason for the group's 
later attitude toward him. See 
Marit Werenskiold, "Die Brucke 

und Edvard Munch," Zeitschrift 
des deutschen Vereins fiir Kunst- 
wissenschaft 28, no. 1/4(1974): 

18 Kirchner wrote in "Uber 
Kirchners Graphik," an essay 
published in 1921 under the 
pseudonym L. de Marsalle, that 
"the artist's specific interest in 
individual forms also influences 
the form of the work. Thus, in a 
figure whose head particularly 
interests the artist, this will grow 
larger, while the other parts 
dwindle ' (reprinted in Lothar 
Grisebach. E. L. Kirchners 
Davoser Tagebuch: Eine Dar- 
stellung des Malers und eine 
Sammlung seiner Schriften 
[Cologne: M. DuMont Schau- 
berg, 1968], p. 192). For his part 
Schmidt-Rottluff explained; "On 
occasion I came to exaggerate cer- 
tain forms, in violation of scienti- 
fic proportion but in accordance 
with the balance of their spiritual 
relationships to each other. I 
made heads vastly oversized in 
relation to other parts of the body, 
because the head is the point of 
concentration of all the psyche, all 
expression' (in Gerhard Wietek, 
Schmidt-Rottluff: Graphik [Mu- 
nich: Verlag Karl Thiemig, 1971], 
p. 100). 

19 Kirchner to Gustav Schiefler, 
March 28, 1919, in Dube-Heynig, 
Kirchner: Graphik, p. 49. 

20 Ibid. 

21 Dix made this remark in 1958; see 
Otto Dix, i8gi-ig6g, exh. cat. 
(Munich: Museum Villa Stuck, 
1985), p. 279. 

22 Peter Beckmann, Max Beckmann: 
Leben und Werk (Stuttgart and 
Zurich: Belser Verlag, 1982), 

p. 36ff- 

23 Peter Selz, Max Beckmann, exh. 
cat, (New York: Museum of Mod- 
ern Art, [1964]), p. 21. 

24 See Klaus Gallwitz, Max Beck- 
mann: Die Druckgraphik (Karls- 
ruhe: Badischer Kunstverein, 
1962), nos. 49, 57; James Hof- 
maier. Max Beckmann: Werk- 
verzeichnis der Druckgraphik (in 
preparation), nos. 70, 76. 

25 Max Beckmann, Briefe im Kriege, 
comp. Minna Tube, afterword by 
Peter Beckmann (Munich and 
Zurich: R. Piper & Co., 1984), 

p. 18. 

26 Dix, in Otto Dix. i8gi-ig6g, 
P- 273- 

27 Beckmann, Briefe im Kriege, p. 67. 

28 Rainer Beck. "Dix und der 
Krieg," in Otto Dix, i8gi-ig6g, 
p. 14. For Beckmann's interest in 
Nietzsche, see Alexander 
Diickers, Beckmann: Die Holle, 
igig (Berlin: Kupferstichkabinett 
[Staatliche Museen Preussischer 
Kulturbesitz], 1983), pp. 71-72. 

29 "My nerves went to pieces, ' 
Grosz wrote in a letter of March 
15, 1917 {Briefe. 1913-1959. ed. 
Herbert Knust [Reinbek bei 
Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1979]. p. 48). 

30 Dix, in Otto Dix, i8gi-ig6g, 
p. 280. 

31 Dix made this remark in 1949; 
ibid., p. 275. 

32 From an interview given in 1965; 
ibid., p. 288. 

33 Dix made this statement in 1947; 
ibid., p. 275. 

34 Ibid., p. 288. 

35 Beck, "Dix und der Krieg," p. 17. 

36 From an interview given in 1966; 
see Otto Dix, 1891-1969, p. 290. 

37 Ibid-, 

P' 273- 

38 Beck, "Dix und der Krieg, " p. 17. 

39 Ida Katharine Rigby. An alle 
Kunstler! War— Revolution— 
Weijjiar: German Expressionist 
Prints, Drawings, Posters, and 
Periodicals from the Robert Gore 
Rifkind Foundation , exh. cat. 
(San Diego: San Diego State Uni- 
versity Press, 1983), p. 12. 

40 The fact that the print was mistak- 
enly reproduced as plate 24 in the 
little book Der Krieg: 24 Offset- 
drucke nach Originalen aus dem 
Radierwerk von Otto Dix (Berhn: 
Karl Nierendorf, 1924) provides 
further evidence that it is related 
to the portfolio Der Krieg. Karl 
Nierendorf had also published the 
original graphics. 

41 The clearest example is Klinger's 
engraving Tote Mutter (Dead 
mother, 1889), published in 1898 
as number 10 of the series Vom 
Tode II (Of death 11). The decisive 
influence on Klinger's thought 
was not Nietzsche, however, but 
Schopenhauer, who had the same 
conception of a new life emerging 
from the old. See Alexander 
Diickers, Max Klinger (Berlin, 
1976). P- 98ff- 



42 Paul Westheim, in Das Kunstblatt 
8, no. 8 (1924): 286. The term 
Neue Sachlichkeit is used in a nar- 
rower sense to refer to the work of 
Alexander Kanoldt, Georg 
Scholz, and Georg Schrimpf. In 
this sense it was used as early as 
1923 in a letter to Scholz from 
Gustav F. Hartlaub, who in 1925 
organized an exhibition at the 
Kunsthalle Mannheim that bore 
the title Die neue Sachlichkeit. 

43 Diary entry of November 1922, in 
Kathe Kollwitz, Aus nieinem 
Leben (Munich: List Verlag, 
1967), p. 109. 

44 Some writers have reservations 
about the application of all this 
virtuosity to this particular sub- 
ject matter: "The depiction of ter- 
ror, on the one hand; on the 
other— one hardly dare say it— the 
aesthetic and sensual quality of 
horror, embodied in an incredible 
mastery of graphic technique" 
(Beck. "Dix und der Krieg," 

p. 17). The same author goes on 
to point out that the decayed body 
in Leiche im Drahtverhau 
(Corpse in barbed wire) is re- 
alized in "the subtlest gradations 
of aquatint, but at the same time 
[is] so terrible that one has the im- 
pression of breathing the stench 
of putrefaction. " One might 
answer such expressions of unease 
by saying that Dix, by deploying 
all his graphic skill, attained his 
objective of bearing witness to 
what he had experienced. The 
"aesthetic and sensual quality of 
horror —whether in the images of 
hell and martyrdom of past art, in 
Goya's Desastres de la guerra, in 
Picasso's Guernica, or in the work 
of Francis Bacon— touches on the 
question of the "beauty" with 
which great art endows evil and 
fear, an issue that cannot be gone 
into here. There is, however, a 
real danger in virtuosity, one to 
which graphic art is particularly 
subject: that it will be pursued, 
regardless of the theme, for the 
sake of a tour de force. This 
danger Dix has avoided. His mas- 
tery remains the servant of his 
avowed aim. 

45 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 
April 22, 1918. Briefe, p. 62. 

46 See Alexander Dijckers. George 
Grosz: Das druchgraphische 
Werk (Berlin: Propylaen Verlag. 
1979). no. E 1. 

47 Ibid., nos. E 4-6, 23. 

48 Ibid., nos. E 7-10, 13. 

49 Ibid., nos. E 11, 19, 20. 

50 Ibid., nos. E 14, 17; see also E 12, 
30. On Groszs reading matter, 
see George Grosz, Ein kleinesja 
und ein grosses Nein: Sein Leben 
von ihm selbst erzdhlt (Hamburg: 
Rowohlt, 1955), p. 22ff. This was 
first published in English as A 
Little Yes and a Big No, trans. 
Lola Sachs Dorin (New York: Dial 
Press, 1946). A more recent trans- 
lation is also available; George 
Grosz: An Autobiography, trans. 
Nora Hodges (New York: Macmil- 
lan, 1983). 

51 As early as 1913 Grosz was speak- 
ing of his own "social-democratic, 
antimilitaristic " views (Grosz to 
Robert Bell, July 1913, Briefe, 

p. 27). 

52 On the evidence against the 
hypothesis that Grosz served at 
the front, see Diickers, George 
Grosz, p. 133. 

53 On the war scenes, see ibid,, nos. 
E 24-26; on the other two scenes, 
see ibid., nos. E 29, 40. 

54 The "doffed cranium ' motif 
reappears in two of the figures in 
Groszs drawing Wir treten zum 
Beten vor Gott den Gerechten! 
(We step up to pray before God 
the just!), in George Grosz. Das 
Gesicht der herrschenden Klasse 
(Berlin: Malik-Verlag, 1921), p. 6. 
The same figures then reappear 
in the 1926 painting Stiitzen der 
Gesellschaft (Pillars of society; 
Nationalgalerie [Staatliche 
Museen Preussischer Kultur- 
besitz], Berlin). 

55 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 
December 6, 1917, Briefe, p. 56. 

56 Theodor Daubler, "George 
Grosz." Netic Blatter fur Kunst 
und Dichtung 1 (November 1918): 

57 On the influence of graffiti and 
children's drawings, see George 
Grosz: Leben und Werk, ed. Uwe 
M. Schneede, with contributions 
by Georg Bussmann and Marina 
Schneede-Sczesny (Stuttgart: 
Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1975), p. 38, 
where there is a quotation fi-om a 
text by Grosz, "Abwicklung" 
(Unwinding), published in Das 
Kunstblatt 8, no. 2 (1924): 32ff., 
in which he acknowledges this in- 
fluence. In the 1930s Grosz 
encouraged his students at the 
Art Students League in New York 

to study children's drawings: "A 
composition should be simple and 
clear. That is why the drawings of 
children and primitives are so 
strong" (quoted from a student's 
unpublished papers, "Notes on 
Drawing and Water Golor, 
1935-36," George Grosz estate, 
Princeton, N.J.). 

58 Grosz. Ein kleines Ja, p. 102. 

59 Wieland Herzfelde, Immergriin 
(Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1961), 
p. 92. 

60 "Kurz (wie in Host)", see Wieland 
Herzfelde, /o/jn Heartfield: 
Leben und Werk (Dresden: VEB 
Verlag der Kunst, 1971), p. 1. 
The announcement of the Erste 
George Grosz-Mappe that ap- 
peared in the August/September 
issue of the periodical Neue 
]ugend provides evidence of the 
name change. 

61 Some of the names Grosz gave 
himself in letters written between 
1913 and 1920 are "Prof 
Thomas," "Ritter von Thorn," 
"Gogo, " "Dr. Maschin George 
Ventil," and, complete with place 
of residence, "Lord Hatton- 
Dixon, New Castle Town, ' and 
"Edgar H. Hussler, Boston." He 
often signed drawings with "Boff " 
(or "Boffel " or "Fobb"; see ninn- 
ber 6 of Gott mit uns); this was a 
variation on "Boeuf, ' which was 
his friends' nickname for him. 
There is often an element of Da- 
daist alienation and also of 
straightforward hin in this, but 
not always. At the end of Septem- 
ber 1915 Grosz, whose second 
name was Ehrenfried, virote to 
Robert Bell: "I am lonely without 
measure; that is to say, I am alone 
with my doubles, phantasms in 
whom I realize specific dreams, 
ideas, inclinations, and so on. I 
rip three other people out of my 
inner life, give them names, and 
believe in them myself. Gradually 
three clearly defined types have 
emerged. 1. Grosz. 2. Count 
Ehrenft"ied, the nonchalant aris- 
tocrat with the well-manicured 
fingernails, concerned only with 
cultivating himself; in a word, the 
detached, aristocratic individual- 
ist. 3. The physician. Dr. William 
King Thomas, the more Ameri- 
can, practical counterweight to 
Grosz the mother figure" (Grosz, 
Briefe, p. 3off). Count Ehrenfi-ied 
and Dr. William King Thomas in 
turn have multiple identities; see 
Diickers, George Grosz, p. i42fr 

62 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 
Briefe, p. 49. 

63 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 

June 1, 1917, ibid., p. 51. 

64 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 
December 15, 1917, ibid., p. 57. 

65 Grosz to Otto Schmalhausen, 
April 22, 1918, ibid., p. 62. 

66 Richard Huelsenbeck, Dada 
siegt! Eine Bilanz des Dadlsmus 
(Berlin, 1920), p. 28ff 

67 As doubt is still being cast on 
Groszs membership in the Ger- 
man Communist party (see 
Winfi-ied Nerdinger. Rudolf 
Belling und die Kunststromungen 
in Berlin, 2915-2923 [Berfin: 
Deutscher Verlag fiir Kunst- 
viissenschaft, 1981], pp. 73-74, 
n. 158), I refer to a statement by 
Grosz that I have quoted else- 
where (see Diickers, George 
Grosz, p. 12, n. 5). It appears in a 
newspaper report of the case 
brought against Grosz for blas- 
phemy over his portfolio Hinter- 
grund (Background): "Presiding 
Judge: Do you belong to a politi- 
cal party? Accused: Yes, the Com- 
munist party" [Frankfurter 
Zeitung, December 4, 1930. sec- 
ond morning edition [copy in the 
archive of the National-Galerie, 
East Berhn]). It is true that in the 
1920s, perhaps as early as his 
return fi-om Russia in 1922, Grosz 
came to distance himself some- 
what from the party; see his 1927 
letter to Otto Schmalhausen 
(Briefe, pp. 102-3). ^"^ there 
can be no doubt that he did be- 
long to it. Concerning the date at 
which he joined, and for other 
views on the membership ques- 
tion, see Diickers, George Grosz. 

68 On other drawings and the portfo- 
ho. see Diickers, George Grosz, 
nos. M III, 1-9. 

69 George Grosz, "Zu meinen neuen 
Bildern, " Das Kujistblatt 5, no. 1 
(1921): 11; the article was written, 
as the text itself makes clear, in 
November 1920. 

70 Unsigned article in Vossische 
Zeitung {Berlin, April 21, 1921, 
first supplement). Grosz was in- 
dicted in 1923 for "dissemination 
of indecent writings " (by which 
was meant the compilation Ecce 
Homo) and in 1928 for "blas- 
phemy " (primarily over the print 
Maulhalten und weiter dienen 
[Shut up and do your duty], bet- 
ter known as Christus mit Gas- 

maske [Christ with a gas mask], 
from the portfolio Hintergrund); 
see Duckers, George Grosz, nos. 
S 1 and M vi, 10. At this point 
Grosz had exhausted the bour- 
geois catalogue of sins. 

71 Words attributed to a British offi- 
cer in the international expedi- 
tionary force that was sent to sup- 
press the Boxer Rebellion in 
China in 1900. 

72 Arthur Rosenberg, Geschichte 
der Weimarer Republik, ed. Kurt 
Kersten, 18th ed. (Frankfurt: 
Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 
1977)- P- 59ff- 

73 Ibid., p. 64. 

74 There can be no doubt that there 
were contacts between Grosz and 
Kessler. Grosz writes in his mem- 
oirs that aft^er he was drafted for 
the second time he assaulted a 
medical corps sergeant, adding: "I 
was supposed to be shot as a de- 
serter. Fortunately Count Kessler 
heard of it. He intervened for me, 
with the result that I was par- 
doned and sent to an institution 
for war lunatics" (Grosz, Ein 
kleinesja, p. 114). There is no 
other evidence of such an inter- 
vention on Kessler's part. 

75 Count Harry Kessler, Tagelnicher, 
1915-2937, ed. Wolfgang Pfeiffer 
Belli (Frankfurt: Insel- Verlag, 
1961), p. 156 (March 13, 1919). 

76 Sebastian Haflher, Die deutsche 
Revolution, igi8/ig, 2d ed. (Mu- 
nich: Kindler, 1979), p. 184. 

77 Rosenberg, Geschichte, p. 70. 

78 The English title of this print is 
not in English at all. It is the 
motto of the Prince of Wales; "Ich 
dien" (I serve). These German 
words were originally on the coat 
of arms of John of Luxembourg, 
king of Bohemia, who was killed 
fighting on the French side 
against England in the battle of 
Grecy in 1346. The "Black 
Prince" of Wales assumed his 
arms and motto by right of con- 
quest (see Barbara Tuchman, A 
Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 
Fourteenth CentUTy [New York; 
Alfi-ed A. Knopf. 1978]). This tide 
may reflect a general anti- 
monarchist attitude, but it is not 
directed specifically at English 
policy in the period of the Novem- 
ber Revolution. What Grosz is do- 
ing is bringing the motto home, as 
it were, to apply it to those in 



power in Germany and unmask 
their murderous hypocrisy. 

79 Die Pleite i, no. 4 (1919)- The 
overall compositional layout goes 
back to a wood engraving after 
Gustave Dore, In Newgate Prison 
(Gustave Dore and Blanchard 
Jerrold, London: A Pilgrimage 
[London, 1872]), which inspired 
van Gogh's painting In the Prison 
Exercise Yard (iSSg-go, Museum 
of Fine Arts, Moscow), Licbt und 
Luft dem Proletariat means "light 
and air for the proletariat." 

80 Beth Irwin Lewis, George Grosz: 
Art and Politics in the Weimar 
Repufo/ic (Madison: University of 
Wisconsin Press, 1971), p. 76ff. 

81 Uwe M. Schneede points out in 
George Grosz, p. 72, that the 
German title refers to something 
Rosa Luxemburg wrote in her 
treatise Die Krise der Sozial- 
demokratie, published in 1916 
under the pseudonym Junius; "It 
is the soldiers of Socialism them- 
selves—the proletarians of En- 
gland, France, Germany. Russia, 
Belgium— who have been slaugh- 
tering each other at the behest of 
capital for months on end. . . . 
The dividends rise, and the pro- 
letarians fall" {Gesammelte 
Werke, vol. 4 [Berlin, 1974], 

p. 49ff )■ This, according to 
Grosz, was also what happened in 
the struggle that broke out within 
Germany when the war was over. 

82 Here too Grosz gives a ironic 
interpretation of his own to a 
familiar phrase. Den macht uns 
keiner nach! (there's not going to 
be another one like him!) is what 
William II is supposed to have said 
of the "Captain of Kopenick," the 
penniless shoemaker Wilhelm 
Voigt, who on October 16, 1906. 
put on a captains uniform, col- 
lected a number of soldiers he 
met on the street, and ordered 
them to occupy the city hall of the 
suburb of Kopenick (now in East 
Berlin) and hand over the city 

83 Diickers, Beckmann: Die Holle, 
n, 29. 

84 LudwigCoellen, "Die erste 
George Grosz Mappe," Das 
Kunsthlatt 1. no. 1 (1917): 349. 

85 This applies especially to the com- 
pilation Interregnum, published 
in New York in 1936; see 
Diidcers, George Grosz, nos. S 11, 

86 Max Beckmann, Tagebiicher, 
1940-1950, comp. Mathilde Q. 
Beckmann, ed. Erhard Gopel 
(Munich: Langen-Miiller Verlag, 
1955). P- 11 (September 12, 

87 See Stephan von Wiese, Max 
Beckmanns zeichnerisches Werk, 
1903-1925 (Diisseldorf: Droste 
Verlag, 1978), p. 113. 

88 Peter Beckmann, "Nachwort," in 
Beckmann, Briefe im Kriege, 

p. 80. 

89 Max Beckmann, Leben in Berlin: 
Tagebuch, 190S-1909. ed. Hans 
Kinkel (Munich and Zurich: R. 
Piper & Co., 1983), pp. 22-23 
(January 9. 1909). 

90 Beckmann, Briefe im Kriege, 
p. 38 (April 5, 1915). 

91 Ibid., pp. 33 (March 28, 1915), 64 
(May 21, 1915). 

92 Beckmanns "Schopferische 
Konfession" was first published in 
Tribune der Kunst und Zeit, no. 
13 (1920): 66, and was reprinted in 
Diickers, Beckmann: Die Holle, 
p. 52ff ; for an English transla- 
tion, see Victor H. Miesel, ed.. 
Voices of German Expressionism 
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice 
Hall, 1970). 

93 The term Dingsymbol was intro- 
duced by Friedrich Wilhelm Fi- 
scher in Max Beckmann: Symbol 
und Weltbild (Munich: Wilhelm 
Fink Verlag, 1972). 

94 Jahrmarkt is one of four portfolios 
that Beckmann produced in his 
most prolific period of graphic 
production, 1916-23. More than 
half of his graphic output— more 
than two hundred etchings, litho- 
graphs, and woodcuts— dates from 
this period. Along with many 
individual prints, a considerable 
number of book illustrations, and 
Jahrmarkt itself, he produced the 
portfolios Gesichter, Die Holle, 
and Berliner Reise (Berlin jour- 
ney) of 1922. Die Holle and Ber- 
liner Reise were published in Ber- 
lin by I. B. Neumann, and 
Gesichter and Jahrmarkt bear the 
imprint of Beckmanns other 
major publisher, Reinhard Piper 
in Munich. 

95 Friedrich Wilhelm Fischer, 
"Themenwahl und Bildwelt in 
Beckmanns Druckgraphik ," in 
Max Beckmann: Das druck- 
graphische Werk, exh. cat. 
(Zurich; Kunsthaus, 1976), p. 16. 

96 Gallwitz, Max Beckmann, no. 24; 
Hofmaier, Max Beckmann, 

no. 36. 

97 See Diickers, Beckmann: Die 
Holle, p. 88. 

98 Beckmann, Leben in Berlin, p. 28 
(January 14, 1909). 

99 The motif was erroneously 
described in a recent exhibition 
catalogue {Max Beckmann: Aus 
dem Menschenorchester, gra- 
phische Zyklen um 1920 [Krefeld: 
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum. 1985], 
unpaginated) as follows: "A visitor 
peers voyeurlike through the win- 
dow." Nor does the assertion in 
the same text that the figure of a 
man in the center of the scene is a 
self-portrait of Beckmann seem 
tenable. There is, however, some 
plausibility in the writer's sugges- 
tion that the fiddler and the young 
woman on the right are modeled 
on Reinhard Piper and Beck- 
mann s first wife, Minna 

100 Gallwitz, Max Beckmann, no. 79, 
Hofmaier, Max Beckmann. 

no. 100. 

101 Compare Beckmanns portrait 
etchings of I. B. Neumann fi-om 

1919 and of Reinhard Piper fi^om 

1920 (Gallwitz, Max Beckmann, 
nos. 125. 134; Hofmaier, Mai 
Beckmann, nos. 151, 161), For 
the physiognomy of the "tall 
man, " with his grotesquely jutting 
chin, see Beckmann's self-portrait 
in the etching Familienszene 
(Family scene, 1918), from the 
portfolio Gesichter (Gallwitz, 
Max Beckmann, no. 98; Hof- 
maier, Max Beckmann, no. 125). 

102 Fischer has much the same as- 
sessment of the portfolio, "with all 
its ambivalence ' ("Themenwahl 
und Bildwelt," p. 2iff.). A num- 
ber of Beckmann's self-portraits of 
1921-22 lend themselves to a 
similar interpretation, see 
Diickers, Beckmann: Die Holle, 
p. 74. 

103 Fischer, Symbol und Weltbild, n. 
120, p. 42. See also idem, '"The- 
menwahl und Bildwelt, ' p. 17. 

104 Gallwitz, Max Beckmann, no. 
103; Hofmaier. Max Beckmann, 
no. 130. 

105 Fischer, Symbol und Weltbild, 
P- 25- 

106 Max Beckmann Retrospektive, 
exh. cat., ed. Carla Schulz- 
Hoffmann and Judith C. Weiss 
(Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1984). 
p. 413. That Beckmann himself is 
one of the passengers on the "ship 
of fools," as is asserted in that 
publication, is not by any means 

107 Gallwitz, Max Beckmann, no. 97; 
Hofmaier, Max Beckmann, 

108 Fischer, Symbol und Weltbild, 
p. 40, n. 105. 

109 See Max BeckTnann, exh. cat. 
(Hannover: Kunstmuseum 
Hannover mit Sammlung 
Sprengel, 1983), p. 186. 

110 See Diickers. Beckmann: Die 
Holle. p. 102. 

111 Beckmann himself said so several 
times and castigated the folly of 
supposing that sexual gratification 
leads to fulfillment. On one occa- 
sion he wrote: Ts there to be no 
getting away from this loathsome 
vegetative physicality? . . . Utter 
contempt for the lewd entice- 
ments that always lure us back 
into life's clutches. And when, 
half-parched, we seek to quench 
our thirst, the gods laugh us to 
scorn" (Beckmann, Tagebiicher, 
p. 156 [July 4, 1946]). 

112 See the 1911 lithograph of Sam- 
son and Delilah (Gallwitz, Max 
Beckmann, no. 15; Hofmaier, 
Max Bechnann, no. 26). 

113 Beckmann, Max Beckmann: 
Leben und Werk, p. 86. 

114 Curt Glaser, in Curt Glaser et al.. 
Max Beckmann (Munich: R. Piper 
& Co., 1924), p. 20. 


Illustrated Books 
and Periodicals 


Paul Raabe 


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Untitled (title page), 1919-23 

Color woodcut 

5^16 X 3^16 in. (14.2 X 9. 1 cm) 

From Georg Heym, Umbra 


Davis 1474.3 


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 

Untitled (cover), 1919-23 

Color woodcut 

9'yi6 X 13% in. (25.0 X 35.0 cm) 

From Georg Heym, Umbra 


Davis 1474.1 

The longer one is involved with literary Expressionism, the more fas- 
cinated one becomes with the interaction of writers and painters through- 
out this stimulating artistic and literary epoch in Germany, 1910 to 1922. 
We are familiar with the faces of Expressionist poets from the powerful 
portraits left by the painters, and Expressionist writers, Theodor Daubler 
in particular, were the first to take up the cause of the new art. Friend- 
ships between painters and writers led to mutual exchange and stimula- 
tion: in the early period, for example, the friendships between Oskar Ko- 
koschka and Hei-warth Walden, Ludwig Meidner and Ernst Wilhelm 
Lotz, Wassily Kandinsky and Hugo Ball; in the late period between Con- 
rad Felixmiiller and Walter Rheiner, Josef Achmann and Georg Britting. 
The movement should not be seen, however, in terms of a common, uni- 
fied spirit. What must be acknowledged are the disunities, the diversity of 
Expressionism: the dissent as well as the consensus; the opposition as well 
as the cooperation; the primacy of the individual in the context of 
sympathy for kindred spirits, be they poets or painters, writers or print- 
makers, sculptors or composers, art dealers or publishers. 

Ernst Barlach and Kokoschka were important Expres- 
sionist dramatists; Kandinsky wrote the first avant-garde literary work in 
German; Meidner was a Expressionist lyric poet; and Wilhelm Lehm- 
bruck and Egon Schiele— artists who matured and died young— were 
published poets too. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paul Klee kept diaries, 
which are among the literary testaments of the period. Many painters 
were talented correspondents, able to capture in words as well as in paint- 
ing the world as they perceived it. 

The history of literary Expressionism cannot be written 
without taking the Expressionist artists into account— they bring color 
and vitality to the chronicle— yet the impact of literary life on the art 
scene, although overshadowed at times by the prestige of Expressionist 
art, should be stressed again and again, and the fascination associated 




with the writers and hterary forms of Expressionism widely promulgated. 

The Briicke painters came to Berlin in 1911, attracted by 
the avant-garde literary life emerging there. Kirchner became an ardent 
admirer of the poet Georg Heym. Karl Schmitt-Rottluff designed a logo 
for the programs of the Neopathetisches Cabaret (see fig. 5), the club that 
became the first stage for Expressionist writers. It was through readings 
of their work there that Ernst Blass, Heym, Else Lasker-Schiiler, Alfred 
Lichtenstein, Ludwig Rubiner, and Jakob van Hoddis became known. 

Apart from the mutually stimulating relationships be- 
tween artists and writers, two types of publication were produced— the 
illustrated book and the literary-artistic journal— in which the encounter 
between art and literature in Expressionism has been preserved. The 
holdings of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist 
Studies reveal the close ties between artistic representation and literary 
expression, substantiating the thesis of symbiotic interaction. 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886- 19S0 

Hiob, Anima tind der 

Kautschukmann, 1916-17 

Qob, Anima, and the 



iiyie X 9V4 in. (28.8 X 23.5 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Hiob 

83.1.126 f 

Davis 1572.6 

Expressionist Boolt Illustration 

The illustrated book in Germany has a long, significant history. It leads 
from the medieval miniature through the early illustrations in the in- 
cunabula—including the oldest printed illustrated book, Ulrich Boner's 
Der Edelstein, published in Bamberg in 1461, in the collection of the 
Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbiittel— to the illustrated publica- 
tions of the Reformation and the Baroque and thence to those of the eigh- 
teenth and nineteenth centuries. Only with the advent of Impressionism 
and Jugendstil at the turn of the century, however, did painters and 
graphic artists in Germany, like their French and English predecessors, 
devote their energies to book illustration, that is, to the interpretation of 
the text via the artist's pen as well as to its decorative enhancement. 

Lovis Corinth, Alfred Kubin, Max Slevogt, and Hugo 
Steiner-Prag were dedicated to the graphic interpretation of literary 
texts— older ones for the most part— and succeeded in producing a num- 
ber of large-format books superbly illustrated with lithographs or 
drawings. They were masters of Impressionist book illustration, and in 
their sketches re-creating crucial scenes they captured acts and fleeting 
gestures with emotional intensity and excitement. Corinth's Das Biich 
Judith (The book of Judith, 1910) and Slevogt's Sindbad der Seefahrer 
(Sinbad the sailor, 1908) contain typical examples, as do their large-format 
books published between 1919 and 1924 by Bruno Cassirer and Fritz 
Gurlitt of the Avalun and the Propylaen publishing houses. Kubins edi- 
tion of Dostoyevski's Der Doppelganger (The double, 1912) or Steiner- 
Prag's illustrations for Gustav Meyrink's Der Golem (The golem, 
1915-16) distinguish themselves through their visionary, mysteriously 
effective formal energy. Kubin in particular became master of a fantastic 
style of drawing in his book illustrations, works that stand apart from 
those of his contemporaries because of their narrative tendency and their 
strongly impressionistic character. 

To comprehend the stature achieved by Expressionist 
book illustration, one must first realize that the market for illustration was 
dominated at that time by conventional artists and Impressionists, that 
Slevogt's and Corinth's illustrated books were published for the most part 




Ludwig Meidner 

Germany, 1884-1966 
Untitled (cover), 1913 
Reproduction of a drawing 
5% X 5V16 in. (14.4 X 12.7 cm) 
From Gottfried Benn, Sohne 


Neue Qedichle von GOTTFRIED BENN, dem Verfasser der MorguS 

during the Expressionist period, as were those by Rudolf Grossmann, 
Thomas Theodor Heine, Max Oppenheimer, and Emil OrHk. It is under- 
standable therefore that the transition between the estabhshed and newer 
styles is not clearly demarcated and that it is difficult to designate pre- 
cisely a canon of Expressionist book illustrators. 

The illustrations published by young artists prior to their 
involvement with Expressionism are practically indistinguishable from 
those published by other artists of the day. The same can be said of the 
contemporaneous early works of writers who later became Expressionists: 
Heym, Lasker-Schiiler, Rene Schickele, and Ernst Stadler, for example. 
Lyonel Feininger s delicate drawings and vignettes for Max Dreyer's bur- 
lesque play Das Tal des Lebens (The valley of life, 1904) could have origi- 
nated from the pen of Emile Preetorius. Kokoschka's first book. Die 
trawnenden Knaben (The dreaming boys, 1908)— one of the most charm- 
ing of its day, with its deliberately naive character and its freshness and 
color— could as easily be attributed to some other artist from the Wiener 
Werkstatte. Max Beckmann's impressive lithographs for Eurydikes 
Wiederhehr (The return of Eurydice, 1909), an othei-wise long-forgotten 
epic by Johannes Guthmann, an admirer of the young Gerhart Haupt- 
mann, are amazingly similar stylistically to Slevogt's illustrations. The 
existence of such books encourages reflection on Zeitgeist and the evolu- 
tion of style, on originality and influence. 

A new phase in the history of illustration began in March 
1910. It was not a book, however, that launched this new epoch but 
Kokoschkas illustrations for his drama Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen 
(Murderer, hope of women; see fig. 6), which appeared in an early issue of 
Walden's Der Sturm (The storm). {Der Sturm, itself the earliest example 
of an Expressionist periodical, is a publication to which we shall return.) 
Kokoschka s work had undergone a radical transformation from the idyllic 
Trdutnenden Knaben (see pp. 164-67) to the brutal representation of the 
"murderer of women." In style and expression the latter are cipherlike, 
grotesque harbingers of a new age filled with menace and fear. 

Kokoschka's illustrations in Der Sturm were followed a 
year later by his illustrations for Tubutsch, a collection of Albert Ehren- 
stein's early Expressionist stories. During the war years Kokoschka cre- 
ated large, painterly lithographs for his dramas Der gefesselte Columbus 
(The bound Columbus, 1916) and //tot (Job, 1917; fig. 166). Composed in 
a formal idiom at once forceful and gentle, they render the plays as 
mythological events. 

The painters of the Briicke and the Blaue Reiter wit- 
nessed the prewar breakthrough of literary Expressionism in Berlin and 
Munich, and the self-described Pathetiker (artists of pathos)— Meidner, 
Richard Janthur, and Jakob Steinhardt— were to become during and after 
the war typical practitioners of a lyrical Expressionism in book illustra- 
tion. Indeed as early as 1912 Meidner designed the first Expressionist 
book cover, for Sohne (Sons; fig. 167), Gottfried Benn's collection of 
poems, published by A. R. Meyer Verlag as part of the epoch-making 
literary series of early Expressionism, Lyrische Flugblatter (Lyrical pam- 
phlets). Hurled forth like a challenge, Meidner's drawing signaled a new 
sense of life. 




Ernst Bariach 

Germany, 1870-1938 

Unser Schuldbuch sei 

vernichtet, 1924 

(Let all old scores be forgotten) 


loyie X i4yiB in. (26. 1 x 

36- o cm) 

From Friedrich von Schiller, 

An die Fretide 

83. 1-36 g 

Davis 103.7 

Alfred Doblin's story Das Stiftsfrdulein iind der Tod (The 
canoness and Death) appeared as part of the same series in 1913, accom- 
panied by a title woodcut (fig. 169) and four full-page woodcuts (see fig. 
61) by Kirchner, who manifested a special sensitivity to the book and 
modern texts. This was the initial, and highly successful, experiment in 
book illustration by a representative of the Briicke. Modest yet penetrat- 
ing, Kirchner's woodcuts attest to a new unity of typography and illustra- 
tion, the woodcut being an ideal complement to a forceful typeface. The 
unity of text and image in the same printing process and the unity of lit- 
erary and graphic configuration reflected the harmony in the thinking and 
feeling of poets and painters. 

Of all the Briicke painters Kirchner demonstrated the 
most acute sense of script and typography. As a carver of woodcuts he 
loved forceful, dramatic expression and angular forms. He had carved in 
wood and printed himself the first manifesto of the group (fig. 2) in 1906, 
and in 1910 he took the trouble to carve in Antiqua, the Expressionist 
typeface, the names of the seventy-five associate members of the Briicke 
into five woodblocks for the catalogue of a Briicke exhibition at the 
Galerie Arnold in Dresden (see fig. 3). 

Despite their love of the book, the Briicke painters were 
unlucky with publishers. Erich Heckel was the first of their number to 
attempt to engage the woodcut in the service of the book. In 1907 he 
prepared a series of eleven woodcuts for Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of 
Reading Gaol (see figs. 60, 202-5). Despite the fact that these woodcuts 
in their mysterious, sinister effect correspond completely with the text of 
the poem (which had already inspired illustrations by Kubin and was later 
to inspire Frans Masereel and Rudolf Schlichter), no one could be found 
at that time who was willing to publish the combination of Wilde's text 
and Heckel's illustrations.' 

Kirchner had similar experiences. The seven splendid 
large-format woodcuts for Adelbert von Chamisso's famous story Peter 



Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (The wondrous story of Peter Schle- 
mihl), works that were reahzed during Kirchner's stay at a sanatorium in 
Konigstein, hkewise remained unpubhshed. The account of a man who 
sells his shadow, as Kirchner commented in a letter to Gustav Schiefler of 
June 27, 1919, is "in actual fact the life story of a persecution complex, 
that is to say, the paranoid narration of a man who through one event or 
another is suddenly made aware of his infinite smallness and at the same 
time finds the means by which to deceive the world in general concerning 
this discovery. "2 For Kirchner the Schlemihl illustrations were a release 
from existential anxieties. Kurt Wolff's 1924 publication of Heym's vol- 
ume of poems Umbra Vitae (Shadow of life; see figs. 164-65), with fifty 
woodcuts by Kirchner, was indeed a major event in book art, yet the illus- 
trated collection, which manifested an unsurpassed unity of text and illus- 
tration, appeared post festum. Nevertheless it is one of the few works that 


Ernst Uidwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Untitled (title page), 1912 

4V2 X 3^16 in. (11.5 X 8.4 cm) 
From Alfred Doblin, Das 
Stiftsfrdulein und der Tod 
83. 1.110 a 
Davis 14.53. 1 





Paul Klee 

Switzerland, 1879-1940 
Untitled (title page), 1919 
Reproduction of a drawing 
3yi6 X 5^16 in. (8. 1 x 13.4 cm) 
From Curt Corrinth, 
Potsdamer Platz 


Ludwig Meidner 

Germany, 1884- 1966 

Untitled (man kneeling among 

bones), 1918 


7'yi6x 5*yifiin. (20. 2x i4.8cni) 

From Ludwig Meidner, 


83- 1- 155 1 
Davis 1927. 14 


Max Beckmann 

Germany, 1884-1950 

Stadtnacht, 1920 

(City night) 


7% X 6Vi6 in. (19.4 x 15.5 cm) 

From Lili von Braunbehrens, 


83.1.40 c 

Davis 136.3 



'^01(j 'I'.i " 


show a great Expressionist artist in the process of coming to terms with an 
important Expressionist poet. 

Neither Heckel nor Kirchner nor Schmidt-Rottluff nor 
Emil Nolde were ever to have an opportunity to prepare large-format il- 
lustrated books in which the force of the Expressionist woodcut could 
have answered the power of Expressionist texts. Erhart Kaestner, who 
was so impressed by the magnificent French livres d'artiste of the twenti- 
eth centuiy, has with reason expressed regret about this.'' The only Briicke 
painter to be given such an opportunity, which ultimately could not be 
fully exploited, was Max Pechstein. He provided fifteen lithographs, six of 
them full-page illustrations, for Die samlandische Ode (The Samland ode) 
by Heinrich Lautensack, who was not an E.xpressionist author but a turn- 
of-the-century poet. This collection, published in 1918 by Fritz Gurlitt, 
contains captivating illustrations filled with drunkenly ecstatic expressiv- 
ity, which nevertheless accompany a text of minimal significance. 

If one surveys the long list of Expressionist illustrated 
books from the point of view of harmony of text, typography, and illustra- 
tion, one must recognize Kandinsky's Kldnge (Sounds, 1913; see figs. 9, 
207), published by Reinhard Piper in Munich, as a masterwork. This work 
was printed in a heavy, rich Antiqua typeface, which almost gives an 
impression of the grotesque (a style that coincided with Kirchner's 
conception of typography). It contains pre-Dadaist abstract poems by the 
artist accompanied by full-page abstract woodcuts. Each poem is intro- 
duced by a vignette woodcut. With the publication of Kldnge, an ingen- 
ious, completely modern Expressionist book had come into being, one 
that still never fails to awaken enthusiasm in its readers and viewers. 

The almanac Der blaue Reiter (The blue rider), pub- 
lished in 1912 by Kandinsky and Franz Marc, had already revealed 
Kandinsky's modern approach to book design, but Marc, August Macke, 
and the other contributors were never accorded an opportunity to pro- 
duce books. Only Klee, who like Kirchner was an intellectual and a pas- 
sionate reader, became involved with book illustration, probably under 
the influence of Kubin. His twenty-six drawings to accompany Voltaire's 
Candide, produced in 1913, were published in 1920 by Wolff. These 
charming reproductions give the collector cause to regret that they are 
not original prints. Klee's ten illustrations for Curt Corrinth s Potsdamer 
Platz (1919; fig. 170) were also reproductions, yet it is one of those books 
in which an otherwise forgotten author continues to live thanks to the 
overriding brilliance of a great artist who illustrated his work. 

During and after the war, as Expressionism gained 
increasing recognition, more and more books were accompanied by 
e.xpressionistic illustrations. Publishers such as Paul Cassirer, Fritz 
Gurlitt, Paul Steegeman, and Kurt Wolff commissioned Expressionist 
artists to illustrate books, and thus there finally arrived a golden age of 
Expressionist book art. In the brief span between 1917 and 1924 the bril- 
liant illustrations of Barlach, Beckmann, Rene Beeh, Kokoschka, Meid- 
ner, and Steinhardt appeared along with work by many other artists. 

Two major works assure Beckmann of a place in the his- 
tory of Expressionist book illustration: Kasimir Edschmid's novella Die 
Furstin (The princess, 1918) contains his etchings; Stadtnacht (City night. 



1921; see fig. 172), Lili von Braunbehrens's collection of poems, his litho- 
graphs. Forceful and expressive, the figures fairly explode on the pages. 
One is left with the impression that the artist gave no consideration to the 
verbal nuances of the authors. The expressiveness of the graphic form 
forces the text into the background. 

Barlach resolved the problem of book art in a different 
fashion. The forceful, pregnant, stone-printed lithographs for his drama 
Der arme Vetter (The poor cousin, 1919), like the lithographs for his first 
play, Der tote Tag (The dead day, 1912), accompanied the text in a sepa- 
rate folio the same size as the text pages. The unity of text and illustration 
was thereby dissolved— a split that was to become standard for artist's 
books in Europe— nevertheless the artist succeeded in freeing himself 
from the pages of the text. 

In contrast to other print media, such as lithography and 
etching, the woodcut again and again proved appropriate for Expression- 
ist illustrations. It is ideally suited to the communication of passions such 
as enthusiasm and despair. This suitability assured the woodcut a place in 
book art. Josef Eberz, Felixmiiller, Walter Gramatte, Constantin von 
Mitschke-Collande, Georg Schrimpf, and Georg Tappert as well as forgot- 
ten illustrators such as Curt Stoermer and Wilhelm Tegtmeier provided 
books with woodcuts that typify Expressionist book illustration, but 
Barlach was its master. His woodcuts for Reinhold von Walter's poem Der 
Kopf (The head, 1919); for two works by Goethe, Walpurgisnacht (1923) 
and a selection of poems (1924); and for Schiller's Ati die Freude (Ode to 
joy, 1927; see fig. 168) are among the works of genius in Expressionist 
book art. Here Barlach took up anew the early art of the woodcut and 
made it his means of expressing a modern sensibility. 

The most successful Expressionist book artist, however, 
was Frans Masereel, who prepared woodcuts for many books published 
by Kurt Wolff, works by authors such as Charles-Louis Philippe, Emile 
Verhaeren, August Vermeylen (see fig. 174), and Emile Zola. For certain 
books he produced illustrations in narrative series unaccompanied by 
text. Indeed Masereel's art resided in just this ability to depict a wide 
variety of stories within the confines of the pages of a book. He was a social 
activist, and his sympathy for modern man made him a popular illustrator 
between the wars. 

Meidner, another artist promoted by Wolff, was both a 
talented draftsman and poet. He produced portraits of his contemporaries 
as well as depictions of cities as threatening and threatened stations of 
human life. His books Im Nacken das Sternemeer (The sea of stars at my 
back, 1918) and September schrei (September cry, 1920) rock with vol- 
canic graphic eruptions. He was indeed passionately in tune with his 
times, as the caption beneath one of his drawings for Septemberschrei, 
"Horcher in die Zeit " (listener in time; fig. 171), suggests. 

Steinhardt, who created lithographs that complemented 
the Jewish themes of the books of Jizchok-Leib Perez, including Gleich- 
nisse (Parables) and M usikalische Novellen (Musical novellas), both pub- 
lished .by Gurlitt in 1920, is also worthy of note. His etchings, which ex- 
press the dilemma of the Jews in such a shattering and prophetic way, 
inspired the poet Arno Nadel to write and publish a collection of poems 



entitled Rot iind gliihend ist das Auge des Juden (Red and glowing is the 
eye of the Jew, 1920). 

Janthur also became a successful, multifaceted Expres- 
sionist book artist. Enamored of exotic themes, he provided Rabindra- 
nath Tagore's Vierzehn Gedichte (Fourteen poems, 1920) with graceful 
border decorations and full-page figures and produced intoxicating litho- 
graphs for Jonathan Swift's Des Captain Lemuel Gullivers Reise in das 
Land des Houyhnhnms (Captain Lemuel Gulliver's travels in the land of 
the Houyhnhnms, 1919), and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1922), 
illustrating the adventures of their heroes in an acerbic burlesque. 

The Expressionist writer Ludwig Rubiner titled his 1917 
book Der Mensch in der Mitte (man in the middle), and there he stands in 
Expressionist book illustration as well: man endangered, man pursued, 
but man with the capacity for hope and love. His image is reduced to 
the human figure— its face, its stance— as in Angelus Silesius's maxim 
"Mensch werde wesentlich " (man, become essential), a phrase taken up 
by Stadler in his early Expressionist poems. Such is the case in the illus- 
trations of Barlach, Beckmann, and Kokoschka. The same is true of the 
illustrations of Beeh, who died at thirty-six, after having produced im- 
pressive lithographs for Gottfried Keller's stories, and those of Gramatte, 
the talented Expressionist whose large-format lithographs brought to life 
Akaky Akakievich's battles of the soul in Nikolay Gogol's Der Mantel (The 
overcoat, 1919; see fig. 81). It is true as well of Max Kaus, who produced 
illustrations for Gustave Flaubert's Die Sage von Sanht Julian dem 
Gastfreien (The tale of Saint Julian the hospitable, 1919; fig. 173), and for 
Schlichter, whose lithographs for Christoph M. Wieland's Auszug aus 
Lucians Nachrichten vom Tode des Peregrinus (Excerpt from Lucian's 
account of the death of Peregrinus, 1920; see fig. 175), with their gro- 
tesque groupings of figures and scenes, deserve special mention among 
his book illustrations. 

The Expressionist artists chose to interpret both classical 
and modern texts, their diversity offering a wide range of stylistic pos- 
sibilities, which resulted in the use of a variety of graphic techniques and 
modes of formal expression. This is evident in the work of all the artists 
mentioned as well as that of Felix Meseck, Richard Seewald, and above all 
Willi Jaeckel, who must be mentioned for the sake of completeness. 

The transition to the socially critical art of the 1920s was 
realized most consistently in the work of George Grosz, the master of 
satirical-grotesque scorn of the bourgeois juste-tnilieu. Grosz too began as 
an Expressionist book artist, creator of the charming and at the same time 
sinister illustrations for Alphonse Daudet's famous story Die Abenteuer 
des Herrn Tartarin aus Tarascon (The adventures of Herr Tartarin from 
Tarascon, 1921) and of the aggressive illustrations for Richard Huelsen- 
beck's novel Doctor Billig am Ende (Doctor Billig at the end of his rope, 
1921; see fig. 176). As an Expressionist contributor to the Malik-Verlag, 
he was a political agitator of the drawing pen, whose books still convey 
most forcefully the image of the postwar years in Germany. 

The inflation of 1922-23 marked the end of the Expres- 
sionist movement and resulted in publishers' no longer having the 
resources to finance profusely illustrated luxury editions with original 





Max Kaus 

Germany, 1891-1977 
Untitled (man and woman), 

c. 1919 


7 X 4'yi6 in. (17.8 X 12.6 cm) 

From Gustave Flaubert, Die 

Sage von Sankt Julian dem 


83.1. 108 f 

Davis 1385.6 


Frans Masereel 

Belgium, 1889-1972 

Untitled (street fight), c. 1921 


$Vb X 4V2 in. (14.9 X 11.4 cm) 

From August Vermeylen, Der 

ewige Jude 


Davis under 1851 


Rudolf Schlichter 

Germany, 1890-1955 

Untitled (crowd around man on 

pedestal), c. 1920 


gVii X 4'yi6 in. (23.3 x 12.6 cm) 

From Christoph M. Wieland, 

Ausztig aus Lucianfi 

Nachrichten vom Tode 

des Peregritius 

83.1.176 a 

Davis 2508. 1 


George Grosz 

Germany 1893-1959 
Untitled (Billig raste in seiner 
betrunkenen . . . ), c. 1920 
Reproduction of a drawing 
g'Vie X 6% in. (24.6 x 17. 1 cm) 
From Richard Huelsenbeck, 
Doctor Billig am Ende 

prints on handmade papers. Kirchner's Umbra Vitae was the melancholy 
swan song of a rich and exciting period of book art, a significant era in the 
history of publishing in Germany and one that is far from being suffi- 
ciently researched. 

Expressionist Art Periodicals 

Kokoschka's drawings for Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen appeared in 
1910, the first year of Der Sturm, the "weekly magazine for culture and 
art." The date is thus significant not only for the history of Expressionist 
illustration but also because it marks the beginning of Expressionist art 
periodicals in Germany. With few exceptions, such as the bibliophile pe- 
riodical Marsyas (1917-19), illustrations for poems and stories were not 
commonplace in these publications. But the art journals were where writ- 
ers and visual artists collaborated most closely. It was in these journals 
that the convictions shared by the young writers and artists of the Expres- 
sionist movement were most clearly and conspicuously manifested. 

As is the case with the illustrated books of the era, these 
periodicals, appearing between 1910 and 1922, continued a tradition es- 
tablished around the turn of the century. There is no better standard by 
which to evaluate them than Pan (1895-1900), the most elaborate Ger- 
man artistic-literary Jugendstil periodical; Jugend (Youth, 1896-1940), 
which gave its name to Jugendstil; and Simplicissimus (1896-1944). It 
became the custom around 1900 for artists, especially those with a talent 
for drawing, to offer their works, which were often satirical, to periodicals 
such as these as well as to Ver sacrum (Sacred spring, 1898-1903), Insel 
(Island, 1899-1902), and later Licht und Schatten (Light and shadow, 
1910-16). The educated public took pleasure in such editions, and the 
periodicals in turn attracted their own readership alongside that of the 
illustrated family magazines. 

Nineteen eleven marked the advent of literary Expres- 
sionism. It was the year that van Hoddis published his famous poem 
"Weltende" (End of the world), shortly after his friends in the circle 







Cover o{ Der Anbruch 2, no. 
lo/ii (1919), with a reproduc- 
tion of Erich Heckel's woodcut 
Zwei Manner am Tisch 


Lasar Segall 

Lithuania, 1S89-1957 

Die irrenden Frauen, c. 1919 

(The wandering women) 


6'/i X 4% in. (15 9 X 11,8 cm) 

From Neue Blatter fiir Kunst 

und Dlchtung 2 (May 1919) 

83.1.1655 a 

Davis 2745 


Cover oi Das neue Pathos 1, 
no. 1 (1913), with a reproduc- 
tion of a drawing by Ludwig 

Cover o^ Saturn 3. no. 2 (1913), 
with a reproduction of a wood- 
cut by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

around Kurt Hiller founded the Neopathetisches Cabaret. This circle 
became the seminal cell of the Expressionist movement in literature. 
Walden's founding oiDer Sturm contributed significantly to these begin- 
nings. The weekly became the mouthpiece of the new literature and art; 
its publisher, a thirty-two-year-old musician and journalist, the most 
important promoter of modern art in Germany. From 1911 on he pub- 
lished the woodcuts and drawings of the Briicke artists, the school of 
Paris, and those of many other artists. Der Sturm's large pages, with their 
modern design, proclaimed and disseminated the new movement. Marc 
Chagall, Heckel, Kirchner, Macke, Marc, Pechstein, Pablo Picasso, and 
Schmidt-Rottluff were the most prominent contributors before the war. 

Walden opened an art gallery, and his Erster deutsche 
Herbstsalon (First German autumn salon) of 1913 included the works of 
the European avant-garde for which he had become the spokesman. 
Gradually original woodcuts and reproductions came to occupy at least 
half of each issue. The emphatic print of the masthead and the woodcut 
beneath established the image of the magazine, which remained the most 
important and also the most modern organ for Expressionist art and writ- 
ing into the 1920s. Sturm artists such as Rudolf Bauer, Heinrich 
Campendonk, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Georg Muche, Georg Schrimpf, 
and Maria Uhden were promoted and supported by Walden. Encompass- 
ing a stylistic spectrum that ranged from the early Expressionists to 
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Kurt Schwitters, from the Dadaists to the 
Constructivists, Der Sturm became the definitive vehicle for the propaga- 
tion of modern art through original graphic contributions, reproductions, 
and texts. A new genre of periodical had come into being. Almost a quar- 
ter of the more than one hundred literary and artistic magazines that 
appeared between 1910 and 1922 published a mixture of literary and 
graphic contributions. Crucial to the propagation of Expressionism in 
their day, they remain primary sources of the movement's graphic art. 
Today Der Sturm remains a unique document of Expressionism, in whose 
pages one can still discover, in the midst of the well-known Expression- 
ists, many an unfamiliar or forgotten artist. 

Franz Pfemfert's weekly magazine, Die Aktio7i, began 
publication the year after Der Sturm., and both continued appearing until 
1932. Like Der Sturm, Die Aktion published graphic contributions- 
original woodcuts and reproductions— on a regular basis. By contrast, 
however, it developed a more political bent. "Maler bauen Barrikaden" 
(Painters erect barricades) was the title of a famous feature article by 
Rubiner published in the summer of 1914, a title that underscored the 
political involvement of artists. The graphic art in Die Aktion, especially 
that published between 1917 and 1919, took the form of activist mani- 
festos and appeals to solidarity and the love of mankind. Schiele and 
Schmidt-Rottluff were among the early contributors, as were Moriz Mel- 
zer, Heinrich Richter-Berlin, and others. Felixmiiller, Otto Freundlich, 
Karl Jakob Hirsch, and Georg Tappert became so-called Aktion artists, 
whose works Pfemfert exhibited in his gallery. 

Der Sturm and Die Aktion were combative journals that 
opened the way for modern art between 1912 and 1918 against the resis- 
tance of conventional art journals such as Der Kunstwart (The curator) 



LASAR SFGALL: Die irrendin Fcaucti, DiiglnilhomcfaDitt 

R^'CH ,w inn End, Piuck^i 

Alls diitm RoiiiiiifiilTviirf 
St langcr Sicftfried Rckh in sich snib. aanz unlcr- 
EcUnchl in die Erkbnivw dcr tclzleii TaKe, umso 
pOBer wurdc dcr Zh is4;henraum in stincm Hirn, 
als Ueee dies schon Jatiie hjnicr ihm. Er «uDic 
fasi nichls mchr von den Wirfnisscn, die dcr 
28. Okiobcr in scincm Him angcsUndci hattc, und 
wenn cr doeh cinmal daran dachic, blicb er so 
ruble, nis 1I5TC er zum ersicn ,MaIc Ircmdc Mcn- 
schen von ircmdcn DinEcn rcdcn. Er (Ohlic nichls 
in sich, das ihm Schmerz bcrciicii;. — Jc nun, — 
so Oder so, — cm EnUe mufiic das allcs doch eln- 
mal nehmen. und ob cr wiedtr cwig Maiicn flochi 
Oder nacb dummtm.bcsinnuniisioscm BrOten cines 

Tages pieizlich starb, aic sollie cr das eoi- 


Einma), wahrKhcinlicb aus Verschcn, bcsochic 
Ihn der QeiSnenisKcistlichc, — (cin Pioicsiani). Er 
v,-nfl(e nohl nichl. daB Reich Judc ivar. — und 
Siegfried Reich hDicw sich. es ihm za saRcn, — 
denn cs tat ihm unendlich wohl, wiedcr Woric za 
hSren von cinem Mensehcn. der nicht ecfaogcn 
saB. — Sic sprachcn lanRc milcinandcr. 

Von Abraham und Mosc. David und Elia. — aber 
baum cin Worf fiber Jesu. JcdL-smal, wcnn del 
Oclsllichc da.s Gesprach so icnl<cn wollic. vctsfand 
es SicRfricd Reich, ncoe Frageii aulzurflhrcn. — 
und sle rilhmteD beide mil hciBem Hurieti die 
Manner Qoifcs- Es lal Reich eui wic Balsam, so 

von dencn zv hOren, die scbon langc wie Vfltcr bel 

„0h ich auch zwicJachcr M5rdcr ware, ■neon 
man mich siari Sieglricd Samuel eeheiBen hSile?" 
frafiic er ziiiemd, da emc ncuc Erkennmis jach in 
ihm aufquoll. Und cr UcB cs sich tiichi nchmcn. 
— dcnci Cf dachie. vielkicht verkaufie ich dann 
als Handler Akticn Oder schnebc tur einc ZciiunB, 
tern von den Naicn und tier Bangnls meiner Scelc. 

O do, vcrbrannies Mcrzc. — da, — 

Weil dieses Gcschick. so wachgerttielt. sich anf 
Ihn stOrztc, verier er allc Farbc in scincm Oesicht 
ond tror in der canzcn Oual seiner Vcrdammnis. 
Dcr Gclstliche verspiJne. uic Orauscn fiber Sice- 
fried Reich hcriici und las ihm die Gcschicliic aus 
dem Lukasevancclium vor. die In die iauchzenden 
Worie des Erbanncns mQndei. 

Ein Mensch haiie zwcen Silhnc: und der lunRStc 
unrer ihncn sprach zu dem Valcr: Gib mir. Vaier, 
das Teil der Guicr, das niir Bchfiri. L'nd er tcille 
Ihnen das Gut. L'nd nicW lance danach wmmclle 
dcr iflncsie Sohn allcs Jusammen und ioe terne 
liber Land: und daselbsi brachie cr scin Out urn mil 

Da er nun all das Seine verzchrt hattc, ward cine 
eroBc TeuciuriE durch dassclbiKc Land, und er finj 
an zu darben. Und cine hin und hQnjne sich an 
cinen BQruer dcssclbiscn Landes. der schistic 
ihn anf seineti Acker, dcr Saue 7.u hillen. Und cr 
bcEchne, scincn Rauch zu filllcn mil Trcbeni, die 
die Sauc alkn. und demand gab ac ihni. 
Da schluB cr In Sich und spraeh: Wie Meie 

X)a$ neue ^at^og 

Stittdgc t)on: Stefan Stteig, (Jmile QScrtacrcn, SRicbarb ©cljmet, 
3afol) @tcinl)ari)t, ®ottfrieti 35cnn, Otubolf Sconfiatb, Jranj 5Snfc(, 
Smfl fiilTauer, 3iobcrt 3i. 0(f)niibt, fiuMBig SBJeibnct, &(e Mttf 
0(f)6lcr, i:)ami eiirenbaum^ScgcIc, OBaltct .^fenclesct, f au( 3e* 


■Hermann ?9?eifter uiib .gerfeert ©ro^berger 

e. g. aitctntr: .^olufcfenill 

3tiMlt oon S)t\i jreei: 

fieopDl^ .^uberntan: Boheme; Shamfort: anefboK; iOSPnrSflum; iEldncrKoman; 

9)aul 3f^= ©crfjflfrciie „t3tlltI^en"; 'Paul S^aVionv. ffliencr Somonsc; JRt't^orl) 

SJeitebif: '!^ Sicfli^prrn; .^crbfrt ©rogbetgcc: I5ic JRcife in fcte Sungc; /Jcnnnnn 

5Rri(ia: 2)on ilictttern in ^Jrag; ?)aul 5ffitinct: 'PictroW ai&cnbpromcnobe. 

SSi(bbCTgfl(jfn: g. g. Jtiecljner: j^oljfcfemrt; J^lcrbm Qrogbcrncr: gtou @I. 

ginjel^eft 50 ^f. i .§«fte 31 2.7? 

@aturn»erlag .f^^n"""' SSeifter, .JsettelbetgsCeipjtg 


126 Raabe 

and Der Cicerone (The cicerone). A host of journals came into being after 
1917, modeled after these publications, though certain early periodicals 
with characters all their own also appeared: above all Das neiie Pathos 
(The new pathos, 1913-14; see fig. 179), which published Expressionist 
texts and original graphic contributions by Meckel, Meidner, Steinhardt, 
and others on handmade papers and the still-famous Revolution (1913), 
with the woodcut of the same title by Richard Seewald on its cover (fig. 25). 
In contrast to these, the linoleum cuts and woodcuts in certain smaller- 
format monthly literary journals— Safurn (1911-20; fig. 180); Biicherei 
Maiandros (Maiandros library, 1912-14); and Die weissen Blatter (The 
white papers, 1913-21), an important periodical for literary Expression- 
ism, for example— were of marginal significance. 

During the war three periodicals appeared with the ex- 
press purpose of publishing original graphic work. Zeit-Echo (Echo of the 
times, 1914-17), published small-format graphic works by Feininger, 
Klee, Kokoschka, Edwin Scharff, Adolf Schinnerer, Max Unold, and 
many others, while Paul Cassirer's Der Bildermann (The picture man, 
1916) printed full-page lithographs by Barlach and Kokoschka and more 
often works by Grossmann, Liebermann, and Slevogt. The same was true 
of its predecessor, Kriegszeit (Wartime, 1914-15). 

During the war Der neue Pan (The new Pan, 1917) at- 
tempted to revive the tradition oiPan. The purpose of the publication was 
to bring together art, literature, philosophy, and the history of art. Only 
one issue of Der neue Pan actually appeared, but the concept of the jour- 
nal was carried on in Genius (1919-21). This periodical for "art of the past 
and art that is becoming" existed to integrate Expressionism into "the 
celebration of art," art already realized to the fullest. Two other periodi- 
cals— Marsyas and Eos (1918-21), a "quarterly publication for poetry and 
art"— had the same purpose. But Expressionism demanded action, 
change, rebellion: deeds. Thus neither Der Bildermann nor Genius could 
become quintessential Expressionist journals. 

More exciting was the flood of magazines that began with 
the end of the war. In these the late phase of Expressionism observed its 
great triumph. In a certain sense they revived the tradition oiDieAktion, 
which after the November Revolution of 1918 gradually became a purely 
agitative leftist organ, with politics forcing poetry and graphic art into the 
background. These new avant-garde periodicals debuted in quick succes- 
sion between 1918 and 1922, presenting an unusual unity of graphic art 
and literature: the ideas of the authors joined with the hopes of the paint- 
ers for a rejuvenation of the world in the spirit of brotherhood. 

Menschen (Mankind; see fig. 19) was the name of a large- 
format periodical that began publication in 1918 in Dresden. Each issue 
was printed on a different colored paper, and the style of the journal was 
characterized by the powerful woodcuts of Felixmiiller and his friends. 
The daring gestures of Expressionist art and the initiatives for the unifica- 
tion of mankind set forth in the new literature can be studied in the 
impressive collection of material here. Also in Dresden there appeared 
between 1918 and 1921 'Neue Blatter fur Kunst und Dichtung (New paper 
for art and poetry; see fig. 178), in whose composition the late Expression- 
ist graphic artists were active. Careful study of this magazine and others 




Kari Schmidt-Rottluff 

Germany, 1884—1976 

Untitled (cover), 1919 


11 X 7% in. (27.9 X 20.0 cm) 

From Die rote Erde 1, no. 8/10 



reveals the vast network of personal relationships among authors and 
graphic artists that characterized the late Expressionist period. Eberz, 
Felixmiiller, Hirsch, Cesar Klein, Schrimpf, Tappert, and others contrib- 
uted to the many journals. One can find their names in Die Biicherkiste 
(The book chest, 1919-21), in the Kiel magazine Die schone Raritdt (The 
beautiful rarity, 1917-19), in the Darmstadt Tribunal (1919-21), and in 
Miinchner Blatter fiir Dichtutig und Graphik (Munich paper for poetry 
and graphics, 1919). Der Weg (The way, 1919; see fig. 70) and Die Sichel 
(The sickle, 1919-21), which the poet Georg Britting published with his 
friend the painter Josef Achmann, are also rich in woodcuts, most of them 
printed from the block. 

Its large-format reproduction of the best woodcuts and 
lithographs makes Der Anbruch (Commencement, 1918-22; fig. 177), 
published by I. B. Neumann and devoted entirely to graphic art, one of 
the most attractive late Expressionist journals. Turning its pages, one can 



ascertain how ideally Expressionist woodcuts were suited to reproduc- 
tion. The few issues that were published are rarities among such 
periodicals. This is also the case for Ararat (1919-21), published in Mu- 
nich by Hans Goltz. Among the later journals, two interesting and valu- 
able Hamburg publications should also be mentioned; Die rote Erde (The 
red earth, 1919-23; see fig. 181), edited by the painter, graphic artist, 
and poet Karl Lorenz, and Kundung (Annunciation, 1921; see fig. 24). 
Impressive prints, especially woodcuts, by otherwise unknown Hamburg 
artists can be found in the former. The same artists were involved with the 
latter, which has remained memorable above all for the contributions of 
Schmidt-Rottluff, who provided woodcuts not only for the cover but for 
selected texts and initials as well. 

With the exception of D(?r Sturm and Die Aktion, all the 
Expressionist periodicals were short-lived. Most existed a year at most 
and seem to have been printed in small editions, hence their rarity. In 
their immediacy and forcefulness of expression the graphic contributions 
are completely in keeping with the poetry and prose they illustrate. There 
is relative similarity of appearance among them, and yet they are quite 
distinct. They attest to the activities of artists and poets and bear witness, 
in the wake of a devastating war, to the hopes of painters and graphic 
artists in the period following the revolution of 1918. 

Few of these hopes were realized. The end of Expres- 
sionism signaled the end of most of the new artistic-literary periodicals as 
well, publications that had constituted a highly diversified presence in the 
literary marketplace of 1920. Their collection and careful study offer an 
important means of access to the art of Expressionism and a key to under- 
standing it in the context of the movement as a whole. 


Conrad Felixmiiller 

Germany. 1S97- 1977 

Q-R, 1925 

Woodcut with watercolor 
yWi&x 9'yi6 in. (19.9 X 24.9 cm) 
From ABC: Ein geschiitteltes, 
gekniitteltes Alphabet in 
Bildern mit Versen von Londa 
und Conrad Felixmiiller 
83.1.656 k 
Davis 617.11 




Carl Otto Czeschka 

Austria, 1878-1960 
Untitled (woman dreaming of 
birds), c. 1905 
Color lithograph 
5'/i X 4"/ir, in. (13.3 X 11. 9 cm) 
From Franz Keim, Die 
Nibelungen: Dem deutschen 
Volke wiedererzahlt 
83.1.59 a, b 
Davis 459. 1 


1 For this reason it is impossible, in 
my opinion, to designate 1907 as 
the beginning of Expressionist 
book illustration, as does Lothar 
Lang in his richly illustrated and 
documented book Die expressio- 
nistische Buchillustration in 
Deutschland, 1907-J927 {Lu- 
cerne and Frankfurt am Main; 
VerlagC. ]. Bucher, 1975), a pio- 
neering study of this aspect of 
Expressionism (see p. 41). 

2 Annemarie Dube-Heynig, Ernst 
Ludwig Kirchner: Graphih (Mu- 
nich: Prestel-Verlag, 1961), p. 8. 

3 Erhart Kaestner, Der Malerbnch 
des zwanzigsten Jahrliunderts 
(Stammheini, 1968), p. 28. 

There were to be no imitators of Expressionism in the Weimar RepubUc 
or in the years that followed. The abundance of artistic production that 
characterized Expressionism disappeared; the desire of artists to contrib- 
ute graphics to periodicals was in large part lost. One journal nevertheless 
preserved the heritage of Expressionism until it was proscribed in 1936. 
That periodical, Der Querschnitt (The cross section, 1921-36), initially 
published as a gallery journal by art dealer Alfred Flechtheim, who was 
deeply involved in the Expressionist movement, developed into a 
monthly magazine conveying remarkable insight into the art, literature, 
theater, film, dance, and sports of the 1920s. In this context Expression- 
ism continued to be represented: new paintings and graphic works were 
reproduced, exhibitions discussed, and news concerning artists and 
museums reported. These communications were delivered with the same 
degree of engagement and enthusiasm that one associates with the early 
Expressionist periodicals. Yet the conclusion that the productive phase of 
Expressionism had been replaced by Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity) 
and its program of social criticism cannot be avoided. The new movement 
coincided with the introduction of new techniques for reproducing art. 
There was no longer a significant place for the original graphic art that had 
so powerfully marked the style of Expressionist books and journals. As a 
result, this moment in the history of art, when a plenitude of artistic tal- 
ent yielded an amazing panorama of possibilities for development and 
expression, seems all the more important today. Through the illustrated 
books and literary-artistic journals of the period, it is possible to explore 
the extent to which Expressionism constituted the German contribution 
to modernism, to the art of the twentieth century. 

Translated from the German by Harriet Watts 

rMssttiiBsasatfcaaaii!*,*-.?-' * '"' i'l'ms-iSxmivsmi'tAi'fm^ ii-i ■» 





The Embrace of 
Tlie Vagaries 
of Its Reception 
in America 

Stephanie Barron 



Oskar Schlemmer 

Germany, 1888-1943 

Utopia: Dokumente der 

Wirklichkeit. 1921 

(Utopia: Documents of reality) 

Lithograph with watercolor and 

metalhc paint 

iz'/j X 9'/2 in. (31.2 X 24.2 cm) 

Cover of book with hthograplis 

by Johannes Itten 

83- 1-93 l< 
Davis 2506 

Installation view of the Armory 
Show, New York, 1913 

The Armory Show of 1913 is regarded as the first large-scale international 
exhibition of avant-garde art in America, yet its organizers included only a 
few examples of German Expressionist art, even though they presented 
dozens of examples of French art created at the same time. This is all the 
more curious since it was the experience of viewing the 1912 Sonderbund 
exhibition in Cologne that inspired the organizers to mount very soon 
thereafter an equally ambitious international exhibition in America. The 
show in Cologne included French, Dutch, and German art of the avant- 
garde, but the Armory Show (see fig. 185) included only one painting 
each by Wassily Kandinsky and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as well as two 
sculptures by Wilhelm Lehmbruck. Artist-organizer Walt Kuhn not only 
visited the Sonderbund exhibition but also traveled to Berlin and Mu- 
nich, where he met with eminent dealers Hans Goltz and Heinrich 
Thannhauser.' Yet Kuhn did not return to the States with any other exam- 
ples of Blaue Reiter or Briicke painting, to say nothing of works by other 
Expressionist artists, many of whom were represented in Cologne. Thus, 
from the very first major avant-garde exhibition in America, the role of the 
German Expressionists was acknowledged only nominally. 

The German Expressionist works in the Armory Show 
were Kandinsky 's Improvisation (No. 27J (1912), which was sold to Alfred 
Stieglitz and then given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
and Kirchner's Wirtsgarten in Steglitz (Garden restaurant in Steglitz, 
1911), which was returned to Goltz. Lehmbruck's Stehende weibliche 
Figur (Standing woman, 1910), a plaster, was destroyed after the 1916 
casting (the bronze is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, 
New York). His stone Knieende (Kneeling woman, 1911) remained un- 
sold; today it is in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. 

Despite these inauspicious beginnings. Expressionism 
did find support in America. The history of the gradual appreciation of the 
movement in this country involves a number of individuals, both German 
emigres and native Americans, who shared an enthusiasm for contempo- 
rary German art. Through their writings, through the exhibitions they 
organized, and through their acquisitions for important pubhc and private 
collections, these individuals introduced Expressionism to museums, 
collectors, critics, and the public. 




Katherine Dreier and Marcel 
Duchamp in Katherine Dreier's 
living room, 1936-37 

While evidently the organizers of the Armory Show did not respond fa- 
vorably to modern German art, an American collector traveling in Berlin, 
Katherine Dreier (see fig. 186), was captivated by what she saw at 
Herwarth Walden's gallery, Der Sturm. Along with Dada artist Marcel 
Duchamp, she dedicated herself to the exhibition, acquisition, and dis- 
semination of the most progressive art. Under the aegis of her organiza- 
tion, the Societe Anonyme, she introduced works by "large numbers of 
unknown artists to New York, especially German artists whose works she 
found during her frequent trips to Europe. Der Sturm was her chief 
source, and she borrowed many dozens of paintings, drawings, and 
prints, and a few sculptures, planning to sell them and return the money 
to the artists or their galleries— hopes seldom realized."^ 

Between 1920 and 1926 the Societe Anonyme organized 
thirty-five exhibitions, including monographic presentations of the work 
of Heinrich Gampendonk, Kandinsky, and Paul Klee, which were their 
first solo shows in America. The organization also sponsored a group show 
of German Expressionist art.^ In 1926 Dreier undertook an extremely 
ambitious project, the mounting of an international exhibition of progres- 
sive art at the Brooklyn Museum. She and Duchamp invited 106 artists 





OCTOBER. 13- DECEMBER4 • 1927 


Cover of the catalogue of the 
twenty-sixth Carnegie Interna- 
tional Exhibition, Carnegie 
Institute, Pittsburgh, October 
13 through December 4, 1927 

representing nineteen countries to participate with more than three hun- 
dred works. In contrast to the Armory Show, which was certainly in 
Dreier's mind, the Brooklyn show, International Exhibition of Modern 
Art, included works by many of the leading avant-garde artists in Ger- 
many, including Willi Baumeister, Carl Buchheister, Campendonk, Otto 
Gutfreund, Heinrich Hoerle, Johannes Itten, Kandinsky, Edmund 
Resting, Klee, Franz Marc, Johannes Molzahn, Gabriele Miinter, Hans 
Nitzshke, Hugo Scheiber, Kurt Schwitters, Franz Seiwert, Kate Steinitz, 
Fritz Stuckenberg, and Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart. 

The Brooklyn show explored modernism more fully than 
any previous American exhibition, devoting equal attention to the contri- 
butions of German, Russian, Hungarian, and Dutch artists, while includ- 
ing the standard homage to the French. Critical reaction to the exhibition 
revealed "a dearth of real understanding of the intentions of the modern 
artists and a remarkably low level of perceptivity. Steeped in the writings 
of Clive Bell and Roger Fry and nurtured on the modern French aesthetic 
tradition, the vast majority of the critics proved incapable of assessing the 
works as anything more than pleasing formal exercises."^ 

Although the exhibition was accompanied by provocative 
lectures and selections from the exhibition traveled to Manhattan, Buf- 
falo, and Toronto, it is difficult to assess its impact. As art historian Robert 
Herbert has written, "It was reviewed in all major New York dailies and in 
the national art press, but the evolution of modern art in America appears 
not to have been accelerated nor even sidetracked by the show."^ On 
another level the exhibition had a significant effect, since most of the 
works included were ultimately acquired by Dreier for her collection or 
for the collection of the Societe Anonyme, most of which was bequeathed 
to Yale University. 

The annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pitts- 
burgh (see fig. 187), begun in 1896, sought to show a range of European 
modern art side by side with American achievements. In its early years 
the exhibition did not feature avant-garde artists, tending instead toward 
more established, noncontroversial figures. In 1924, when Homer Saint- 
Gaudens assumed the directorship ol the Carnegie Institute, he began a 
new system of information gathering to assemble the exhibition. For fif- 
teen years, from 1924 to 1939, he hired a German adviser, Charlotte Weid- 
ler, whose job was to recommend artists and works to be seen by the 
visiting American committee and then to arrange for the collection and trans- 
port of the chosen works. Weidler was a scholar and art critic for the news- 
paper Berliner Tageblatt and a contributor to the periodical Das Kunstblatt. 

Correspondence between Weidler and Saint-Gaudens, 
recently published by the Archives of American Art, reveals the struggle 
to continue to include German artists in the International after the Nazis 
seized power. In the thirties not only were the Expressionists purged 
from teaching positions and their works banned from museums, but deal- 
ers were also proscribed from showing their art. Through her unstinting 
efforts Weidler was able to continue to locate work and send it to the 
States for inclusion in the exhibition. The correspondence sheds an inter- 
esting light on the political nature of the International. A sense of urgency 
underlies Weidler s letters: 




William R. Valentiner 

I pray all day that [you] receive all money for the next 
International. It is very important for the German sec- 
tion that [you] yourself come to Germany [1^33]-^ 

- All German painters thanks you very much, that you 
make the German section and the important Interna- 
tional. . . . It would be very nice, if you would be here 
and you can hear ivhat they say. For iiiost of them, are 
your exhibitions the onliest possibility to shoiv [their] 
work. These are Schmidt-Rottluff, Beckmann, Ko- 
koschka, Meckel, Nolde, etc. I tvill pray that you can con- 
tinue. If you have difficidties to continue . . . German 
section, please say, that these exhibitions are the onliest 
exhibitions for [these] painters, who suffer under the 
Nazi-Terror [1^34]." 

Unfortunately the impact of the German art chosen for 
the International during those years was not overwhelming, perhaps be- 
cause it was difficult to obtain top examples after the Nazis took power. 
Yet the attitude of the organizers is worth noting. Their inclusion of works 
by artists who were being persecuted in their native land was as much a 
political statement as an artistic one. 

The expatriates and refugees who were intimately in- 
volved with the Expressionist artists in Germany played a crucial role in 
the history of German Expressionism in America. Chief among them, and 
certainly one of the earliest, was William R. Valentiner (see figs. 188-89), 
who received museum training in Berlin under Wilhelm von Bode, direc- 
tor general of the Berlin Museum. Valentiner had studied seventeenth- 
century Dutch art, but he maintained a lively interest in contemporary 
art. Through the intervention of von Bode, he was offered the position of 
curator of decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1907. 
This began a lifelong connection with museums in America, including the 
Detroit Institute of Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the 
North Carolina Museum of Art, not to speak of the dozens of colleagues 
he influenced at museums throughout the United States. 

For six years Valentiner's curatorial duties at the Metro- 
politan Museum brought him into contact with some of the major collec- 
tors of the day, including industrialists J. P. Morgan and John D. Rocke- 
feller. Valentiner traveled to Europe annually in conjunction with acquisi- 
tions for the Metropolitan and its collectors. In 1914 he returned to 
Europe, and the outbreak of war there forced him to remain in Germany. 
He enlisted in that year and served in the Bavarian field artillery. He met 
Franz Marc during their training. The Expressionist artist was killed only 
a few days after finishing the training. Valentiner wrote in his diary; 

I found time to ask [Marc] about these [German Expres- 
sionist] artistic endeavors in Germany, the subject of an 
impassioned conflict for some time before the war. Be- 
cause of my professional activity in America in the years 
preceding the war, I had almost no contact with German 
artists. Thus I had never seen any paintings by Marc or 




Kari Schmidt-RotUuff 

Germany, 1884-1976 
Bildnis Valentiner 1 , 1923 
(Portrait of Valentiner 1) 

ig^/is " 15'/= in- (49- 7 X 39-3 cm) 
M. 82.287.60 
Davis 2573 

by his friend August Macke, whose death at the begin- 
ning of the war had deeply distressed Marc. . . . I never 
had the opportunity to express to this master how deeply 
the spirit of his unique art moved me. What fantasy and, 
at the same time, what logical constructions could be dis- 
cerned in Marc's creations— how consistent this develop- 
ment had been from his impressionist beginnings to the 
abstract compositions of his last years!^ 

Following the armistice, Valentiner returned to Berlin. 
He was acquainted with many artists and writers there, and he became 
one of the founders of the Arbeitsrat Rir Kunst (working council for art), 
one of the short-lived radical artists' groups that emerged following the 
November Revolution of 1918. 

At the invitation of the collector Joseph Widener, 
Valentiner returned to America in 1921, specifically to catalogue Widen- 
er's collection of Old Master paintings. The reception he encountered in 
America was quite different from his earlier experience. Collectors and 
colleagues at the Metropolitan and elsewhere were initially aloof, and 
only gradually did he become comfortable again in the States. 

In 1921 Valentiner received an invitation from the An- 
derson Galleries in New York to arrange an exhibition of modern German 
art. The Anderson Galleries had a well-established commitment to mod- 
ernism. Under the direction of Mitchell Kennedy the gallery had made 
its rooms available for the showing of the Forum exhibition of American 
art, a successor to the Armory Show, in 1916, and it maintained a relation- 
ship with the Societe Anonyme for several years. Valentiner corre- 
sponded with the artists in 1922 and selected works for the show, which 
opened in the fall of 1923. Among the artists included were Campendonk, 
Karl Caspar, Maria Caspar- Filser, Arthur Degner, Lyonel Feininger, 
Herbert Garbe, George Grosz, Erich Heckel, W. R. Huth, Max Kaus, 
Klee, Georg Kolbe, Lehmbruck, Gerhard Marcks, Otto Mueller, Hein- 
rich Nauen, Emil Nolde, Alfred Partikel, Max Pechstein, Franz Radzi- 
well, Emy Roeder, Christian Rohlfs, Edwin Scharff, Richard Scheibe, 
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Martel Schwichtenberg, Richard Seewald, Renee 
Sintenis, Milly Steger, and Max Unold.'' 

The exhibition included 272 works; watercolors, draw- 
ings, and prints were shown for one week, followed by a presentation of 
paintings and sculptures. In the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, 
A Collection of Modern German Art, Valentiner wrote: 

The exhibition in New York of a collection of modern 
German art is an experiment. Many are entirely unac- 
quainted with the German phase of the modern art 
movement; many are hostile to it. It is indeed very dif- 
ficult to understand the artistic spirit of a country that 
has been cut off from the world for years and has devel- 
oped an art more indigenous than almost ever before in 
its history. Courage to hold this exhibition has been given 
by the well-known lack of prejudice and the broad 
understanding of American friends of art. ^° 

136 Barron 

He went on to compare the situation of France in 1870, at the time of the 
Franco-Prussian War, with that of contemporary Germany. PoHtically 
France was in turmoil at that time, yet art flourished. Valentiner under- 
stood that Americans would have trouble comprehending the new and 
often raw experiences offered by Expressionist art and tried to provide a 
context for its creation: the war years, suffering, and the socially progres- 
sive spirit of postwar Germany. He continued; 

Let us not be misled if our first impression is unexpected 
and not always pleasing. . . . This latest movement in art 
has perhaps even more violent adversaries than those 
who fought against the masters of the Barbizon School or 
against the Impressionists. . . . Only he who does not see 
the extraordinary break of history caused by war, by its 
antecedents and its consequences, can expect that art, 
this mirror of nations, will continue in its normal way as 
it did during preceding generations.^^ 

Not all the artists selected fell into the category of 
Expressionist, for Valentiner included artists who represented other cur- 
rents within modern German art as well. For the most part he chose art- 
ists who were already well established in Germany and whose works were 
included in museum collections. He discussed the works and the artists 
sympathetically and with conviction. The art press was hardly laudatory: 

It would be inadvisable to search this exhibit for artistic 
greatness; but anyone should visit it who is not afraid of 
frank expression of powerful feelings. Indeed, the 
expression to be found here is more than frank; it is 
aggressive. . . . These Germans are not concocting pretty 
and pleasant pictures with an eye on a comfortable 
public whose art palate is to be profitably tickled; they 
are perhaps indifferent to any and all public. . . . In this 
assemblage of post-war art such a hysterical quality 

That very few of the exhibited works were sold Valentiner 
considered of incidental importance. Despite the mixed criticism, he 
wrote, "the main goal has been accomplished, I believe; German art, 
which for fifty years . . . has not been accepted but has instead been 
pushed aside by French art, has at last arrived in America and been 
judged favorable."" The artists, though disappointed by the lack of sales, 
were grateful to Valentiner for the opportunity to exhibit. Several Ameri- 
can and European dealers saw the exhibition. Some German dealers had 
already established branches in New York, including Paul Cassirer and 
Koelher; others, such as Ferdinand Moeller and \. B. Neumann, were 
probably encouraged to open branches there. 

While this first showing in America was not a propitious 
beginning for German Expressionism, it did introduce to some the inten- 
sity, power, and subject matter of this art. Throughout his life Valentiner 
kept in contact with the Expressionists, seeking them out during frequent 
trips to Europe. They in turn sought his help quite actively after Hitler 




Cover of the catalogue of the 
exhibition German Expression- 
ist Prints, Los Angeles County 
Museum, October 8 through 
November zS, 1954 




came to power. For many artists Valentiner was the only link to America, 
just as Katherine Dreier and Galka Scheyer were for others. The Briicke 
artist Schniidt-Rottluff always considered Valentiner his greatest friend 
and felt that Valentiner alone was responsible for awakening American art 
collectors to the significance of German Expressionism. 

While he was organizing the Anderson Galleries show, 
Valentiner visited Detroit at the invitation of Ralph H. Booth, who as 
president of the Detroit Arts Commission was involved in planning a new 
museum for that city, to study "problems with particular reference to the 
new building in order that the architects might have the benefit of his 
experienced judgement."" Thus began a relationship with the Detroit 
Institute of Arts that would last until 1945; first as a consultant and later as 
the museum's first director, he guided the museum and many of its trust- 
ees in the formation of a collection of Old Master works and modern art. 
On a buying trip to Germany in 1922 Valentiner was accompanied by 
Booth and his wife, whom he convinced to purchase several examples of 
German Expressionist art. The Booths continued to buy Expressionist art 
for a number of years. Valentiner noted, "Mr. Booth is my best pupil 
among these Americans, who are susceptible to German Expression- 
ism."^^ Valentiner acquired works by Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Beckmann, 
Kokoschka, Feininger, Nolde, and Kirchner for Detroit well in advance of 
purchases made by other institutions. His influence in Detroit extended 
beyond the exhibitions and acquisitions that he arranged for the museum. 
During his tenure he worked with colleagues who went to other museums 
instilled with a love for German Expressionism. 

One of the most important of these "disciples" was Perry 
Rathbone, who became director of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis 
and later director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1940 Rathbone 
wrote the catalogue for an exhibition that already reflected his apprecia- 
tion for the German Expressionists. ^^ His passion for Expressionism and 
awareness of Beckmann led him to invite the painter to Saint Louis in 
1947. This liaison proved to be very important in the history of Expres- 
sionism in America, as is discussed later in this essay. 

In 1945, after Valentiner reached retirement age, he was 
offered the job of director-consultant for the art division of the Los An- 
geles County Museum. While still traveling for the Detroit Institute, 
Valentiner had become a friend of Clifford Odets. In Los Angeles Odets 
introduced Valentiner to members of the Hollywood community, many of 
whom were also German expatriates. At that time the Los Angeles 
County Museum was a museum of both art and natural history, and 
Valentiner made great strides in raising the level of professionalism and 
increasing the emphasis on fine art. He encouraged members of the film- 
making community to collect. Many of them were familiar with the Ger- 
man Expressionists and were receptive to Valentiner's suggestions. There 
already was an audience sympathetic to Expressionism in Los Angeles, as 
Galka Scheyer had recognized as early as the late 1920s. 

In 1948 Valentiner traveled to Saint Louis to see his for- 
mer colleague Rathbone and was greatly impressed with the Beckmann 
exhibition he saw there. He made arrangements for the show to come to 
Los Angeles, although "he was afraid that the Beckmann paintings would 

138 Barron 

be a shock to many in Los Angeles. " He was dubious about the way the 
governors would react but confident that "it [would] be a feather in our 
cap for the future that we are among the first to show it. "i''' Valentiner 
personally gave the museum many of the graphics that became the 
foundation of its collection of German Expressionist prints. In 1954 Ebria 
Feinblatt, the museum's curator of prints, organized one of the first 
postwar exhibitions of German Expressionist prints (see fig. 190).'* 

Valentiner ended his museum career in Raleigh, where 
he was appointed director of the North Carolina Museum of Art in 1955. 
Three years later he organized a Kirchner memorial exhibition there. By 
then many of his museum colleagues had recognized that his contribution 
to the history of modern art rested on his sensitive scholarly writings on 
German Expressionism and his relentless efforts to acquaint a younger 
generation of art historians and museum curators with the movement. On 
the occasion of Valentiner s death later in 1958, E. P. Richardson, then 
director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, recalled, "in Germany, between 
1914 and 1921, he developed his friendship with the German Expression- 
ist painters and sculptors whose works are now world famous and to whose 
fame his support and writings contributed greatly. "'^ 

Another German expatriate, beginning in the 1920s, had 
a long-lasting influence on the exposure of German Expressionist artists 
in America. Artist-turned-collector-turned-dealer Emmy "Galka" Scheyer 
(see fig. 191) was a passionate advocate for the art of Lyonel Feininger, 
Alexej von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. In Germany she 
had occasionally sold works for Jawlensky; after the early 1920s she began 
to do the same occasionally for Klee, Kandinsky, and Feininger. It was in 
1924, however, when an opportunity arose for Scheyer to travel to Amer- 
ica, that her relationship with these artists became formalized. All four 
authorized her to act on their behalf in the States. They also agreed that 
50 percent of any proceeds would be paid to them, 30 percent to Scheyer, 
and 20 percent to a trust established on their behalf, called the Blue Four. 
By the end of that year Scheyer had sold only one work in America, but 
she was not deterred and lectured and wrote widely about "her artists." 
The first exhibition of the Blue Four was mounted by Scheyer at the Dan- 
iel Gallery in New York in 1925. It was not a success, but Scheyer, hoping 
to improve the response to the artists, traveled west, lecturing as she 
went. In California she found the response she was seeking. 

Between 1925 and 1928 she organized exhibitions and 
lectured in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles. She kept in touch 
with her artists through an extensive correspondence. Among the Califor- 
nia exhibitions were traveling shows that were seen at the Oakland Art 
Gallery, the Braxton Gallery in Hollywood, the California Palace of the 
Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum. 
In 1927 Scheyer took up residence in Los Angeles, moving into a house 
designed by R. M. Schindler. There her proselytizing efforts on behalf of 
the Blue Four and modern art continued unabated for two decades. The 
collection of works by the four artists that she assembled is extraordinary, 
and her unstinting support did much to increase the American public's 
awareness of their importance. Today the Galka Scheyer collection of the 
Blue Four is housed at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. 




Galka Schever 

Baroness Hilla von Rebay, another European expatriate, 
was an artist and later a museum director whose early exposure to the 
German Expressionists yielded results when she emigrated to America in 
1927. As a young woman in Germany in the 1910s and 1920s, she was an 
ardent follower of avant-garde activities. She was greatly influenced by 
the exhibitions and activities sponsored by Walden. She became friendly 
with Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, and Marc through their participation in 
Der Sturm events. Throughout her life, however, Rebay was drawn to the 
abstract and spiritual aspects of modern German art. It was the non- 
objective aspect of this art that she championed in her subsequent 
involvement with the Guggenheim family, and she was instrumental in 
the formation and direction of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. 
Of all the museums in New York, only the Museum of Non-Objective 
Painting had a strong identification with contemporary European art. 
Rebay s acquisitions for the museum were the basis for the collection of 
the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which has continued to honor its 
heritage by presenting many exhibitions of northern and central Euro- 
pean modern art. 

While the pioneering efforts of some American collectors 
acknowledged the achievements of modern German art and the Expres- 
sionists in particular, there were several other collectors of avant-garde art 
whose collections and reputations are remarkable, if not legendary, yet 
who were seemingly ignorant of or indifferent to German Expressionism. 
Lawyer-collector John Quinn, who, it can be argued, built the finest 
collection of avant-garde painting and sculpture in the United States dur- 
ing the 1910s, collected French and American artists almost exclusively. 2" 
The Stein family— Gertrude, Leo, Michael, and Sarah— never bought any 
works by German Expressionists, although they were in Europe during 
the early decades of the century. They collected exclusively in the area of 
modern French painting, amassing sizable holdings of works by Henri 
Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and others. Perhaps more surprising is the case of 
the Cone sisters of Baltimore. Claribel and Etta Cone, who were friendly 
with the Steins, shared their interest in collecting French art. Claribel 
was a physician, fluent in German, who spent the years 1909 to 1915 in 
Munich, exactly during the development of the Blaue Reiter. It is curious 
that either she had no awareness of the radical activity of Kandinsky and 
Marc and the impact that they were having on German avant-garde art or 
that she had no interest in it. Contemporary German art also had no 
appeal for the collector from Merion, Pennsylvania, Albert C. Barnes, 
whose taste also ran to masterpieces of the French school. 

As an advocate for modernism, there can be no doubt 
that Paul Sachs, professor of art at Harvard University, was one of the 
most influential people in America. Sachs believed that his students 
should not only have a sound grounding in art of the past but also be 
knowledgeable about the art of their time. From his appointment in 1915 
and for thirty-five years thereafter, his teaching, advice, and influence 
helped to guide the founding of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 
the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Busch-Reisinger 
Museum at Harvard and the development of dozens of other American 
museums. This is not the place for an extended discussion of Sachs's role 




Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 1929 

in American museum history; it has been considered only insofar as it 
relates to the impact and spread of Expressionism. 

Through the perseverance of three Harvard sophomores 
the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art was founded in 1928. It would 
turn out to be the model for the first museum in America devoted to 
modern art. The students— Lincoln Kirstein, John Walker, and Edward 
Warburg— sought to exhibit contemporary works of art that the Fogg 
Museum at Harvard would not show. Sachs was one of the faculty spon- 
sors and took an active role in this advisory capacity. It is likely that 
Sachs s interest in the project stemmed from his experiences with a for- 
mer graduate student, Alfred Barr, Jr. , who was then teaching modern art 
at Wellesley College. During the first year of its eight-year history, the 
Harvard Society mounted monthly exhibitions of works drawn from deal- 
ers and private collectors in the Northeast and sponsored lectures and 
performances. -1 

It was also at Harvard in 1903 that the only museum in 
America devoted exclusively to Germanic art was founded. The Germanic 
Museum's collection included full-scale plaster casts of medieval monu- 
ments, reproductions, and books. A new building for the museum, paid 
for by Adolphus Busch, was begun in 1914, on the eve of the Eirst World 
War. It was hardly a propitious moment, and the new museum was not 
completed until 1922. Sachs recommended Charles Kuhn, who was then 
studying Catalan Romanesque art at Harvard, as the new curator for the 
museum. In 1930 Kuhn was appointed despite his lack of experience in 
Germanic studies. His first and most profound change was to amend the 
acquisition policy to include original works of art. On his first trip to Ger- 
many on behalf of the museum, Kuhn acquired Rudolf Belling's sculpture 
Bildnis des Kunsthdndlers Alfred Flechtheim (Portrait of the art dealer 
Alfred Elechtheim, 1927). Through his determined efforts the museum 
acquired Beckmann's Selbstbildnis im Smoking (Self-portrait in tuxedo, 
1927); Der Bettler (The beggar, 1930), the first Barlach sculpture to enter 
an American museum; Erich Heckel's Genesende (Triptychon) (Convales- 
cent woman [triptych], 1912-13); and presented exhibitions of works by 
Kathe Kollwitz (1933); Grosz (1935); Otto Dix (1936); Feininger (1938); 
Klee, Mies van der Rohe, Beckmann (1940); Marc (1941); and many oth- 
ers before they were well known. The Busch-Reisinger Museum, as it is 
known today, is still devoted to the art of Germany and contains, in addi- 
tion to a fine collection, important archival resources. 

During 1927-28 Alfred Barr (see fig. 192) left his teach- 
ing post at Wellesley for one year to travel through Europe and observe 
firsthand contemporary developments abroad. He maintained a lively 
correspondence with Sachs recounting his experiences in France, Ger- 
many, and the Soviet Union. Upon his return he delivered a series of 
lectures on contemporary art at Wellesley. It is not surprising that in 
1929, when the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York 
asked Sachs to recommend a director, he suggested Barr. 

Most histories of modern art focus on the examples set 
forth by the Museum of Modern Art during its early years and conse- 
quently reflect the attitudes and tastes of its first director. An examination 
of the museum's acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications during his 



Cover of the catalogue of the 
exhibition German Painting 
and Sculpture, Museum of 
Modern Art, New York, March 
12 through April 26, 1931 


Installation view of the exhibi- 
tion German Painting and 
Sculpture, Museum of Modern 
Art, New York, March 12 
through April 26, 1931 

tenure shows clearly that Barr's predilection lay with abstract art. Writing 
in What Is Modern Painting? Barr identified abstraction as the greatest 
achievement of twentieth-century art. He traced a linear formalist devel- 
opment from Paul Cezanne to Picasso and on through the decades, cham- 
pioning qualities of line, color, and form independent of content. His 
were powerful arguments, supported by detailed catalogues and ambi- 
tious educational programs. 

In 1931 Barr mounted the second American museum 
exhibition devoted exclusively to modern German art, German Painting 
and Sculpture (see figs. 193-94).^^ It was drawn from nineteen private 
collections in America and Europe, three galleries, and nine German 
museums. The show included current avant-garde art from Germany but 
eschewed German Impressionists such as Lovis Gorinth, Max Lieber- 
mann, and Max Slevogt. Also excluded by Barr were those artists who 
followed directly in the pattern of Matisse— such as Rudolf Levy, Oskar 
Moll, and Hans Purrmann— and the pure abstractionists most closely 
associated with the Bauhaus, for example, Kandinsky and Laszlo Moholy- 
Nagy. Feininger was omitted because, according to Barr's catalogue, his 
work had recently been shown by the museum. Jean Arp and Max Ernst 
were also omitted; Barr identified them as belonging to the School of 
Paris. He described the parameters of the exhibition as 1905 until the 
First World War, thus establishing a frame of reference that has remained 
in place for decades. 

One of the problems of the 1931 exhibition was that it 
failed to make a statement about Expressionism through the selection of 
artists; instead it was a somewhat diluted survey of Expressionism, the 




NEW YORK 1931 






James Plant, 1940 

Bauhaus, and more academic strains in modern German art. In the cata- 
logue Barr compared the works in the exhibition to French art: "To appre- 
ciate German art, it is necessary to reahze that much of it is very different 
from either French or American art. . . . Most German artists are roman- 
tic, they seem to be less interested in form and style as ends in themselves 
and more in feeling, in emotional values and even in moral, religious, 
social and philosophical considerations."^^ 

Barr's implication is that German art is not as pure as 
French or abstract art. He saw Expressionist art as antithetical to the 
French predilection for pure line, color, and form. In the exhibition cele- 
brating the Modern's tenth anniversary. Art in Our Time, he included 
Georges Rouault in the Expressionist section with this startling comment: 
"Rouault, although a Frenchman, is the greatest of the artists called 
Expressionist,' a term usually associated with German art. "^■* 

The Francocentric orientation of most histories of mod- 
ern art and most collecting patterns in America can certainly be traced to 
the philosophies and practices of the Museum of Modern Art and Alfred 
Barr. For many decades the Modern and its collection have been the stan- 
dards by which artists, critics, scholars, collectors, curators, and dealers 
have judged modern art. That the museums attitude toward Expression- 
ism had not changed by 1984 was evident in the reinstallation of the col- 
lection that year. Gritic Hilton Kramer wrote on that occasion: 

Has a decision been made to downgrade the entire 
Expressionist movement? It would seem so. Thus, no 
room has been found in the galleries devoted to the Eu- 
ropean masters for the greatest German painter of the 
century, who is also the culminating figure of the Expres- 
sionist movement— Max Beckmann. . . . So7nedaij the 
entire subject of Expressionism is going to have to be 
reconsidered at the museum. Elsewhere in the art world 
it is a particularly hot subject just now, but word of this 
development does not seem to have reached the muse- 
um's Department of Painting and Scidpture.^^ 

During the decades when Barr was espousing his formal- 
ist concept of modern art, there were a few lone voices that called out for 
an appreciation of representational art that reflected the conditions of 
contemporary society. In the 1930s another institution was formed with 
the goal of disseminating modern and contemporary art. In 1936 a group 
of five Boston citizens organized an associate chapter of the Museum of 
Modern Art with the intention of presenting exhibitions but with no goal 
of forming a permanent collection. In 1938 Sachs again suggested a direc- 
tor for a new institution; hence the appointment of James Plant, a grad- 
uate of Harvard, as director of the Boston Institute of Modern Art (the 
institution had voted to drop its affiliation with New York's MOMA).^'' 

Plant (see fig. 195) conceived an ambitious schedule of 
exhibitions during his initial years at the institute, including a controver- 
sial show. Sources of Modern Painting (1939). In the catalogue he argued 
that a painting is "a complicated organism, embodying many diverse ele- 
ments, of which the painter himself may be conscious of only a few. His 



heredity and his place in the social, economic, and political orders which 
prevail at the time of his activity combine with other more strictly picto- 
rial forces to determine the nature and content of his painting."^''' Plant set 
the groundwork for a series of exhibitions and catalogues that sought to 
examine the meaning behind modernism and not to examine art on a 
purely formal basis. 

In 1939 Plant organized Contemporary German Art (see 
fig. 196), an exhibition containing seventy-four examples of painting, 
sculpture, and prints drawn from public and private collections in Amer- 
ica, many belonging to recently arrived emigres. In the catalogue he 
warned the American viewer: "Contemporary German art has none of the 
gaiety, charm, and technical brilliance readily associated with the spectac- 
ular school of Paris or the best of our own Americans. It seems almost 
overburdened with sociological implications and guided by repression or 
adversity; emotional intensity and extraordinary invention are peculiarly 
Germanic qualities however, which are felt in every serious work of these 
artists and establish the merit of their efforts."^* Where known, in the 
catalogue citation for each work Plant included an indication of prov- 
enance, which often included well-known German museums, for 
example, "formerly in the National Gallery, Berlin." 

There was interest in the exhibition, if only because it 
was connected with political events in Germany. Many of the best works 
in the exhibition had been lent by refugee art dealers. Some of these 
dealers had been bidders at the 1939 auction at the Gallery Fischer in 
Lucerne or had brought the works with them when they fled Germany. 
Beckmann's Selbstbildnis im Smoking was purchased by Harvard for four 
hundred dollars in 1942. Formerly it had been in the collection of the 
Nationalgalerie in Berlin and was brought to this country by a dealer. ^^ 

Among the German refugees who moved to America was 
prominent art dealer Curt Valentin, whose Buchholz Gallery became an 
important place to see examples of German Expressionism. Valentin emi- 

Installation view of the exhibi- 
tion Contemporary German 
Art, Institute of Modern Art, 
Boston, November 2 through 
December 9, 1939 










Cover oi the catalogue of the 
exhibition Forbidden Art in the 
Third Reich, Institute of Mod- 
ern Art, Boston, November 12 
through December 9, 1945 

grated in 1937 and opened a gallery in New York. He collaborated with 
museum directors, helping to organize exhibitions in New York, Boston, 
and Saint Louis. He was generous in his donations of German Expres- 
sionist works to many museums as well. It is notable that at least one 
major museum exhibition (German Art of the Twentieth Century, 
Museum of Modern Art, 1956) and one monograph (Bernard S. Myers's 
The German Expressionists: A Generation in Revolt, 1957) were dedi- 
cated to his memory. On the occasion of a memorial exhibition in 1955, 
Perry Rathbone, then director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, wrote, "In 
the brief span of less than two decades Curt Valentin laid an impress upon 
the cultural development of his adopted county which will be as enduring 
as the art he loved, understood, and sponsored."^** 

One of the exhibitions that addressed the Nazi's prohibi- 
tion against modern art most directly was mounted by Plant at the Boston 
Institute of Modern Art in 1945. Forbidden Art in the Third Reich (see 
fig. 197) was organized with the assistance of emigre art dealer Karl 
Nierendorf and was augmented by a selection of German Expressionist 
prints that had recently been acquired by another emigre, Jacob Rosen- 
berg, curator of prints at the Fogg. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Plant 
organized a series of Expressionist exhibitions accompanied by land- 
mark publications. A trilogy of monographic shows began in 1948 with a 
retrospective of Oskar Kokoschka's work that was very well received in 
Boston and the other cities it visited. This was followed by shows devoted 
to Edvard Munch (1950) and James Ensor (1951). All three shows were 
later seen at the Museum of Modern Art. In the exhibitions Plant sought 
to represent the "extraordinary innovations of Northern European paint- 
ers. . . . conscious of the fact that the Museum of Modern Art was con- 
cerned very heavily with the School of Paris and with abstraction per se."^^ 

A few museums had begun to acquire German Expres- 
sionist art in the 1930s, including the Museum of Modern Art (Kirchner, 
Klee, and Lehmbruck); the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo (Kolbe, 
Lehmbruck); the Toledo Museum of Art (Karl Hofer); the Art Institute of 
Chicago (Marc); the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design 
(Marc); the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. 

Saint Louis is a city that has been associated with Ger- 
man Expressionism and, in particular, with the painter Max Beckmann 
since the late 1940s. In 1947 Beckmann emigrated to the United States 
from Amsterdam, where he had spent the war years in exile from his na- 
tive Germany. Rathbone had offered him a teaching position at Washing- 
ton University. Beckmann taught there for two years and made a lasting 
impression on his students. ^^ In 1947-48 Rathbone organized the first 
Beckmann retrospective in twenty years, which traveled to major Ameri- 
can museums and helped acquaint Americans with this giant of modern 
German art. In 1948 Saint Louis collector Morton D. May saw his first 
painting by Beckmann at Valentin's gallery and acquired Zwei Schau- 
spielerinnen hei der Garderohe (Two actresses in their dressing room, 
1946). He only then learned that the artist was living in Saint Louis. Thus 
began an enormously productive two years in which May, under the guid- 
ance of Beckmann, set out to establish a collection of modern German art. 
By 1951 May had acquired thirty-nine works, including twelve Beck- 

145 Barron 

manns. By 1970 the number of Beckmann paintings in the May collection 
had swelled to fifty-six. The strength of the collection is in the figurative 
current of German Expressionism. In 1983 May left more than one hun- 
dred German Expressionist paintings and sculptures to the Saint Louis 
Art Museum, thus making it one of the largest collections of its kind. 

A somewhat similar situation evolved in Minneapolis sur- 
rounding the visit of Kokoschka in 1957. During his stay the artist not 
only painted many portraits but also stimulated several private collectors 
and benefactors of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to support Expres- 
sionism. The director of the institute in the 1950s was Richard L. Davis, 
who was an advocate for Expressionism and did much to encourage ac- 
quisitions of Expressionist works during his tenure. The institute's hold- 
ings are particulary strong in works by Barlach, Beckmann, Kirchner, and 
Kokoschka, all of which were donated by collectors who began buying in 
the late 1950s under Davis's influence. 

The mid-1950s marked the beginning of a new attitude toward Expres- 
sionism in America. It was no longer a cause championed by a few individ- 
uals; it had become accepted as a significant modern art movement. The 
role of museums in encouraging appreciation of German Expressionist art 
became much more pronounced during this period. After several years of 
very little activity, the 1956-57 season produced several major books in 
English on Expressionism and a large survey exhibition and accompany- 
ing catalogue from the Museum of Modern Art. In 1957 it seemed as if 
German Expressionism was the favorite topic of discussion, whether as a 
movement in itself or in relation to recent American painting. The exhibi- 
tion at the Modern, German Art of the Twentieth Century (see fig. 198), 
was organized by Andrew Ritchie, with the assistance of Werner Haft- 
mann for the paintings, Alfred Hentzen for sculpture, and William S. 
Lieberman of the museum's curatorial staff for prints. It was a compre- 
hensive exhibition that was not limited to Expressionism. The show was 
organized chronologically, beginning with the Briicke and the Blaue 
Reiter and continuing with Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity) and the 
Bauhaus, omitting any Nazi-approved art, and concluding with some 
postwar developments. In the introductory text French and German art 
were constantly juxtaposed in an effort to define characteristics of Ger- 
man painting. The organizers chose excellent examples of paintings and 
prints; the selection of sculpture was extremely uneven. 

Especially since this exhibition and catalogue appeared 
simultaneously with several monographs on the movement, there seems 
to have been an outpouring of critical attention. Commentary varied con- 
siderably, from scholarly assessments by Herschel Chipp, Joshua Taylor, 
and Edith Hoffmann, to less scholarly and fairly hostile response from 
Alfred Frankenstein, among others. Writing in Art Bulletin, Ghipp iden- 
tified three possible reasons for the recent upsurge in interest in German 
Expressionist art: (1) the lack of high-quality French art in the market- 
place and the consequent need to look to other schools; (2) the popularity 
of Abstract Expressionist art in the postwar period, which had stimulated 
interest in the German Expressionists, who were seen as forerunners; and 



(3) the fact that German culture had been regarded unsympathetically in 
America during and after the war and thus was ripe for investigation.^^ 
In an editorial in Art News, Frankenstein wrote; 

The Expressionist boom, at least in the marketplace, if 
not in endurable aesthetic values, is building up into a 
landslide. . . . To those who are inclined to jump aboard, 
tve recommend a careful reading of [Edith Hoffmann's] 
article— and we add a friendly caution. Expressionist 
painting, it seems from this vantage point, was decidedly 
a .secondary and often provincial phase of twentieth- 
century art— especially in the hands of its German 
practitioners. (Kandinsky— always the top name asso- 
ciated with publicity for the entire movement— can 
scarcely be made out to have been an Expressionist 
except for his influence upon his German followers.) 

The capital of painting style, for the first half of this cen- 
tury, was Paris. This is not to say there were not provin- 
cial originals, or that one or another of them did not 
occasionally put forth a picture, complete and outstand- 
ing on its own premise. But by its very nature, and the 
complexity of its motives. Central European Expression- 
ism was doomed to remain not only provincial but so 
intellectual that it usually strayed beyond the proper lim- 
its of painting as such.^* 

This invective concluded, "it would be ridiculous to make an aesthetic 
investment in this now revived Central European School in any respect 
other than as a minor corollary to the main currents of European style."^^ 
Frankenstein was particulary incensed by the successful 
and aggressive efforts of Valentin and singled him out as "the shrewd Ger- 
man-born salesman who managed to influence a number ol American 
museum officials, one example of his influence cited is the Boston Muse- 
um's current first show of modern painting which naively over emphasizes 
German Expressionism."-'^ 



Installation view of the exhibi- 
tion German Art of the Twenti- 
eth Century, Museum of Mod- 
ern Art. New York, October 2 
through December i, 1957 

The 1960s saw much commercial activity in New York 
among dealers, many of them refugees, who now turned to Expression- 
ism. They were not part of the original wave of dealers who brought with 
them a continuing tradition of Expressionist exhibitions— Valentin, 
Nierendorf, and Otto Kallir— but a group including Helen Serger, Serge 
Sabarsky, Dorothea Cams, and Leonard Hutton. Serger emigrated from 
Silesia in 1941. She dealt privately until 1964, when she and her husband 
opened a small gallery on the Upper East Side, showing works by the 
Cubists, Matisse, and other French artists. "The French artists started to 
get too expensive, so I started with the German Expressionists," said 
Serger.^^ She presented exhibitions focusing on Egon Schiele, Paula 
Modersohn-Becker; Viennese art and design; Schmidt-Rottluff; Her- 
warth Walden and the artists of Der Sturm; and "degenerate" art. 
Sabarsky emigrated to America in 1939 from his native Vienna and 
opened his gallery in 1968, specializing in Schiele, Kokoschka, and the 
Viennese Expressionists. Cams is a German-born art historian who 
switched from her field of specialization, thirteenth-century sculpture, to 
German Expressionism after being ovei-whelmed by a Schmidt-Rottluff 
woodcut. She specializes in works on paper. Hutton was one of the few 
dealers who had ties to the original group of German dealers in New York. 
After Valentin's death in 1955 he was the only dealer handling German 
art, with the exception of Otto Kallir. Hutton emigrated in 1935 but only 
began dealing full-time in 1956. He had known Kirchner, Pechstein, and 
Schmidt-Rottluff when he was in Germany. Many artists had their first 
introduction in America at his gallery and through the well-illustrated 
catalogues he published. 

Museum exhibitions of Expressionist art were not plen- 
tiful in the 1960s. In 1964 Peter Selz organized a Max Beckmann ret- 
rospective for the Museum of Modern Art, which traveled to the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Selz and 
Herschel Chipp mounted several exhibitions at the University of Califor- 
nia Art Museum at Berkeley and at the Pasadena Art Museum. Despite 
the paucity of museum exhibitions during this period, there was a grow- 
ing interest among scholars, many of whom trained at Berkeley with Selz 
and Chipp, in studying and publishing about Expressionism. 

The 1977 show at the University of California, Los An- 
geles, of five hundred German Expressionist prints and illustrated books 
from the Robert Gore Rif kind collection, accompanied by a detailed cata- 
logue by Orrel P. Reed, Jr., began a resurgence of interest in Expression- 
ism, with particular emphasis on printmaking. This was followed by a 
succession of smaller shows, each with a well-documented catalogue, 
exploring other aspects of the Rifkind collection, at museums in Berkeley, 
San Diego, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, and Milwaukee. The 
1981 exhibition Expressionism: A German Intuition, iQOS-1920 at the 
Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was 
the first extensive show of German Expressionist paintings and prints in 
America in twenty-five years. Reaction to that show was very positive, 
coinciding with an interest among contemporary artists in the content- 
laden, expressive quality and heavy painterliness found in Expressionism. 
The hitherto unknown sculpture of the German Expressionists was ex- 



plored in my 1983 exhibition German Expressionist Sculpture, which 
opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and traveled to the 
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and to 
the Josef- Haubrich Kunsthalle in Cologne. ^^ In 1982-83, with the ac- 
quisition of the Rifkind collection, the Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art established the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expression- 
ist Studies, which offers research facilities for scholars and also provides 
the opportunity for many specialized exhibitions. 

In the last few years exhibitions of German Expressionist 
art have proliferated across America, and many of them have been accom- 
panied by scholarly catalogues. Since the rather feeble beginning at the 
Armory Show in 1913, the appreciation and exposure of Expressionism in 
the United States has grown dramatically. Yet of all the major twentieth- 
century art movements it is still one of the least explored. When one con- 
siders the volume of exhibitions and literature on other movements, it 
becomes obvious that it is an area still ripe for further study. 

Note: I would like to acknowledge the information I received on acquisi- 
tions of German Expressionist material from the staffs of the following 
museums: Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Busch- 
Reisinger Museum; Saint Louis Art Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; 
Philadelphia Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Museum of 
Modern Art; Wadsworth Atheneum; and San Francisco Museum of Mod- 
ern Art. In addition I woidd like to thank Herschel Chipp, Leslie Rubin, 
and Lynn Brylskifor their assistance. 


Lothar Schreyer 

Germany, 1S86-1966 

Mutter, 1921 


Lithograph with pochoir 

S'/s X (xVb in. (22.5 X 16.8 cm) 

From portfolio Neue 

europaische Graphik: 

Erste Mappe 

M. 82. 287.62 

Davis 2605 




1 Milton Brown, The Story of the 
Armory Show (New York; Joseph 
H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1963), 

p. 48. 

2 Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. 
Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, eds.. 
The Societe Anonytne and the 
Dreier Bequest at Yale University: 
A Catalogue Raisonne (New Ha- 
ven, Conn.: Yale University 
Press, 1984). p. 4. 

3 German Section in sesquicenten- 
nial exposition, Societe Anonyme, 
Philadelphia, June-December 

4 Ruth L. Bohan, The Societe 
Anonyme's Broohhjn Exhibition. 
Katherine Dreier and Modernism 
in Ajtierica {Ann Arbor, Mich. : 
UMI Research Press, 1982), 

p. 122. 

5 Herbert et al., Societe Anonyyne. 
pp. 10-11. 

6 "Letters from Germany," 
Archives of American Art Journal 
25, no. 1/2 (1985): 16. 

7 Ibid., pp. 19-20. 

8 Margaret Sterne, The Passionate 
Eye: The Life of William R. 
Va/en(iner {Detroit: Wayne State 
University Press, 1980), p. 115. 

9 See A Collection of Modern Ger- 
man Art, exh. cat., intro. by 
William R. Valentiner (New York: 
Anderson Galleries, 1923). 

10 Ibid., p. 2. 

11 Ibid. 

12 The Arts 4, no. 4 (1923): 2i4ff. 

13 Sterne. The Passionate Eye, 
pp. 143-44. 

14 Ibid., p. 143. 

15 Ibid. 

16 See Perry T. Rathbone, Land- 
marks in Modern German Art, 
exh. cat. (New York: Buchholz 
Gallery, 1940). 

17 Sterne, The Passionate Eye, 
p. 328. 

18 See German Expressionist Prints, 
exh. cat., intro. by Ebria 
Feinblatt (Los Angeles: Los An- 
geles County Museum, 1954). 

19 E. P. Richardson. inCo//egeAr( 
Association Journal 18. no. 3 
(1958-59)- 247- 

20 See Judith Zilczer, "The Noble 
Buyer": John Quinn, Patron of 
the Avunt-Garde (Washington, 
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution 
Press, 1978). 

21 Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at 
Harvard (New York: Abbeville 
Press, 1985), p. 44. 

22 The first museum exhibition in 
America devoted exclusively to 
modern German art was or- 
ganized by A. Everett "Chick" 
Austin, who had worked under 
Sachs at the Fogg. In 1927 he was 
appointed director of the Wads- 
worth Atheneum in Hartford. 
During his eighteen years at the 
Atheneum, Austin led an innova- 
tive program devoted to contem- 
porary art, music, design, and 
architecture. Among the first 
exhibitions he presented was 
Modern German Art in the spring 
of 1930. The exhibition included 
twenty-one paintings, ten sculp- 
tures, and more than twenty- 
three works on paper, represent- 
ing Beckmann, Grosz, Heckel, 
Hofer, Kaus, Kirchner, Klee, Ko- 
koschka, Kolbe, Mueller, Nolde, 
Pechstein, Rohlfs, Schmidt- 
Rottluff. Max Schulze-Solde, and 
Schwichtenberg. The works in the 
exhibition were drawn primarily 
from the collections of Valentiner 
and the Detroit Institute of Arts. 
This proved to be the first and last 
exhibition of German art during 
Austin's tenure. 

23 Alfred H. Barr, Jr., German 
Painting and Sculpture {New 
York: Museum of Modern Art, 
1931). P- 15- 

24 Alfred H. Barr. Jr., Art in Our 
Time (New York: Museum of 
Modern Art. 1939), no. 122. 

25 Hilton Kramer. "The Museum of 
Modern Art in the Postmodern 
Era," The New Criterion 2, no. 10 

(1984): 29. 

26 A recent essay by Reinhold Heller 
yields more information about the 
philosophy and policies of this en- 
ergetic director. See "The 
Expressionist Challenge: James 
Plant and the Institute of Con- 
temporary Art," in Dissent: The 
Issue of Modern Art in Boston 
(Boston: Institute of Contempo- 
rary Art, 1985). pp. 16-5.5. 

27 James Plant, ibid., p. 23. 

28 James Plant, in Contemporary 
German Art, exh. cat. (Boston: 
Institute of Modern Art, 1939). 
p, 8. 

29 The Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Hariard University, intro. by 
Charles Haxthausen (New York; 
Abbeville Press, 1980), p. 11. 

30 Perry Rathbone, in Tribute to 
Curt Valentin, exh. cat. (Saint 
Louis: City Art Museum of Saint 
Louis, 1955), p. 5. 

31 James Plant, in Heller. "The 
Expressionist Challenge." p. 44. 

32 See Walter Barker, "Beckmann as 
Teacher; An Extension of His 
Art," in Max Beckmann Ret- 
rospective, exh. cat., ed. Carla 
Schulz-Hoffmann and Judith C. 
Weiss (Saint Louis: Saint Louis 
Art Museum; Munich: Prestel- 
Verlag, 1984), pp. 173-79- 

33 Herschel Chipp, "Book Reviews," 
Art Bulletin 41, no. 1 (1956-57): 

34 Alfred Frankenstein, in Art News 
56, no. 7(1957)- ^3- 

35 Ibid. 

36 Ibid. 

37 Art and Auction 7, no. 10(1985); 

38 See Orrel P. Reed, Jr., German 
Expressionist Art: The Robert 
Gore Rifkind Collection, exh. cat. 
(Los Angeles: Frederick S. Wight 
Art Gallery, University of Califor- 
nia, 1977); Wolf-Dieter Dube et 
al.. Expressionism: A German In- 
tuition, iQ05~ig20. exh, cat. 
(New York: Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Museum, 1980); Stephanie 
Barron, ed., Gernuin Expression- 
ist Sculpture, exh. cat. (Los An- 
geles: Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, 1983). 

^U4^ l{(^dj , 

Kff-jJ Ai.(^ l^iyL, 


Wild Passion 
at Midniglit: 
on Thirty-five 
Years of 
Collecting Art 

Robert Gore Rifkind 


Emil Nolde 

Germany, 1867-1956 
Kopfmit Pfeife, E. N. , 1907 
(Head with pipe, E. N. [self- 

Lithograph with watercolor 
i^Vs X iiVs in. (40.3 X 29.5 cm) 
M. 82. 288.229 
Davis 2116 


The four young men who in 1905 founded German Expressfonist art- 
Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt- 
Rottluff— hved and worked together in their studio-home in Dresden. So 
fervent was their desire to revolutionize the print media that, inspired by 
some new graphic idea, they would frequently arise in the middle of the 
night, rush to a lithographic stone, draw an image, pull a few impressions, 
and return to bed. Sixty-five years later, so eager was I to learn about 
these artists and their work that, a chronic insomniac, I would spend the 
middle of the night poring over any book available on German Expres- 
sionism. In fact most of my reading on the subject took place after mid- 
night. This essay was written primarily during the early morning hours. 

A Brief Overview of German Expressionist Art 

The two great developments in twentieth-century art are Expressionism 
and abstraction. Together they changed the course of art history: how the 
artist looked at the world and how the viewer looked at art. Expression- 
ism and abstraction were kindred developments, yet in some respects 
they were antithetical too. While abstractionists were dematerializing the 
world, and particularly the human image, the Expressionists looked at 
the world, and particularly the human figure, with extraordinary intro- 
spection. Neither movement attempted to achieve beauty in any conven- 
tional sense, but the Expressionists treated their subjects with a passion 
seldom seen in the history of art, and in return they expected, indeed 
demanded, an equally passionate response from the viewer. 

The great events of the first quarter of this century were 
the First World War and Sigmund Freud's development of psychoanaly- 
sis. For me art of this time that does not relate to these events seems 
almost superficial. It is impossible by examining the entire body of early 
twentieth-century French art to learn either that the First World War 
had shaken man's destiny or that Freud had revolutionized our knowl- 
edge of the human mind. By contrast the German Expressionists were so 
deeply affected by both of these events that they returned to the theme of 
the horrors of war and its aftermath over and over again. Rather than de- 
materializing man, they strove to penetrate his psyche to a degree that 
has not been seen before or equaled since. These qualities of German 
Expressionist art fascinate me. I feel that this art has much to teach us 
today, when war and the threat of war are constantly in our minds and as 
we strive for a deeper understanding of the human condition. 

It is my belief that our complex society needs constant 
examination and criticism. Only the most insensitive citizen can be indif- 
ferent to the problems menacing us. I believe that the artist has an impor- 
tant role to play in examining society and using his art as a vehicle for 
social criticism. No group of artists has done this better than the German 
Expressionists, and we have a lot to learn from them. With some signifi- 
cant exceptions, this role has been abandoned by artists today and left 
primarily to political cartoonists. How wonderful it is to see an Otto Dix 
take on the entire German bureaucracy and still maintain his integrity as a 
great artist. Such feats were repeated over and over again in the works of 
the German Expressionists. They not only were unafraid to assault a 
bourgeois, bureaucratic society but felt it their duty to do so. Yet they 




Peter Behrens 

Germany, 1868-1940 
Untitled (the kiss), c. 1898 
Color woodcut 

lo'ViexS'/iein. (27.2 x 21.5 cm) 
From Pan 4, no. 2 (1898) 
83.1.1356 k 
Davis 221 

never compromised the artistic integrity of their work or abandoned the 
hope that it would have a salutary effect on society. This goal remained 
constant throughout the history of German Expressionism, from the earli- 
est works of the daring young Briicke artists through the Dresden Sezessi- 
on: Gruppe 1919 (Dresden secession: group 1919) and into the 1930s. 
Small wonder that the National Socialists could not tolerate these artists 
and declared them degenerate. 

The Importance of Prints and Books in German Expressionist Art 

The graphic media hold a particularly important place in German Expres- 
sionist art. All of the Expressionists felt a need to express themselves in 
the graphic media, and they produced a huge body of work, work that in 
my opinion is superior to their paintings and sculpture, as beautiful and as 
widely admired as those works are. Having examined every form of Ger- 
man Expressionism, I am convinced that the movement is best under- 
stood through its graphics, not its paintings or sculpture. 

The German Expressionist movement was built not by a 
few giants, but by scores of artists of great competence. Their enormous 
output of graphic work is readily understandable in view of their desire to 
reach the widest possible audience in their announced eagerness to 
change bourgeois society. Often they are represented today only by their 
graphic output, which managed miraculously to survive. It seems to me 
that the movement itself was more prolonged in graphics than in other 
media, probably in part because so many artists continued to produce 
great prints at a time when their paintings and sculpture had begun to 
lose their vitality and intensity. 

After looking at and comparing thousands of prints, I be- 
came convinced that the German Expressionists were the most innova- 
tive and exciting, in short, the best printmakers of this century. That is 
not to say that others did not turn out beautiful, technically refined works. 
The Expressionists, however, have a profound effect on me. I am dazzled 
by the range, intensity, and beauty of their graphics. 

Another reason why German Expressionist prints partic- 
ularly fascinate me is that of all the graphic media, the woodcut is the most 
exciting, the most emotionally charged, and has the greatest "wall power." 
The Germans brought the woodcut to a high level of technical and aes- 
thetic accomplishment in the early sixteenth century, and the Expression- 
ists made a conscientious effort to revive the art form of their ancestors. 
To me the results have been spectacular and emotionally overwhelming. 

Some of the most important Expressionist prints are to 
be found in periodicals and books. To a significant extent the artists' in- 
volvement in social movements explains the astounding depth and breadth 
of their involvement in illustration. For them, creating images, primarily 
woodcuts, for publication as original prints in political periodicals as well 
as having their prints and drawings reproduced in such periodicals were 
important forms of social engagement. One must realize that from the 
years before the First World War until the 1930s dozens of periodicals 
devoted entirely to political and social issues were published, and many of 
these were widely distributed. Thus for an Expressionist artist, publish- 
ing an illustration in such a periodical was a practical way of influencing 




Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Zur Ballade 1, 1907 

(To the ballad 1) 


yVh X 5"/s in. (20.0 x 15.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Ballade vom 

Zuchthaus zu Reading 

M. 82. 288.87 a 

Davis 1010.2 



Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Der Wdrter, 1907 

(The prison guard) 


8'/4 X 5% in. (21.0 X 15.0 cm) 

From portfolio Die Ballade vom 

Zuchthaus zu Reading 

M. 82. 288. 876 

Davis 1010.6 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Der Ricbter, 1907 

(The judge) 


GVa X s'/s in. (16.2 x 13. 1 cm) 

From portfolio Die Ballade vom 

Zuchthaus zu Reading 

M. 82. 288. 87 d 

Davis 1010.5 



Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 

Das Grauen, 1907 

(The horror) 


7V6 X s'yie in. (20. 1 X 14.8 cm) 

From portfolio Die Ballade vom 

Zuchthaus zu Reading 

M. 82. 288. 87 h 

Davis 1010.9 

the greatest number of people. DieAktion (Action), Kriegszeit (Wartime), 
and Der Sturm (The storm), to name but a few, were intensely politically 
and socially motivated periodicals. Thanks to the wisdom of their editors, 
they were also in the avant-garde of the German art world. Expressionist 
artists were only too eager to participate, and the collaboration between 
artists and writers produced some of the greatest artistic-political-social 
publications ever created. Interestingly these periodicals appealed to the 
entire range of German Expressionist artists, from Franz Marc before the 
war to Conrad Felixmiiller in the 1920s. I am very proud that the Rifkind 
Study Center has issues of approximately one hundred different periodi- 
cals, many of them in complete runs. 

I must emphasize, however, that the periodicals in the 
center are not limited to those concerned with political and social issues. 
Indeed the majority of them must be regarded as deluxe art magazines 
that strove to obtain original works of art and reproductions from the great 
artists of the day. For example, the center has a complete run of Pan (see 
fig. 201), the granddaddy of all German art periodicals, which spanned 
the period from Jugendstil through early Expressionism. (I confess to 
gloating a bit over the fact that the center's set is not missing a single 
original work of art, whereas many others have been cannibalized.) 

The necessity of collecting a library became obvious to 
me when I realized that the German Expressionist artists had a true affin- 
ity with authors and poets, German and non-German. They were obsessed 
with illustrating the great literature of their day. In addition a number of 
the Expressionist artists, including such diverse figures as Ernst Barlach, 
Wassily Kandinsky, and Oskar Kokoschka, were also playwrights and poets 
who illustrated their own works. 

The Rifkind Study Center has hundreds of books and 
portfolios containing original prints, ranging from the first Expressionist 
illustrations, Heckel's eleven woodcuts for Oscar Wilde's poem The Bal- 
lad of Reading Gaol (see figs. 60, 202-5), to Alfred Richard Meyer's racy 
novel Lady Hamilton (see fig. 206), with eight hand-colored lithographs 
by George Grosz. The center has also attempted to acquire every book of 
the period about German Expressionism, as well as more recent publica- 
tions in the field, so that the scholar's research resources are as compre- 
hensive as possible. 

The real point here is that one cannot truly collect Ger- 
man Expressionist prints unless one also collects the illustrated books and 
periodicals, because such an enormous body of Expressionist prints is 
found in these sources. Not to have Heckel's woodcuts for Reading Gaol, 
Kandinsky 's fifty-six woodcuts illustrating his volume of poems Kldnge 
(Sounds; see figs. 9, 207) or Barlach 's illustrations for his own plays (see 
fig. 209) would make any collection of German Expressionist prints woe- 
fully incomplete. 

Thus my desire to collect prints extended to books and 
periodicals and further to all books on German Expressionist art. It was 
not my original intention to amass a library that would be used by scholars 
from all over the world, but that has been the very happy and fruitful 
result. And yet how strange that such a library should end up in Los 
Angeles, with its weather and culture so different from those that the 



German Expressionists knew. A few years ago a cultural attache from the 
German embassy in Washington spent a day at the center. I shall never 
forget his concluding remark: "Erich Heckel would never have dreamt 
that his finest works would end up in sunny, star-studded Beverly Hills." 
How true. I hope Heckel would have been as pleased as I am. 


George Grosz 

Germany, 1893-1959 

Lady Hamilton mit Fdcher tind 

Lyra, 1922-23 

(Lady Hamilton with fan and 


Photolithograph with 


yVz X 5V'2 in. (19, 1 x 14.0 cm) 

From Alfred Richard Meyer, 

Lady Hamilton 

83. 1.74 f 
Davis 962.6 

How and Why the Collection Was Built 

In 1954, upon graduation from Harvard Law School, I returned to Los 
Angeles and rented a small apartment. Within a week I was walking up 
Camden Drive in Beverly Hills and entered Frank Perls's gallery. I pe- 
rused a large number of prints. One particularly intrigued me, and I 
asked Perls how much it cost. "Three hundred and seventy-five dollars," 
he responded. I explained that my apartment was unfurnished and that I 
needed to buy a sofa. Perls asked how much I intended to pay. "One 
hundred and twenty-five dollars," I replied. (One could buy a sofa for $125 
then.) Perls said, "Why don't you spend the $125 on the print and sit on 
the floor?" So insecure was I at my first art purchase that I said, "You 
mean you will sell me this print for only $125?" "Yes," he said, "if you'll sit 
on the floor. " "But what if I find I don't like the print? " "Then you can 
return it, and I will refund your $125. " The deal was struck. I bought the 
print, hung it over the fireplace, and sat on the floor and looked at it with 
rapture. It was at that moment that I realized I could never live without 
great art. (The print was Pablo Picasso's majestic Portrait of Jacqueline, 
and I loved it for years.) Basically I have been "art broke " ever since. And 
so began my true interest in twentieth-century art. 

My introduction to German Expressionist art had oc- 
curred earlier, while bicycling to Harvard Law School past the Busch- 
Reisinger Museum. Often I stopped to view its collection of German Ex- 
pressionist works. The wonderful paintings by Max Beckmann, Heckel, 
and Kokoschka and Barlach's monumental sculpture Der Bettler (The 
beggar; fig. 208) intrigued me. Here was art by artists I had never heard 
of, and the difference between it and French art of the same period was 
clearly so great that I never visited the museum without leaving per- 
plexed. Unfortunately the Busch did not have a catalogue of its collection 
at that time; nor did it have docents. As a result I was never able to get a 
coherent explanation of the collection. Compounding that problem was 
the unavailability of major texts in English on German Expressionist art. 
One must remember that Bernard Myers's and Peter Selz's landmark 
works had not yet been published, nor had Wolf-Dieter Dube's opus been 
translated into English. (It is hard to believe that thirty-five years ago one 
could not simply walk into a library or an art bookstore and find books in 
English on Expressionism.) Since I could not easily learn more about the 
Expressionists, upon my return to Los Angeles I forgot about them and 
started my collection of School of Paris prints. I really liked and was very 
proud of them. I collected the best early works I could find, particularly 
by Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Picas- 
so, Maurice de Vlaminck, and the rest of that gang. In this I was greatly 
aided by Perls and another dealer, James Vigevino, both of whom not only 
guided me but also were generous in financing my purchases. 




E I N I G E S 

EIn Fiseh glng immer Hefer ins Wass«r. Er war sllbern. Das 
Wasser blau. Ich verfolgte ihn mit den Augen. Der FIsch glng 
Immer defer. Ich sah Ihn aber noch. Ich sah ihn nicht mehr. 
Ich sah Ihn noch, wenn ich ihn nIcht sehen konnte. 
Doch, doch Ich sah den Fisch. Doch, doch ich sah Ihn. Ich 
sah Ihn. Ich sah ihn. Ich sah Ihn. Ich sah Ihn. Ich sah Ihn. Ich 
sah Ihn. 

Bn weiBes Pferd auf hohen Beinen stand ruhlg. Der Himmel 
war blau. Die Beine waren hoch. Das Pferd war unbeweglich. 
Die Mahne hing herunter und bewegte sich nicht Das Pferd 
stand unbeweglich auf den hohen Beinen. Es lebte aber doch. 
Kein Muskelzucfcen, keine zitternde Haut Es lebte. 

Doch, doch. Es lebte. 
Auf der breiten Wiese wuchs eine Blume. Die Blume war blau. 
Es war nur eine Blume auf der breiten Wiese. 
Doch, doch, doch. Sie war da. 


Wassily Kandinsky 

Russia, 1S66-1944 

Vignette bet "Einiges"; 

Reiterweg, 1911 

(Vignette with "Something", 

Riding path) 

2 woodcuts 

i^yie X 2^16 in. (4.7 x6.2 cm); 

6yi6 X 8'/j in. (16.3 X 21.0 cm) 

From Wassily Kandinsky, 

Klange, 21 

Davis 1368.9 

A sunny Sunday in 1968 changed my life. The old Pasa- 
dena Art Museum, then housed in a Chinese-style building, had a Paul 
Klee exhibition, which I viewed with excitement, such excitement in fact 
that I rushed back to my home in Beverly Hills and insisted that my wife 
and two visiting friends instantly return to Pasadena with me and view the 
exhibition. Their enthusiasm was underwhelming, but mine increased. 
As I was leaving the museum, I saw at the desk a stack of Myers's The 
German Expressionists: A Generation in Revolt. I bought a copy, took it 
to Mazatlan, Mexico, where I was taking a week's vacation, and read it 
twice. Back in Beverly Hills, when I would awaken every night with 
insomnia, I would reread at least one chapter. I dog-eared the pages, 
underlined particularly meaningful passages, and made my own annota- 
tions. Rereading the work recently, I noticed that on my initial reading I 
had written "great!" by a reproduction of Kokoschka's Die Windsbraut 
(The bride of the wind; fig. 210). You can imagine my joy at seeing the 
original five years later in Basel. 

I then discovered Selz's German Expressionist Painting. 
I devoured the work. I read it three times from cover to cover, cross- 
indexed it, annotated it, and underlined passages. (When I showed my 
copy to Professor Selz, he inscribed it: "What a pleasure to see this book 
used as it should be!") Subsequently, English editions were published of 
Lothar-Giinther Buchheim's The Graphic Art of German Expressionism 
and Dube's Expressionism. What a revelation they were for a collector of 
twentieth-century prints.^ 

As Francis Bacon wrote in his essay "Of Studies": "Some 
books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be 
chewed and digested. " It took me a year to chew and digest those four 



volumes, and I committed much of them to memory. During this time I 
wanted to stick my toe in the water and start buying. Unfortunately 
Vigevino knew nothing about German Expressionism, and Perls, a Jewish 
emigre, actually had an antipathy to anything German. When I told him 
that I absolutely had to start buying German Expressionist prints, he said 
that he did not feel knowledgeable enough to help me and suggested, if I 
must persist in what he believed to be a mania, that I contact Orrel P. 
Reed, Jr., who, he said, was the most knowledgeable dealer of German 
art in Los Angeles. 

Jake Zeitlin, the famous La Cienega Boulevard book 
dealer, told me that it is every dealer's hope to encounter a customer who 
wants to build the collection of the dealer's dreams. So it was with Reed 
and me. For almost three decades he had been studying German Expres- 
sionist prints but had relatively few buyers in the field. I told him of my 
interest. In November of 1970 he went to the winter auctions in Munich 
and bought for me my first German Expressionist works, including a su- 
perb lithographic self-portrait by Emil Nolde (fig. 200). He also bought 
for me at the German and Swiss auctions in the summer and winter of 
1971. Subsequently he told me that the only way I could really accom- 
plish my objectives was by accompanying him. 

Unlike American and English auctions, which are usually 
limited to around one hundred lots and last about an hour, the German 
and Swiss auctions contain as many as three thousand lots and last two or 
three days. The experience of viewing was in itself an education. I told 
Reed that as a Jew I did not think I could feel comfortable in Germany, 
that as an American who had grown up during the Second World War, I 
had experienced such an intensely anti-German milieu that I did not 
think I could shake the feelings of my youth. (My parents would not even 
listen to Richard Wagner during the war.) Reed jawboned me until I 
finally agreed to join him in Germany and Switzerland for the summer 
auctions in 1972. He went on ahead but was so apprehensive that I would 
renege that on the day I was to leave he telephoned me from Germany to 
make sure that I was not getting cold feet. 

My paranoia about visiting Germany is best illustrated 
by an anecdote. On this trip Reed and I were staying at the Kempenski 
Hotel in Berlin. At the end of a long day we were relaxing in the hotel 
sauna, which was occupied by two other men speaking German. It was 
clear to us that they were constantly referring to Jews and to Israel. After 
listening for ten minutes, I was convinced that they were engaged in an 
anti-Semitic conversation. I turned to them and asked if they spoke En- 
glish. One of them did. With some hostility I asked why he was talking so 
much about Jews. He looked at me with surprise, hesitated, then stated, 
"I am the Reform rabbi of Berlin!" Since then I have never experienced an 
anti-Semitic incident in Germany. It was an important lesson for me. 

The initial trip exceeded our expectations. Reed and I 
were the hit of the auctions. We bought and bought and bought and 
bought. In addition I met many museum directors, print curators, deal- 
ers, and other collectors, all of whom were to be enormously helpful to 
me in the future. Up to this time I had divided my affection between two 
mistresses. After the auctions of 1972 I gave up my French love and con- 



centrated solely on German Expressionism. My buying spree continued 
for the next ten years, resulting in the collection of five thousand prints and 
forty-five hundred books that forms the core of the Robert Gore Rifkind 
Center for German Expressionist Studies at the Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art. Needless to say, my reluctance to visit Germany evap- 
orated completely, and since that first trip I have visited Germany at least 
once a year. I think that I have now made friends of almost every promi- 
nent art historian, museum director, dealer, and collector in the field. 

More importantly— and in a certain sense I think this has 
been my major contribution to the field— I went far beyond the texts of 
Buchheim, Dube, Myers, Selz, and for that matter all the other writers in 
the field, who had essentially limited themselves to the period from about 
1900 to the First World War. What I discovered was that there was a 
significant group of unknown artists working before the war and a second 
wave of German Expressionists active after the war and that these artists 
produced many of the most poignant works of art in all of Expressionism. 
This was particularly true of the works depicting the war and its psy- 
chological effects. The art produced by the second wave of German 
Expressionists deeply related to both the First World War and psycho- 
analysis, often painfully. That is one of the reasons why the art of that 
period has meaning for us today, coping now, as the Germans did then, 
with an apocalyptic undercurrent. 

I remember an argument with Paul Vogt, director of the 
Museum Folkwang in Essen, in the mid-1970s. He declared that no signi- 
ficant art was produced by the Expressionists after the war. I insisted that 
he had just eliminated Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, not to mention doz- 


Ernst Bariach 

Germany, 1870-1938 

Der Bettler. 1930 

(The beggar) 


85% X 22ys X 17% in. (217.0 X 

58.0x45.0 cm) 

M.84.97; Los Angeles County 

Museum of Art, gift of Anna 

Bing Arnold 


Ernst Bariach 

Germany, 1870-1938 

Stiirzende Frau, 1912 

(Woman falling) 


lo'yie x 12^16 in. (27.4 X 

31.8 cm) 

From portfolio Der tote Tag z 

Davis 71.26 





Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Die Windshraut, 1914 

(The bride of the wind) 

Oil on canvas 

■/lV^ X 87 in. (181.0 X 221.0 cm) 

Offenthche Kunstsammlung, 

Basel, Kunstmuseum 


ens of other great artists. By 1978, when he pubHshed Expressionism: 
German Painting, 1905-1920,^ Vogt had come around to my point of view 
and even borrowed from me photographs of works by such an obscure 
artist as Constantin von Mitschke-Collande (see figs. 211-12) to include 
as illustrations. Similarly, when Dube wrote his 1983 book Expressionists 
and Expressionism, he included a generous sampling of the second- 
generation artists.^ Again this was at least partially a result of exposure to 
these artists in my collection. 

Not only was there an extraordinary second wave of Ger- 
man Expressionist artists, but there were artists' groups in various cities 
that rivaled the well-known groups the Briicke and the Blaue Reiter. For 
example, after the war, in Dresden, the birthplace of German Expres- 
sionism, a group of artists led by Felixmiiller founded the Dresden Sezes- 
sion: Gruppe 1919 and produced important works. 

What especially pleases me as a collector of German Ex- 
pressionist art is that the field is still relatively untapped so that one can 
continue to learn. Even as I dictate this essay, I am preparing for a trip 
to East Germany, where I hope to discover additional unknown second- 
generation Expressionists. 

Some Observations on Collecting Art 

Having collected chronically and passionately for more than thirty years, 
I have developed what I term my "axioms for art collectors." 

1. Be a collector, not an accumulator. A collector has a goal in mind and 
buys systematically to fulfill that goal, even if the goal changes as the 
collector learns, as it did for me. A corollary is that any time a so-called 
collector says he doesn't have room for more art you know he's not a true 

159 Rifkind 

collector, because a true collector must have particular items even if he 
keeps them under the bed or in storage. 

2. Collecting is 90 percent knowledge and 10 percent taste, or "eye." 
Many collectors have a good eye, but without knowledge they can never 
be great collectors. I have never met an important collector who had not 
devoted an enormous amount of time to studying his field or had advisers 
who were very knowledgeable. This is especially important in the area of 
prints because of the numerous graphic media, the technical nature of 
printmaking, and the differences among the various states and impres- 
sions of a print. For German Expressionist prints it is crucial since the 
artists generally preferred to turn out several different states of a given 
print in small editions, rather than making large editions. 

3. The biggest mistake collectors make is not buying certain items. We all 
buy things that turn out to be mistakes, but that can be corrected. Fre- 
quently what one doesn't buy can never be found again. I have my own 
regrets in this area. 

4. The second-biggest mistake collectors make is looking back at prices at 
which they could have bought. The fact is that if the art one is collecting is 
appreciating in value, the prices are going to go up, and the collector has 
to pay the going rate. I remember that a particularly rare early Kirchner 
woodcut was offered to me by a Chicago dealer for twenty thousand dol- 
lars. I turned it down because of the price. The print was then sold to a 
Munich dealer, who offered it to me for twenty-five thousand dollars. I 
again turned it down on the basis that I had been offered that very 
impression for five thousand dollars less. Several months later a New York 
dealer offered me the same impression for thirty thousand dollars. I then 
realized that I had to have the print and that I'd better buy it then and 
there because the next dealer was going to offer it to me at a still higher 
price. At least I was able to correct my mistake. 

5. Many potential collectors make the mistake of believing that they are 
starting too late to collect what they want. Usually they feel that it's too 
late because prices have risen so much. From that point of view, I started 
at least ten and perhaps fifteen years too late. Other collectors of Cerman 
Expressionist prints and books had built their collections at a fraction of 
the cost of mine. Again, if you love the material and have to have it, then it's 
not too late. It's only too late when the material is no longer available. For 
example, I doubt that, regardless of how much money one were willing to 
spend, the library of the Rifkind Study Center could be duplicated today. 

6. The third major mistake that collectors make is exhibiting their collec- 
tions too early. I was constantly being urged by various institutions to 
exhibit my collection. On Reed's advice I held off until we could mount a 
comprehensive exhibition at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 
1977, accompanied by a detailed catalogue of the collection and a good 
poster. It was hard for me to wait, since I did want to share my collection 
with other people. In the end I realized that it was worth the wait to be 
able to mount a traveling exhibition accompanied by a catalogue that is 
still regarded as a major English-language text on German Expressionist 




prints and illustrated books. Through this catalogue the UCLA show has 
continued to live and has influenced thousands who were unable to see it. 

7. Do not buy art simply as an investment. Buy it because you love it and 
must have it. Great art is a good investment. 

8. The last major mistake made by collectors is refusing to acknowledge 
their mistakes. We all make mistakes, and I have made my share. The 
important thing is to admit to the mistake and then do something to rem- 
edy it. In my case, when I began collecting, I frequently purchased 
second-rate examples. As I became more knowledgeable, I realized that I 
would never have a great collection unless I concentrated on prime exam- 
ples. So with some reluctance I sold the second-rate examples and up- 
graded the collection. 

The Purposes and Objectives of the Rifkind Study Center 

The Rifkind Study Center is intended to be the major resource for serious 
scholars in the field. That we have succeeded is attested to by the fact that 
scholars have come to the center from all over the United States and 
Europe because they cannot find such a comprehensive library and print 
cabinet anywhere else. When Dube wrote his recent book on German 
Expressionist art, for example, he did much of his research at the Rifkind 
Study Center because, as he put it, even though he had access to every 
resource in Germany, there was nothing comparable to what we have in 
Los Angeles. I think that Los Angeles in general, and the museum in 
particular, should feel very proud of this. 

Many people have queried my reasons for setting up the 
Rifkind Study Center at the museum at this time. In fact William Wilson, 
art critic for the Los Angeles Times, noted that I had chosen to make my 
gift to the museum as a relatively young man, while most donors do so 
much later in life or by bequest. I had several reasons. Los Angeles has 
been very good to the Rifkind family, and this was a way of repaying the 
people of my city. I'm often reminded of the anecdote of the pig and the 
cow. The pig asked the cow: "Why does everyone like you so much better 
than me? You give only milk, while I give bacon, ham, pork chops, pig's 
knuckles, and spareribs. " The cow replied, "You re no good to anyone 
until you're dead. " I preferred to be the cow. 

Not only that but I have seen many great collections 
broken up by sale, either during the collector's lifetime or posthumously, 
and I wanted to ensure that this would never happen to my print collec- 
tion and library. To be quite blunt, I felt that my wishes would be better 
carried out if I was around to collaborate with the museum in setting up 
the study center and to have the Rifkind Foundation assist scholars finan- 
cially if necessary. It is my relationship with the contributors to this cata- 
logue, for example— and they are some of the most distinguished authori- 
ties in the field— that persuaded them to take the time to research and 
write the articles in this volume. In short, out of friendship and a shared 
interest in German Expressionist art, these scholars have made contribu- 
tions to this book that I know money could not have persuaded them to 
make. This is all in our common cause of advancing the knowledge of 
German Expressionism. 




Constantin von Mitschke-Collande 

Germany. 1884-1956 
Untitled (sailboats and cliffs), 
c. 1923 

Color woodcut 
^VihX 3'/s in. (11.0 X 8.0 cm) 
From VValther Georg 
Hartmann, Die Tiere der Insel 
83.1.746 k 
Davis 2010.11 

Constantin wn Mitschke-Collande 

Germany, 1884-1956 
Untitled (fish), c. 1923 
Color woodcut 
4^/\h X 3'/8 in. (11.0 X 8.0 cm) 
From Walther Georg 
Hartmann, Die Tiere der Insel 
83.1.746 b 
Davis 2010.2 


1 See Bernard S, Myers, The Ger- 
man Expressionists: A Generation 
in Revolt (New York: Praeger. 
1957); Peter Selz, German 
Expressionist Painting (Berkeley 
and Los Angeles: University of 
California Press, 1957); Lothar- 
Giinther Buchheim, The Graphic 
Art of German Expressionism 
(New York: Universe Books, 
i960); Wolf-Dieter Dube, Expres- 
sionism (New York: Praeger, 1973). 

2 Paul Vogt, Expressionism: Ger- 
man Painting, 1905-1920 (New 
York: Harry N. Abrams, 1980). 
Originally published as 
Expressionismus: Deutsche 
Malerei zwischen 1905 itnd 1920 
(Cologne: DuMont Buchverlag, 


3 Wolf-Dieter Dube, Expression- 
isis and Expressionism (Geneva: 
Skira, 1983). 

While for obvious reasons the general public cannot have 
ready access to the thousands of prints and books in the collection, Earl A. 
Powell III, the museum's director; Victor Carlson, senior curator of prints 
and drawings; and I agree that this material should be seen by the public. 
To this end we have scheduled regular exhibitions over the next fifteen 
years which will allow the public to view the treasures of the study center. 
The first of these exhibitions was a 1985 show of the early works of Erich 
Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, which was accompanied by a splendid 
catalogue with a scholarly introduction by Gunther Thiem, former cura- 
tor of graphic art at the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. With the assistance of the 
Rifkind Foundation, the museum was able to price the catalogue at three 
dollars, which meant that it was affordable for any person who had a se- 
rious interest in owning it. 

I would also like to point out that before transferring the 
prints and library to the museum, I had two curators prepare an index of 
the collection and an individual file on each print and had a librarian 
devise a new classification of German Expressionist art books (since the 
Library of Congress has merely one category, German Expressionism). 
This classification includes approximately sixty subcategories. It was done 
in consultation with numerous scholars in the field and today constitutes 
the most complete classification in the field. It was important to me that 
the indexing, preparation of files, and card cataloguing be done before 
the material was turned over to the museum, since I wanted it to be in- 
stantly available to scholars. Most institutions do not have the staff to han- 
dle projects of this magnitude quickly. When I was at Harvard in the fif- 
ties, for example, the Feininger archives were largely unusable because 
the five thousand documents had not been indexed and catalogued. 
Thirty years later this work has still to be completed. At other archives, 
such as the Akademie der Kiinste in Berlin, much of the material is nei- 
ther indexed nor catalogued, and it is difficult to conduct research. With 
the running start given them, the study center's staff has carried on the 
indexing and cataloguing of the collection, so that all material is quickly 
and easily available to scholars. 

Just as it has been my ambition to make the Rifkind 
Study Center the definitive research facility for scholars in the field, it is 
my hope that the catalogue of the collection that is being published at the 
same time as this volume will help to advance our knowledge of German 
Expressionism even further. While there have been many catalogues 
devoted to specific artists or aspects of the movement, this book docu- 
ments the entire scope of German Expressionist printmaking: the numer- 
ous artists involved, the diversity of styles and subject matter, and the 
sheer quantity of works produced. In this respect I believe that it is a 
unique resource and one that will make the collection available to an even 
wider audience. 


A Conversation 
with Kol^osclilia 
at Ninety-two 

Robert Gore Rifkind 



Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Selbstbildnis (Sturmplakat), 


(Self-portrait [Sf»r»i poster]) 

Color lithograph 

26'/2 X I7y8 in. (67.3 X 44.7 cm) 

L.84.5.9; lent by the Robert 

Gore Rifkind Collection, 

Beverly Hills, California 


Oskar Kokoschka and Robert 

Gore Rifkind, 1978 

Oskar Kokoschka and his wife, Olda, invited me to visit them in their 
home in Villeneuve, Switzerland. With their permission I brought with 
me Peter Guenther, professor of art history at the University of Houston, 
and Jelena Hahl, curator of the Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Mu- 
nich. We flew from Munich to Geneva, arriving midafternoon September 
30, 1978, in a heavy rain. As we drove to Villeneuve, we looked back and 
saw Geneva still shrouded in rain and clouds, but ahead the rain had 
slackened, and slowly the sun broke through, causing an extraordinary 
series of huge rainbows, larger and more brilliant than any of us had seen 
before. The full arc and both terminal points of each rainbow were clearly 
visible. As we drove under the first rainbow, it disappeared, and the next 
beckoned us more brightly still. Peter said, "Kokoschka has painted rain- 
bows to welcome us." 

At dusk the rain fell heavily. Twice we lost our way, but 
frazzled and damp we were greeted by Olda Kokoschka, a tall, handsome 
woman in her late fifties or early sixties. She ushered us through the re- 
ception hall, past a large living room, and into a small library, where Ko- 
koschka sat in a big armchair, smoking a cigarette and drinking scotch. We 
saw his long legs first and then his famous visage. I started. Despite the 
passage of sixty-eight years since his self-portrait had appeared on a poster 
for Der Sturm, the resemblance was close. Although Peter and I are both 
in our fifties, we agreed later that we felt like youths. 

Kokoschka offered us cigarettes and scotch. Mrs. Ko- 
koschka brought food. I drank. Peter smoked. What follows are excerpts 
from my recording of the next two hours' conversation. 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 
Schlafende Fran, 1906-8 
(Sleeping woman) 
Color lithograph 
9'/2 X 9'/i6 in. (24. 1 X 23.0 cm) 
From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 
trdumenden Knaben 
83.1.125 a 
Davis 1556. 1 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Das SegeLschiff. 1906—8 

(The sailboat) 

Color lithograph 

9'/2 X 9 in. (24. 1 X 22.8 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 

83.1.125 b 

Davis 1556.2 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Die Schiffer rufen, 1906-8 

(The sailors shout) 

Color lithograph 

9^/2 X 9V'i6 in. (24. 1 X 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 

83.1.125 c 

Davis 1556.3 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Die feme Insel, 1906-8 

(The distant island) 

Color lithograph 

9'/2 X 9'/i6 in. (24. 1 X 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 

83.1. 125 d 

Davis 1556.4 


rot fischlcin/ fischleiii rot, 
stcch dich mit dcm drci- 

schncidigen mcsscr tot 
reiO dich mit mciticn fineem 

da0 dem stummen kteiscn 

ein endc sei/ 
rot Fischlcin fischlcin rot/ 
mein messerlcin ist rot/ 
mcinc fingerlcin sind rot/ 
in der schale sinkt cin 

fischlcin tot/ 
und ich Bel nicdcr und 
triumte/ vide taschcn hat 
das schicksal. ich wartc bci 
einem peruanischen steiner.' 
ncn baum seine vielfingri' 
gen blattcrarme grctfenwie 
gcangstiftc armc tuid finger 
diinner gclber figurcn' die 
sich in dem sternbiumigcn 
gebusch unmcrklich wic 
blindc rtihren ohnc daD ein 
heller/ vcrziehcnder streifen 
in der dunklen luft von 
fallcnden stemblumen die 
stummen tierc lockt/ blut.' 
rascrinncn/ die zu vjertn 
imd funfen aus den grunen/ 
atmenden seewaldern/wo cs 
still rcgnct/ wcgschleichen/ 
wcllen schlagcn uber die 
waldcr hinwcg und geben 
durch die wurzclloscn/ rot^ 
blumigen luuahligen luft- 
zweigc die wic haare im 
meerwasscr saugend tao- 
chcn/ dort hcraus winden 
sich die grunen wogen/ und 
das schrcckliche meer der 
UDtiefen und menschcn' 
frcsscndcn fische/ faOt die 
iiberfuUte galecrc /obcn an 
den masten scbwingen 
kafige mit kleincn blaucn 
vogcln/ zicht an den eiscr^ 
neo ketten und tanzt mit 
ihr hinein in die teifiine, wo 
wasscrsaulcn wie geister- 
schlangcn auf dem brullen^ 
den mcer gchcn ich bore 




die rufe dcr schiffcr/ die 
in die lander der sprcchen^ 
den vogd woUen/ die 
scgcl schwankten hin und 
scbwankten her, kaltc luft 
bcwcgte sie und drchtc die 
tutber/ das schiff legt an/ 
lose gehcn taktmaDig, in 
pauscn verstandlich/ dann 
wiedcr ubertont die piO' 
zessioncn dcr vom schiff 
steigendcn' schleicher in 
braunen wollklcidem win^ 
den sich durcb imd nackte 
magcrc madchcn geben 
vogcl/ nussc und korallen^ 
schniire zur erinncrung an 
die nachte der dunklcn zirt' 
lichkeiten/ und ich Bel 
und traumte die kranke 

was schlah ihr/ bUuge- 
klddetc manner/ unter den 
zweigen dei dunklen nuD" 
baume im mondlicht? 
ihr mildcn (raucn ' was quillt 
in curcn roten manteln in 
den leibcm die erwartung 
verschlungener gliedcr scit 
gestem und jcber? 
spiirt ihr die aufgeregte 
warme der zitttigxn/ laucn 
luft — ich bin dcr kreiscn- 
de warwolf — 
wenn die abendglockc ver' 
tont schleich ich in cure 
g art en, in cure weiden/ 
brecbc ich in euren fried^ 
lichen kraal/ 

mein abgezaumtei korpcr/ 
mein mit blut und farbe 
crhohtcr korpcr kriecht in 
cure laubhuncn' schwarmt 
durcb cure dorfcr kriecht 
in cure scelen/ scbwart in 
euren Icibem/ 
aus der cinsamsten stille' 
vor eurcm erwacbcn gellt 
mein geheul,' 

ich verzehre euch' minner/ 

frauen/ halbwache faorcnde 

kinder dcr rasende Ueben' 

de wirwolf in euch 

und ich fiel niedcr und 

traumte von unaufhalt^ 

baren andcrungen 

horra heraus aus dem 

gelbcn. stchenden wasser/ 

in dcm ihr wie korallen' 

stocke lebt' 

horra/ ihr wachsfarbenen 

mh den tcigmaskcn und 

den barten aus totem 

schwa mm/ 

ein wind zieht in die 


stadt in dercn vcr^ 

schlossenen zimmcm sin- 
gendc menschcn wie in 
vogelkaBgen hangen/ 
horra' du bange groDe ge- 
meinde/ mein schwacher 
knabengesang und mein 
gebct des unwissendcn 
schutzt deine lastcr nicht 

in rair traumt cs und meine 
traumesindwic dernorden/ 
wo schncebcrge uralte raar- 
chcn vcrbergen durch mein 
gehirn gehcn meinc gC' 
danken und machen mich 
wachsen wie die steinc 
wachscn niemand welD da'- 
von und bcgreift 
bangc stunden traume ich 
schluchzend und zuckend 
wie kinder die als pubere 
vom lager gehen' 
nicht die ereignisse der 
kindheit gehen durch mich 
und nicht die der mann- 
barkeit/ aber die knabcn- 
haftigkeit/ ein zogemdes 
wollcn das unbegrundcte 
schamen vor dcm wachscn^ 
den/ und die junglings/ 
schaft das uberflieOen und 
allcinsein; ich erkannte 

Die traumenden Knaben 

RiFKiND: I read that at the time you wrote and illus- 
trated Die traumenden Knahen (The dreaming boys) 
there was a fellow pupil called Lilith and that you were 
thinking of Lilith when you were doing the book. 
KOKOSCHKA: Ja, sure. I hardly saw her because when 
she paid me a visit, she was always veiled. 
Rifkind : Veiled? 
KOKOSCHKA: She covered her face. 
KOKOSCHKA: Because I loved her so much. 
RiFKiND: As I understand the story, she left before 
you finished the poem, the book, so you could never 
show it to her. 
KOKOSCHKA: It is true. 

Rifkind : Seventy years later, as you look back, what 
thoughts go through your mind? 
KOKOSCHKA: I would fall in love with her again. 
GuENTHER: That's a lovely idea. 
Mrs. KOKOSCHKA: There was some trouble in the 
end. Oskar, remember? I don't know the story. Someone 
told you something about her. 

One of my husband's qualities, which he has retained 
from his earliest years, is that he is jealous. He is capable 
of all sorts of frightful things out of jealousy, and someone 
told him something about this girl. And he believed it, 
and she was so cross that he believed it that she never 
wanted to see him again. 

KOKOSCHKA: No, it was another way. Somebody was 
jealous and told me a story about her. She left school then. 
RiFKiND: How long did it take you to write the book 
and do the lithographs? 

KOKOSCHKA: Maybe a year. As long as the girl was in 
school. When she left, there was calumny against me. 
Somebody told bad stories about me; she was angered. 
Rifkind : What were the stories they told about you? 
KOKOSCHKA: That I loved somebody else. 
Rifkind: And you didn't? 

KOKOSCHKA: No, it was absurd. There wasn't any- 
body else. She was my idol. She's in all the pictures. 
RiFKiND; The first color plate [Schlafende Frau 
(Sleeping woman)]: that's Lihth? Was she blonde? 
KOKOSCHKA: Very blonde. 

RiFKiND: she's not in this one [Das Segehchiff {The 
sailboat)], is she? 

KOKOSCHKA: Maybe she's inside the boat. 
RxFKiND: Who's in the black? 
KOKOSCHKA: That's me. 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 18S6-1980 

Paarc im Gesprdch, 1906-8 

(Couples in conversation) 

Color lithograph 

9~/i6 X 9V16 in. (24.0 X 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 


Davis 1556.5 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Die Schlafenden. 1906-8 

(The sleeping ones) 

Color lithograph 

g'/2 X9V16 in. (24.1 X 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 

83.1. 125 f 

Davis 1556.6 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Die Erwachemlcn, 1906-8 

(The awakening ones) 

Color lithograph 

QV2 X gVie in. (24. 1 x 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 


Davis 1556.7 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Das Mddchen Li und ich. 


(The girl Li and I) 

Color lithograph 

gVie X 9V16 in. (24.0 x 23.0 cm) 

From Oskar Kokoschka, Die 

trdumenden Knaben 

83.1. 125 h 

Davis 1556.8 

mich und maacn korper/ 
un^ icb fid aieder und 
triatnte die licbc; 
erst war tdx dcr tanzcr dcr 
kontgc' aof dem tau5end> 
xtufigcn garten tanzte ich die 
wunscfae dcr gCTchlechtgr/ 
tAnzte ich die dunneo fruh^ 
jjhfsstraiichfT chc du mid.' 
cbcn li . dein name klingeit 
wie silberblcche; nodi aus 
den gehangen der zinnober' 
b lumen and gclhschw^sL' 
steme tratest ; aus dea gc 
wurzgarten'kaimte ich dich 
schon und erwartete didi 
an den blaucn abenden auf 
meiner xilberdeclce/ aus dea 
verwoncnen vogefwaldcni 
dcs nordois und von den 
seen der roten fixche dcs 
sudens/ sporte ich dich her/ 
fuhhe die gcste der eddgen 
dreh ung deines j un gen (eibcs 
und vcrstand die dunldea 
woTtc deioer haut und der 
tcindlichcn mit glassdanren 
bdungten gelenke und tot 
dtr flucfatcte icb m die garten/ 
hcrauf von stufe zu stufe/ 
bis zur Causcndsten und 
letrten in meiner sdicu/ 
musik/ musik/ gauldcr 
mein leib ' schcUenrassicr / 
weg du popanz mciiMS 
sut^haften vofb ch a h s/hdle 
fcucr liegcn an den zwerg' 
vtaUemi Hnah spni^ im 
mit wehenden gewandcm 
zur erde und wie ein boher 
einziger ton stebt fatnter 
mir auf den girten die 

und ich ttauTDte wic cin 
zungcnfenchtcr baum ist 
mein leib' in verlorenen 
brunnen liuft das lebcn auf 
und nieder und drangt z:um 
verschihtcn / die naditc 
wundcrlidur;' namenloser 

^B^B^at^^^^^9SU llvBu^SB^Sv* 

tiere tragen meine liebe 

ISSBBiL u^ii .'.'Knilv^X 

weg umt aus roeinen vcr^ 

"o/S^ mw^^T^^^^M 


worrcnen innigkeiten ist 

JLmYK,m ^^ ^ 1 ^^^^^M 

kein fasten zu fremden 


^ ^^^^ 

greifenden fingem/die ohnc 


erinnerungen warcn/ ich 

^ T 

warte wieder in meiner 


V^r \ 


huttc/ vom ufer her liefen 

• \ T • 

_ f 1 m 

v^ ^^\ 


zwei ottem ubcr den lehm 

sJ (© 

^m\ '^[J 


dcr baumloscn ebenc/ ein 
madchen besucht mich/ 


V-1 ^^k 


detne magcren ungezcich^ 
neten finecr soUten an 

' f >\f 

^-\ ^^''V rS 



satte blumcn/ dich liebt 
der grune bsum und die 

Sy»^wl\^lL^ ^^BHl^H 

H^^i^^ * /hiir— ?3Wi^l 

roten/ gesticktcn hande auf 

P^ilvtJI J y^ \ n 

k'^ a 


meiner deckc in der hutte/ 
ich sage Iflut/ dich lidit 

^r ** vCa IBj? Wml I 

v *p 

das secgras auf dem du 

¥ CK /iDvlrM / / "^1 

liegst/ und ich sage wohl 


I^S^kmrXr ^^J^Jv^S fc^wlR 

auch/ dich liefat ein mann/ 
der neben dir auf dem sce^ 

l^S^W ^^T?*^ \1P 

gras ruht in der hiitte unter 

d^-I^gLJcJh ^.^^"'"^^ 

[^^ ^"^2^)1 

dem grunen baum/ hoie 
es nicht/ daQ die lautlose 

b<S5^a - =e^ \i 

stille bleibt/ 

ich sehe dich wie dn cinzt^ 
ger/ ich hitte dir vidldcht 

muschdn gesucht/ 

^wc^ k8^! /M/r<2iSa 


der einzige bin ich/ der von 
dir weiJJ/ was zum friihiing 

wartet/ aber es ist kdn 

redcn vom formlosen/ wcnn 

wT"' b3[V3i\ I'^fiaQ Vo/ /S3 

die haut noch nicht wetB/ 

&0II f 1 .xV^^jEsfll 1 rJIll M 

wir werden suchcn mussen/ 



wie nach einem verlorenen 

o\ r 

^^^BB^^S^^Bi^ ^^^^^^^-^ ^"^ 

wie nach etwas/ das in der 

J^^^^^^^^*V ^,„,g^^^^^N»^^ 

luft hangcn bUeb und va* 

o\ \ \ 

.^^^ -fc *fc ^^"Tg^**^^^^ ^ ^^^ 



s»^'*5s^ ^<'*sjs»sf 

und ich fiel nicder und 

ttaumte dem morgen zu/ 

^r ,^^>^ 

du soIUt bleiben in meincm 

^^t,J^V^^^r^ xSn 1 Ifri 

haus ' icb will nicht schlafen/ 

^k ^^0'^r- "^fvLi- fit^ ^^"^ 


— — "^"^111 1 . 

icb mufi mit den tiandcn 


.^■i ^>v 

in die loft grcjfcn und durch 

. ^^^BL _, "iv 

die gange nach dit nifcn/ 

r^^^ 1 |_| 1 * 'j^^^^^fcy 

1 V^^^A 

obgleich ich mich scbimc/ 
keiner hat dich noch so 
gesehen wie ich/ ich stche 



ncbcii dir und schc deinen 
arm sich biegcn eine gc 
Bchichte so die auf hort zu 
scin wcnn man an 
ruhrt hinter alien wortcn 
und zeiehen sehe ich oh 
wic freue ich roich daO du 
mir gleichst wic du 
gleichst konune du nicht 
nahcr abcr wohne 
mcinem haus und ich 
das kindliche zitlcrn deiner 
schultem erwarten und sc* 
hen wic dein mund/ ohne 
wortc ru suchen fur mich 

in mcinem wciJIcn zimmer 
war ich allein doch vict. 
leicht trug ich dich jctzt 
herein und es blcibt und 
spricht wie aus schwcren 
blumen etwas zu mir mein 
zimmer wurde wie cin an.- 
derea land, in die weiQcn 
walder tret ich eines renn' 
tiercB huf klinrt und wirft 
in alien wcilTen waldem 
wicderleuchtende Bchnec' 
Bternc auf; wie spitzcn' 
garten 1st « urn dich.' 
renntierreitenn / und das 
rentier lit ein berg/ deine 
Icletder sind cine schnee' 
fl&che wo blumen werden 
dieberuhrunr deinerdunnen 
Rnger una die schneC' 
wiilder itehen um dich wic 
staunende knaben / dcr 
■chnee rinnt zusammen zu 
einem see und auf einem 
roten fisehlein warst du 
gesesaen/ ich hattc von dir 
nur geiehen deinen naekten 
hala in den hioren/ 
ein Btiblein wachst ins 
wasser hmunter/ wo iat 
daa ende alles weaens/ 
sua deiner runden brust 
geht dein atem Ober den 
blaucn see/ wie lelie ist 
daa wirken allei weiens/ 

ich BTcife in den see und 
tauche in deinen haaren/ 
wie ein versonnener bin 
ich in der liebe alles wesens/ 
und wieder Bel ich nieder 
und trlumte/ 
zu vici hitzc uberkam mich 
in der nacht da in den wil. 
dern die paarende schlange 
ihre haut streicht unter dem 
hetBen stein und der wasser' 
hirsch reibt sein gehom 
an den zimmtstauden/ als 
ich den moschus des ticres 
roch in alien niedrigen 
cs ist fremd um mich/ je^ 
mand soUte antworten/ 
alles lauft oach seinen ei' 
genen fahrten/ und die 
singenden mueken uber' 
zittcm die schreie/ 
wcr denkt grinsende gdttcr- 
geeichter und fragtden sing' 
sang der zaubercr und ihr 
manner/ wenn sic die boot- 
fahrer begleiten/ welche 
fraucn holen/ 
und ich war cin kricchend 
ding/ als ich die ticre suchte 
und mich zu ihnen hielt/ 
kleiner/ was wolltcst du 
hinter den alten als du die 
gottzauberer aufsuchtest/ 
und ich war ein taumelnder/ 
als ich mein fleiscb cr^ 

und cin allesliebender als 
ich mit einem madchen 

dieses buch wurde gCEchric' 
ben und gezeichnet von 
Oskar Kokoschka verlegt 
von der wiener werkatatte/ 
gedruckt in den o^inen 
Beiger und Chwala 1908 

Rifkind : In the third plate [Die Schiffer rufen (The 
sailors shout)] the figure on the right, and in the fourth 
plate [Die feme Insel (The distant island)] this must be 

KoKOSCHKA: Ja. Always. Always she. 
Rifkind: In the fifth [Paare im Gesprach (Couples in 
conversation)], the center figure. Is that Lilith? 
Kokoschka: Ja. 
Rifkind: Is that you in purple? 
Kokoschka: That's me. 

Rifkind: Here, in the sixth plate [Die Schlafenden 
(The sleeping ones)], would the lady in the middle in yel- 
low be Lilith? 

Kokoschka: That's she, of course. 
RiFKiND: Would this be you, asleep on your hand? 
Kokoschka; ]a,ja, that's me. 

Rifkind : YouVe gone to sleep while working. Then in 
the seventh plate [Die Erwachenden (The awakening 
ones)], the figure on the extreme right is LiHth, because 
she's blonde. And in the eighth plate [Das Madchen Li 
und ich (The girl Li and I)] . . . 

Kokoschka: That's me, and that's she. I was so clean. 
Mrs. Kokoschka: He means he was so innocent. 
Rifkind: He was twenty, but he was young for twenty. 
Mrs. Kokoschka: Yes, if you compared him with 

Guenther: What was the reason for the dedication 
to Gustav Khmt? 

Mrs. Kokoschka: Klimt made it possible for Oskar 
to participate in the Kunstschau of 1908. Oskar refused 
to be judged by the jury, and Klimt said: "Never mind. 
Let's let him do as he likes." Oskar was thankful to Klimt 
because this was allowed, and he dedicated the book to 

Kokoschka: Die trdwnenden Knaben was unique in 
that period. 

Guenther: How did KHmt like it? Do you remember? 
Kokoschka: So far as I can remember Klimt loved it. 




Frauenmord: "Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen" 

Rifkind : Mr. Kokoschka, today do you like Die 

trdumenden Knaben or Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen 

(Murderer, hope of women) better. 

Kokoschka: Both are my children, born out of the 

storms of my youth, my stormy youth. My heart was torn 

to pieces. It was love for that young lady. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: Yes, but there were so many. 

There were always so many. 

Kokoschka: It was better that way. 


Oskar Kokoschka 

.Austria, 1SS6-1980 

Frauemnord: "Morder, 

Hoffnung der Frauen." 

c. 1908-9 

(Murder of women; "Murderer, 

hope of women") 

Pencil, ink, and watercolor on 


i2'/8 X lo'/s in. (30.8 X 25.7 cm) 

M. 82. 287. 85 

Davis 1559 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Selbstbildnis, Hand aufder 

Brust. 1911 

(Self-portrait, hand on chest) 

Color lithograph 

asVa X 2iys in. (90.5 X 55.0 cm) 

L.84.5.7; lent by the Robert 

Gore Rifkind Collection, 

Beverly Hills, California 





Selbstbildnis (Sturmplakat) 

and Selbstbildnis, Hand auf der Brust 

Rifkind: Here is the poster for Der Sturm. 
Mrs. Kokoschka: Oskar was very proud that you 
would use the other one, Selbstbildnis, Hand aufder 
Brust (Self-portrait, hand on chest), as the frontispiece in 
your book and that it was a color reproduction. 
Rifkind: We felt that that lithograph was the essence 
of Expressionism, that you couldn't get more expres- 
sionistic than that. 

Kokoschka: Your catalogue [German Expressionist 
Art: The Robert Gore Rifkind Collection] is a beautiful 

Rifkind : Why did you show yourself with your head 
shaved in the Sturm poster? 

Kokoschka: I was deeply, deeply ashamed about the 
story with the girl. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: Nein, nein. That was not with the 
girl. The papers said you acted like a convict. You wanted 
to show them in that case that you looked like one. 
Kokoschka: Ja. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: He shaved his head because he 
opposed artists with long hair. He wanted to set himself 
apart from that, so he did the opposite, I should think. 
Kokoschka: I wanted to look different. I was dif- 
ferent. I still am. That's me. I can identify myself. It's 
funny that I got wounded with a bayonet in that exact 
place five years later. How many years after I did that: 
you can still feel it, the bayonet wound. 




Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1S86-1980 
Corona 1, 1918 
Lithograph printed in red- 

22^16 X 15% in. (56.4 X 40.0 cm) 
M. 82.288. 158 
Davis 1577 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 
Walter Hasenclever, Bnisthild 
nach links, 1918 
(Walter Hasenclever, bust- 
length portrait facing left) 

24716 X i6y8 in. {62. 1 X 42.3 cm) 
M. 82.288.159 
Davis 1579 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 1886-1980 

Paul Westheim—Kopf, 1923 

(Head of Paul Westheim) 


loyis X ii'/s in. (26.9 X 30. 1 cm) 

From portfolio Die 

Schaffenden 4, no. 3 (1923) 

M. 82. 288. 162 

Davis 1582 


Oskar Kokoschka 

Austria, 18S6-1980 

Mann unit Weib mit Scblange, 


(Man and woman with snake) 


e'/i X 4'yi6 in. (15.5 X 12.2 cm) 

From Alios Makar, from Zeit- 

Echo 1, no. 20 (1915) 

83.1.1205 e 

Davis 1563.5 

Corona 1 

RiFKiND: Tell me about Corona. 
Kokoschka; She was much later. 
RiFKiND: Was she your model or just a friend? 
Kokoschka: Lilith was a model. 
Mrs. Kokoschka: Corona was a friend. Corona Ste- 
vens she was called. After the First World War the shock 
of war was so great that Oskar didn't like the company of 
men at all. He had the feeling that they had done some- 
thing awful just a few months before. So he preferred to 
be in the company of women. He found it more agree- 
able to be with people who hadn't taken part in the war. 
He surrounded himself in Dresden with women who 
were not necessarily his girlfriends. He preferred them. 
They hadn't killed anybody. They hadn't done anything. 
I think that was the reason, because really there were so 
many models. 

Walter Hasenclever, Brustbild nach links 

RiFKiND: Were you very friendly with Walter 


Kokoschka: He was a great patron of mine. Ja. And 

he killed himself because . . . one thing with Germany . . 

he was a Jew . . . Hitler ... he killed himself He was a 

great, great poet. 

Paul Westheim-Kopf 

Rifkind : Tell me about Paul Westheim. 
Kokoschka: He was a good friend, a very good friend 
of mine. 

Rifkind: How many years did you know him? 
Kokoschka: Oh, twenty years maybe. 
Rifkind: Did he like this picture? 
Kokoschka: He loved it. It's a small world. He pub- 
lished a beautiful book about me. You ought to have it. 
You ought to search for it. It's a beautiful book. 




RiFKiND: Listen, we've been here a long time. We 

don't want to overstay. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: Yes. When he gets tired . . . 

KOKOSCHKA; You had your dinner? 

Mrs. Kokoschka; No, they haven't, and we haven't, 

and I think it would be best if we ended soon. 

Kokoschka: Not yet. Another scotch? 

RiFKiND: I would love some more whiskey, thank you. 

Alios Makar 

Rifkind : I sent you [the periodical] Zeit-Echo, and 
you were very nice: you signed each lithograph. 
Mrs. Kokoschka: Yes, he signed them all. 
Rifkind: Zeit-Echo is so rare. Nobody in America 
ever sees it. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: No, no. They are very rare. 
Rifkind: Do you have this one: Alios Makar? 
Kokoschka: I lost my copy of Alios Makar. 

GuENTHER: What brought you to Villeneuve? 
Mrs. Kokoschka: After the war we decided that 
we wanted to move out of London. We were there so 
long, and we wanted to get out. We were in Italy in 1951. 
We had a new car, and [Oskar] said, "We'll drive on until 
we see [Lake Geneva] "—coming from Italy, coming from 
the south— "and then we'll stop for the night and we'll 
look around. " We stopped here in Villeneuve and started 
looking for a house. 

Kokoschka: That's how we discovered this place. 
There was no house, nothing. 

Mrs. Kokoschka: We saw some houses, but they 
were not possible. We had very little money at the 
time. A big house we didn't want. Then we were told 
about this land, which was going to be divided. We 
bought the land very cheaply. We started to build in 
1952. We moved in in '53. 

At about eight thirty Peter, Jelena, and I took our leave. 
It was a long, dark, rainy drive back to Geneva, but none 
of us minded. We were warmed by the fires still burning 
in this noble nonagenarian. We had had a unique and up- 
lifting encounter with the greatest portrait and landscape 
painter of the twentieth century. 


The Library: 
for the Study 
of German 

Paul Raabe 


Books from the collection of the 
Robert Gore Rifkind Center for 
German Expressionist Studies 


The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies rep- 
resents far more than the conventional graphic cabinet; it is also a com- 
prehensive facihty for the study of Expressionism. A wise and farsighted 
collector, Robert Gore Rifkind has succeeded in gathering all the primary 
and secondary resources that are indispensable to a profound study of the 
Expressionist movement. As a result, the center's library occupies a spe- 
cial position in relation to the graphics collection. 

The books and periodicals available to scholars working at 
the center can be divided into four principal categories, though these 
divisions do not correspond precisely to the highly differentiated system 
by which the libraiy is organized. The most comprehensive category, which 
might be termed artistic sources, contains books incorporating original 
graphic art; these are grouped according to the artists who illustrated 
them. The remaining categories, all smaller than the first, are contem- 
poraneous anthologies and general publications, periodicals, and secon- 
dary literature, which comprises both research literature and reference 
works. Books that appeared before 1939 are regarded as primary source 
materials; those from a later date, as secondary sources. 

Primary Sources 

The first category, artistic sources, can be subdivided into illustrated 
books, portfolios, and periodicals; solo and group exhibition catalogues; 
anthologies; literary series; and publisher's almanacs and catalogues. 
These were acquired as supplements to the print collection. 

These works provide evidence that many Expressionist 
prints were created for the purpose of illustration. Max Beckmann's dry- 
point illustrations for Kasimir Edschmid's novella Die Fiirstin (The prin- 
cess, 1918) or Ernst Barlach's woodcuts for Goethe's poem Walpurgis- 
nacht (1923) are graphic works that stand on their own, print series 
comparable with those in the large portfolios in which each artist elabo- 
rated his themes. During the Expressionist period, as at the turn of the 
century, original prints were often published in periodicals, usually in 
special editions. One can find such prints in Paul Westheim's monthly 
Das Kunstblatt (The art paper, 1917-33), for example, or in Georg Bier- 
mann's Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst (Yearbook of recent art, 1920-24). 
Original prints are also included in many of the other artistic sources, 
found in impressive abundance in the Rifkind Study Center, as well as in 
some of the early secondary literature. The covers of publisher's almanacs 
often featured original graphic art. Max Pechstein provided a woodcut for 
Fritz Gurlitt's 1920 almanac, for example, while Frans Masereel provided 
one for Kurt Wolff's 1925 almanac (figs. 230-31). Some of the early exhi- 
bition catalogues produced by artists' groups such as the Briicke (bridge) 
and the Dresden Sezession: Gruppe 1919 (Dresden secession: group 
1919) also contain valuable Expressionist applied graphic art. 

Expressionist book art can also be found in many of the 
documents of Expressionism. In this respect the oeuvre catalogues of 
Rosa Schapire and Gustav Schiefler represent special rarities. For 
Schiefler's 1924-26 catalogue of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's graphic oeuvre 
(see fig. 235), for example, the artist produced woodcut borders and 
tailpieces as well as designing the cover and endsheets. Such interre- 




Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 

Untitled (cover), 1919 


Book: 8% X is'/s in. (22.3 x 

35.2 cm) 

From Fritz Gurlitt, ed.. 

Almanack aufdasjahr 1920 

83.1.83 d, e 

Davis 2254 

Cover of 1925. Ein Almanack 
fur Kunst und Dichtung aus 
dem Kurt Wolff Verlag. with a 
reproduction of a woodcut by 
Frans Masereel 


latedness of text and image exemplifies the Expressionist ideal of the 
Gesamtkiinstwerk (total work of art) and invests the oeuvre inventory with 
a unique quality. Such is also the case for Will Grohmann's comprehen- 
sive monograph on Kirchner (see fig. 232); the design and preparation of 
the cover, typography, and illustrations by the artist resulted in an im- 
pressive document of Expressionist book design. 

Some of the most charming examples of E.xpressionist 
applied graphic art were created not for illustrated books and periodicals, 
but for bookplates, advertisements, announcements, posters, and printed 
proclamations. Artists willingly employed their talents on their own 
behalves to represent their associations or communicate their ideas about 
art or politics in flyers and brochures. In this regard the documents of 
artists' associations in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Munich, and other 
cities are exemplary. 

However attractive a selection of Expressionist applied 
art this copious array of contemporaneous publications may be, their fun- 
damental value for researchers lies in their nature as documentary 
sources. The center's collection of exhibition catalogues represents an 
especially valuable resource. These early catalogues are concerned with 
the secessionist groups that came into being after 1900, first in Berlin and 
Munich and later in many provincial cities. Documents of annual shows 
and special exhibitions, they convey a vivid impression of the contempo- 
rary art scene. Such a rich collection makes it possible to trace the partici- 
pation of individual artists in the various group exhibitions of the period. 
The catalogues of the Briicke (see fig. 233), the Neue Kiinstlervereini- 
gung Miinchen (new artists' association Munich), the Berlin Sezession, 
the Novembergruppe (November group), and other associations through- 
out Germany exist in the library side by side with solo exhibition cata- 
logues. Especially appealing examples are the early Kirchner catalogues 
(see fig. 234), for which the artist provided woodcuts. 

Anthologies, including manifestos of individual artists' 
associations, contemporary works on Expressionism accompanied by 
original prints, and serial publications, are catalogued separately in the 




Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Untitled (title page), 1925 
Color woodcut 
7'/i6 X 7 in. (18.0 X 17.8 cm) 
From Will Grohmann, Das 
Werk Ernst Ludwig Kirchners 

83- 1-379 a 
Davis 1482.1 

as Wepk I 

von ^ ■ 


Kurt Wolf fVerlao 



library. Extensive research on Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc's alma- 
nac, Der blaiie Reiter (The blue rider, 1912; see fig. 10), has made this 
particular anthology well known and accessible. This is not yet true, how- 
ever, of the impressive political documents of Expressionism; the publica- 
tions of the Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst (working council for art), for example, or 
a work like Das neue Hamburg (The new Hamburg, 1922), which high- 
lights the art scene in this Hansa city after the First World War, or such a 
rare work as Utopia: Dokiimente der Wirklichkeit (Utopia: Documents of 
reality, 1921; see fig. 184), designed primarily by Johannes Itten. 

In the Expressionist era the literary series was much 
loved. Der jiingste Tag (Judgment Day, 1913-22), published by Wolff, 
offered the latest editions of Expressionist poetry. In Der rote Hahn (The 
red cock, 1917-25), Franz Pfemfert, who was also the publisher of Die 
Aktion (Action), brought out individual literary or poetic texts. Even 
more revealing for scholars of Expressionism are the little volumes in Tri- 
biine der Kunst und Zeit (Tribune of art and time, 1919-23), edited by 
Edschmid, for here one finds important testimony regarding the situation 
of Expressionist art around 1920. There were serial publications devoted 
exclusively to Expressionism; one of the most valuable is the collection 
Der schwarze Turin (The black tower, 1919-20), which presented graphic 
artists of the late Expressionist period. Popular monographs were also 
produced. The best-known series, Junge Kunst (Recent art), presented 
monographs on more than fifty artists between 1919 and 1933. 





Ernst Ludwig Kirehner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Untitled (title woodcut), 1912 
Woodcut and collage 
7^16 X 3'/i6 in. (19.2 X 7.8 em) 
From Ausstelhing von 
Kiinstlergruppe Briicke 
M. 82.288.375 a 
Davis 1455 


Ernst Ludwig Kirehner 

Germany, 1880- 1938 
Untitled (front cover); untitled 
(back cover), 1916 
Two woodcuts 

6yi6 X 4'/s in. (15.7 X 10.5 cm); 
4'yi6 X 3% in. (12.5 X 8.5 cm) 
From Katalog der Ausstellung 
E. L. Kirehner, Galerie 
Scliames, Frankfurt 
83.1.111 a, b 
Davis 1466.1-2 

These early publications on Expressionism are unques- 
tionably among the most valuable source materials. If one surveys the 
introductions to the work of Beckmann, Kandinsky, Kirehner, Paul Klee, 
Oskar Kokoschka, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Emil Nolde, and Pechstein, one 
comes away with a fascinating insight into the involvement of art writers 
and certain avant-garde art historians in the Expressionist movement. 
The early discussions of Expressionism in books by Fritz Burger, Carl 
Einstein, Wilhelm Hausenstein, and Eckart von Sydow are all to be 
found in the library of the Rifkind Study Center. 

Expressionism could not have had the dramatic impact it 
did had it not been for the courageous involvement of art dealers and 
gallery owners such as Paul Cassirer, Hans Goltz, Gurlitt, I. B. Neumann 
(see fig. 239), Ludwig Schames, and Herwarth Walden; nor would it have 
been possible without the cooperation of publishers (of whom we shall say 
more presently) and the commitment of art historians and critics, who 
played a significant role in the history of the movement. At a moment of 
transition, as the world of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie came to an 
end with the First World War, in a period in which a new consciousness 
was establishing itself, these writers promulgated the ideas of the move- 
ment and aided the artists in gaining acceptance and fame. Many of the 
critics wrote in a style as expressionistic as that of the Expressionist 
authors, and thus the effect of the art they were describing coincided with 
their written reflections. Certain names are representative of this intel- 
lectual avant-garde; Curt Glaser, Grohmann, Gustav F. Hartlaub, Hau- 
senstein, Max Osborn, Kurt Pfister, and Westheim (see fig. 236). 

In the pages of the early research literature one can trace 
the interaction of artists and writers on art. In the art journals in particu- 
lar one can observe the close relationship between the production of 
Expressionist art and its reception. A superb insight into art criticism and 
the art market of the time can also be gained from a study of contemporary 
periodicals of a more general nature. These provide an important means 
for understanding Expressionism in its day. The initial debates on modern 







Ernst Ludwig Kirehner 

Germany, 1880-1938 
Untitled (cover), 1922-24 
Color woodcut 

10% X iz'/s in. (27.0 X 32.0 cm) 
From Gustav Schiefler, Das 
graphuche Werk von Ernst 
Ludwig Kirehner bis 1924. 
Band 1, bis igi6 

Davis 1479. 1 

art were recorded in Walden's Der Sturm (The storm), which began 
appearing in 1910. Again and again Walden engaged in polemics not only 
with newspapers but also with conventional art periodicals such as Fer- 
dinand Avenarius's Der Kunstwart (The curator, 1887-1932) or Kunst 
und Kiinstler (Art and artists, 1902-33), which is so rich in information on 
the contemporary art scene. Its publisher, Karl Scheffler, a friend of the 
Impressionists Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt, had no sympathy for 
newer tendencies in art, in contrast to Biermann, who published Der 
Cicerone (The cicerone, 1909-30) with Klinkhardt und Biermann in 
Leipzig. After the war Biermann supported Expressionism in his 
Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst (see fig. 237). Das Kunstblatt (see fig. 238) 
was also sympathetic to the movement, as an announcement of the first 
issue, published in 1917, indicates: "Das Kunstblatt seeks to serve art on 
its way to becoming. It is there for the sake of an art that . . . places the 
yearning for creation, the divine inner urge, above formulaic beauty, 
above beauty that ingratiates with glitter and sensual stimulation. . . . 
Existing only to serve this strength and authenticity, only for an art of the 
. . . personality, this publication has not the slightest intention of dictating 
the latest artistic fashion." Das Kunstblatt is an outstanding chronicle of 
Expressionism in the years 1917 to 1925. 

Also available in the Rifkind Study Center are the many 
smaller but equally stimulating publications of the period documenting 
modern art in text and image, for example. Das graphische Jahrbuch 
(The graphic yearbook, 1920), edited by Hans Theodor Joel in Darm- 
stadt, and Das Kestnerbuch (The Kestner book, 1919), edited by Paul 
Erich Kiippers in Hannover, and foremost among them, Julius Meier- 





Germany, 1891-1969 
Paul Westheim, 1923 
i5'/4 X i8"/i6 in. 
(38.5x47.5 cm) 
M. 82.288.47 
Davis 481 

Graefe's superbly edited Ganymed: Blatter der Marees-Gesellschaft 
(Ganymede: Papers of the Marees society, vols. 1-2, 1919-20), which 
continued publication as Ganymed: J ahrbuch fur die Kunst (Ganymede: 
Yearbook for art, vols. 3-5, 1921-25) under the direction of Hausenstein, 
another editor who was also involved in the Expressionist cause. Gany- 
med was affiliated with the Berlin printing house of the same name, 
founded in 1917, which produced the ambitious Drucke der Marees- 
Gesellschaft (Prints of the Marees society), edited by Meier-Graefe and 
published by Reinhard Piper in Munich. 

The almanacs of Piper's firm from the years 1904 to 1924 
provide further evidence of his commitment to Expressionism, but the 
most beautiful and interesting publisher's almanacs were produced by 
Fritz Gurlitt Verlag in Berlin, a house that contributed to the dissemina- 
tion of Expressionism with a wide selection of prints, illustrated books, 
and portfolios. The almanacs of Cassirer in Berlin and Wolff in Munich, 
along with the art periodicals and anthologies they produced, not only 
provide accounts of their firms' publications but also contain essential bib- 
liographical information. 

The activities of art publishers and dealers can also be 
traced through their advertisements in illustrated periodicals and jour- 
nals. Neumann's Bilderhefte (Picture pamphlets, 1920-23; see fig. 240) and 
Alfred Flechtheim's Der Querschnitt (The cross section, 1921-36), which 
publicized exhibitions at their galleries, are the best sources in which 
to follow the involvement of these notable advocates of Expressionist art. 

While scholars visiting the Rifkind Study Center can 
conduct research on well-known artists or follow the trails of the many 
little-known or as yet undiscovered painters, printmakers, sculptors, and 
architects of the Expressionist movement, the original sources— unpub- 
lished manuscripts, notebooks, and letters— necessary to a more detailed 
investigation are not available there in great quantity. Archival work of 
this nature, however, depends upon previous examination of the pub- 
lished sources, and for this purpose a comprehensive collection such as 
that of the center is indispensable. Such an institution not only makes 
possible the study of individual artists, it also offers facilities for general 
research on Expressionism that can be the basis for in-depth studies on 
specific topics. An overview of the published primary source materials of a 
period can stimulate an unlimited number of detailed studies. In the cen- 
ter one can explore the nature of exhibitions, examine the role of artists' 
associations, and determine the significance of provincial German cities 
in the development of Expressionism. (Berlin, Munich, and Vienna were 
not the only centers of modern art. Individuals and institutions in many 
smaller cities also took part in the dissemination of Expressionist art and 
supported young artists in a variety of ways.) One can follow the history of 
art publishers as well as that of the art market in the published sources- 
books, catalogues, periodicals, and advertisements— and pursue the role 
of writers on art as well as that of museums, many of which proved to be 
remarkably open to modern art. Finally, the struggle surrounding mod- 
ern art is reflected in the documents of an Expressionist library. For a 
history of the reception of Expressionism and for its social history, the 
study of contemporaneous books and periodicals is essential. 




Georg Schrimpf 

Germany, 1889-1938 
Untitled (woman seated in land- 
scape), c. 1917 

7V8 X 5'/s in. (18. 1 X 13.0 cm) 
From deluxe edition of Das 
Kunstbtatt 1, no. 2 (1917) 
83.1.1086 a 
Davis 2617 


Cover oijalirhtich derjitngcn 
Kinist (1922), with a reproduc- 
tion of a woodcut by Georg A. 


WILHELM HAUSENSTEIN: Der KimstsdiriftsteUer. 

5iv bc^BUD Icbiluh — aichl dcq Lvcn uikilEDd, fondmi mil EnKbenuupndi 
ngenQbu dcm BilflrKj. Sic itdht, jcwdfa dnr^ ciDC bntimmte, jiim^c^ eUt^iipiiic 
AulitdiJi vnTenruonnu. Fonlcniiiroi dcr SdiSaticil uiL die da KEudn m crfiUlcD 
lube: Rfrfdn deJ BiUb^iia, der FirboDf, do- Zcic^nuif 
StiHAfc. woU ■vdi da GcfDuUbdei lUwriuupl. dk mjtriibi du MiQeJ cij 

Sd»a vfnudtlfl BLU ia dcr Fiadaag odcT Erfmdonr djeier Rc^c^ k 
iKtniifh Eu ^turdeiL Ufa CcbiMe luKUItc a E»di in da Tai icbr ofl mcitr ai 

etwu Fi^licjiEs cmpKindm. Min [cnncm die BeniEuprietie dn Wrrklloltr. Da KiaU~ 

eiHm uilwlrttrea Slid all ctwu uifieriuJL Cdetmci 
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u oder Gcvtrbd^ Mbd bcwici dco UmIct im euqclncn, LDvidOT dcr Sduttcn X am 

id cia iritucber Juiron (Or Einsnc^le uod Halbcmtcwcihli^ Du WundcrEdnle 
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roleueilidie Mp^thl[■ti(>^ Ixribcn ^qdIc Nut mcili^ baticji Zej[ nod Lml, 
m Kritikci Dulci Auliidil lu lullen. CLIIig »u ^10 Olci±uii£. die Fliubcn ie dcB 

D Idc^lit > 

ji uijililhi dJe Berirkle — 


Secondary Literature 

As we have seen, a large number of monographs and essays on Expres- 
sionism and Expressionist artists were written by contemporaries of the 
movement. Although the production and dissemination of modern art in 
Germany was interrupted by the Nazis, an intervention that culminated 
in the unparalleled defamation and destruction of an entire art move- 
ment, the end of the Second World War saw a renewed interest in this 
early twentieth-century movement in the United States as well as in Ger- 
many. Books by Hartlaub, Hausenstein, Max Sauerlandt, and others at- 
test to this revival. 

Since the war research into Expressionism has taken new 
directions, focusing not only on the life and work of the major artists— for 
example, those of the Briicke and the Blaue Reiter— but also on "loners" 
such as Barlach and Kokoschka. Together with Beckmann, Lyonel Feinin- 
ger, Erich Meckel, Alexej von Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Klee, Alfred 
Kubin, August Macke, Marc, Otto Mueller, Nolde, Pechstein, and Karl 
Schmidt-Rottluff, minor artists of the movement as well as artists of late 
Expressionism (for example, Conrad Felixmiiller, Ludwig Meidner, Jakob 
Steinhardt, and Georg Tappert) have found biographers. These studies 
have expanded the narrow idea of Expressionism that was prevalent 
immediately after the war. In addition there have been studies of devel- 
opments that originated in Expressionism, for example, Dada, rendering 
a more varied picture of the time. Research into individual genres such as 
sculpture, graphics, and poster art has also made noticeable progress. 
Oeuvre catalogues for individual artists have appeared, as have collec- 
tions of documents and letters. Monographs on artists are, as before, 
worthwhile book projects, especially as reproduction techniques have be- 
come more refined. There now exist numerous scholarly studies of indi- 
vidual artists as well as comprehensive and partial surveys of Expression- 
ism, presentations of individual artists' associations, studies of the 
movement in particular cities, and works exploring the history of its influ- 
ence and reception. 



Exhibitions of Expressionist art continue to be popular at 
museums and galleries throughout the world. If one compares the modest 
catalogues of the period to the superbly designed, richly illustrated, thor- 
oughly researched exhibition catalogues of the present, one can see that 
today's catalogues represent a major portion of the research being done 
on Expressionist art and artists. Many have become standard works on 
the subject. In this context another type of catalogue, the auction cata- 
logue, should also be mentioned. Auction catalogues have helped to make 
many Expressionist works accessible for the first time, and they are an 
essential element of the literature of Expressionism. 

Seen as a whole. Expressionist art has become a wide 
arena for research that is mirrored in a rich array of primary and secondary 
literature. The contribution of English-language publications to this lit- 
erature has been considerable, not least of all because so many works have 
been translated from German into English. Expressionism has become an 
art possessed by the entire world. 

From the very beginning Robert Gore Rifkind included 
secondary research literature in his collection. Today this particular por- 
tion of the center's collection continues to grow; it constitutes a second 
area of concentration in the library. One hardly needs to mention that the 
library also makes the standard reference works on modern art in general 
and on Expressionism in particular available to its users. The personnel 
overseeing the Rifkind Study Center make work in the library pleasant 
and rewarding. Their eagerness to be helpful and their level of expertise, 
which allows for genuine collaborative thinking, mark the atmosphere of a 
library that makes a concerted effort to accommodate scholars and their 
research projects. For the opportunity to conduct such in-depth research 
on Expressionism in Los Angeles, the scholar must also thank the collec- 
tor, who has complemented his extraordinary holdings of Expressionist 
graphic art with such a rich and multifaceted library. Even more respect is 
due this collector in light of the fact that he has placed his collection in an 
accessible public institution. 

Translated from the German by Harriet Watts 



Germany, 1891-1969 

/. B. Neumann, 1922 

Etching and drypoint 

ii"/i6 X 9'/2 in. (29.7 X 24. 1 cm) 

M. 82.288.48 

Davis 474 


Erich Meckel 

Germany, 1883-1970 
Titelblatt zu I. B. Neumanns 
Bilderheft "Erich Heckel," 1922 
(Title page to I. B. Neumann's 
picture book Erich Heckel) 

7% X 5'/2 in. (18.7 X 13.9 cm) 
83.1.630 a 
Davis 1055 


The Robert Gore Rifkind Cen- 
ter for German Expressionist 



Past, Present, 
and Future 

Rose-Carol Washton Long 


Otto Lange 

Germany, 1S79- 1944 
Vision, probably after 1919 
Woodcut and color monotype 
20% X i8"/i6 in. (52.7 X 46.8 cm) 
M. 82. 288. 199 
Davis 1705 


Of all the movements associated with the development of European mod- 
ernism—Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Surrealism— Expressionism 
may be the least understood and the most often maligned. Throughout 
the twentieth century Expressionism has been accused of failure, moral 
vapidity, and degeneracy as well as formlessness and subjectivity. That 
Expressionism is most commonly associated with Germany, a country 
twice at war with the rest of Europe during the first fifty years of the 
century, is not unrelated to the antipathy many art historians have had for 
it. But the Second World War has been over for more than forty years, 
and Expressionism, along with all other movements associated with mod- 
ernism, had been severely attacked in Germany during the 1930s by the 
governing National Socialists. Yet, until recently, French manifestations 
of modernism, such as Cubism and Surrealism, have received much more 
scholarly attention. Obviously more is involved than a simple reaction to a 
style associated with a nation that was once an opponent. 

The attitude that France has been the repository of West- 
ern culture, an attitude strongly felt during the first fifty years of this 
century, has certainly contributed to the emphasis upon French art. But 
numerous misinterpretations, among them the sentiment that Expres- 
sionism was influenced by too many other styles to have an identity of its 
own, have also encouraged the perception that German art is inferior to 
French art. A quote from the chapter on Expressionism in George Heard 
Hamilton's othei^wise very useful survey of European art. Painting and 
Sculpture in Europe, 1880-1Q40, illustrates this general bias: "After an 
examination of French art, modern German painting and sculpture may 
seem to lack any consistent direction. The logical progression of the 
French is absent, and in its place there are apparently only flashes of 
genius in the midst of unregulated idiosyncracies. "' Even in 1984 the 
Museum of Modern Art's exhibition 'Primitivism" in Twentieth-Century 
Art revealed a bias in favor of French Cubism and Surrealism in its reeval- 
uations of early modernism in Europe. Affinities between German Ex- 
pressionism and primitive art were displayed in the exhibition, but the 
examples of German Expressionist art were too few to convey the com- 
plex influence of tribal art on modernist artists in Germany.^ 

In the past decade art historians have nonetheless be- 
come increasingly aware that a large part of European art has been left 
unexamined. As admiration for recent German art, especially Neo- 
Expressionism, has grown, critics, scholars, and the public have once 
again begun to explore the painterly qualities of texture and color and the 
cultural and political ideograms that marked much of the work associated 
with German Expressionism. Studies of Expressionist artists have prolif- 
erated. ^ These studies have not been confined to acknowledged masters 
from the period before the First World War, such as Wassily Kandinsky 
and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, but have ranged over a multitude of lesser- 
known artists as well as activist political organizations such as the 
Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst (working council for art), to which many of the 
Expressionists belonged after the war. Numerous misconceptions about 
Expressionism persist nevertheless, and a thorough reevaluation has yet 
to be written. To illuminate areas for further research, this essay focuses 
on some of the historical reasons for the lacunae of German Expressionist 

184 Long 

studies as well as directing attention to recent approaches in the field, for 
it has become increasingly clear that we have much to learn in this arena. 

Explorations in the field have been complicated by the fact that Expres- 
sionism in Germany was an exceptionally diverse phenomenon, affecting 
a number of disciplines and ranging across several generations. Painting is 
generally acknowledged to be the first of the arts to have been labeled 
Expressionist,^ but sculpture, architecture, printmaking, literature, po- 
etry, photography, film, and drama were also described in Germany as 
Expressionist. Despite the fact that the term Expressionismus was used 
by artists and critics during the period of its prime influence, the accuracy 
and meaning of the term have been continually questioned. Relating art- 
ists to specific movements can be problematic, and some historians have 
asserted that the term was used only by art dealers and critics. Artists did 
indeed use the term before the First World War,^ although some rejected 
it entirely.^ Today most scholars in the field of German modernism in the 
visual arts lean to the interpretation that Expressionism reflects a mul- 
tiplicity of antinaturalist, tension-producing styles in addition to a variety 
of Utopian attitudes from the period before, during, and after the First 
World War. Although scholars may not always agree upon which artists 
should be included under the term, sufficient evidence— in the form of 
exhibitions, manifestos, artists' letters, and essays'''— exists to remind us of 
Expressionism's power in Germany's cultural life from roughly igoS* to 
1921^ and even, albeit in altered form, into the 1930s. Indeed, in that 
decade, after its reputed demise. Expressionism retained enough stature 
to be attacked by both the fascists and the Communists. 

The Expressionists' Utopian belief that art could be the 
vehicle of political and cultural transformations made them particularly 
vulnerable to ideological attacks. Whatever their political persuasions, 
the majority of Expressionists were committed to reaction against estab- 
lished traditions, whether artistic, social, political, economic, or sexual. 
Their exalted hopes contributed to their immense appeal after the First 
World War and ultimately to the intensity of the attacks upon them. 
Eventually, as Expressionism became an ideological football for both the 
National Socialists and the Communists, misinterpretations turned into 
gross parodies that have had long-lasting negative effects. 

Explorations of the phenomenon of Expressionism have 
also been complicated by the fact that from the beginning of its identifica- 
tion in Germany, Expressionism was involved with the highly emotional 
questions of internationalism and nationalism. Before the First World 
War supporters of Expressionism often justified its radical departures 
from nature by stressing its relation to other European artistic develop- 
ments. The museum director Richard Reiche and the publisher Herwarth 
Walden viewed the German-based Briicke and Blaue Reiter artists along 
with French Fauvists and Cubists, Italian Futurists, Noi-wegian and 
Dutch Symbolists (in the persons of Edvard Munch and Vincent van 
Gogh) as Expressionists. Others, such as P. F. Schmidt and Paul Fechter, 
defended the new art against those who called it un-German, rubbish, 
and mad by emphasizing those aspects of Expressionism that reflected 

185 Long 

the Germanic past.'*' Identification of Expressionism with the Gothic was 
especially stressed. By 1914 critics such as Adolf Behne and Fechter were 
suggesting that Expressionism was more metaphysical than avant-garde 
experiments in other countries." This type of apotheosizing interpreta- 
tion would lead to much self-flagellation after the war. And the earlier 
nationalist attacks on Expressionism'^ as a betrayer of an indigenous art 
form would also increase in intensity after the war. 

To a certain degree some of the negative aura that has 
surrounded Expressionism can be traced to the exalted expectations of 
many of the early defenders of Expressionism. In the late teens and early 
twenties the harshest critics of Expressionism were quite frequently the 
very same ones who had first championed the movement. Where Expres- 
sionism had been praised before the First World War for its anti- 
materialist themes and style, in the late teens it was condemned for suc- 
cumbing to fashion and for its mystical impulses. The initial Utopian hope 
that a new style of art could contribute to a moral and ethical renewal 
could not be sustained by the political and economic realities after the 
November Revolution of 1918. 

For example, in one of the earliest defenses of Expres- 
sionism, the art historian Wilhelm Worringer, writing in 1911, praised 
the new style for its purity, simplicity, and mysticism and equated these 
traits with those of primitive art.'-'^ Barely ten years later Worringer 
attacked the movement that he had believed would be significant for the 
future development of German art. In public lectures of 1919 and 1920 he 
called Expressionism "an empty shell," dismissing it as a "superficial 
thrill." He explained that a spiritual art could not exist in the cultural 
climate of that moment and denounced Expressionism for degenerating 
into decoration, or "artistic fashion calligraphy."''' 

The critic Wilhelm Hausenstein was another Expres- 
sionist defender turned attacker. Before the war Hausenstein had also 
praised the idealistic direction of Expressionism,'^ but a year after the 
war his radical socialist political commitments led him to attack angrily 
the style that had become identified with what he felt were the failures of 
the Weimar Republic.'^ The popularity of Expressionism among the ur- 
ban upper and middle classes and its lack of acceptance by the great mass 
of the German people also contributed to Hausenstein's belief that it had 
failed in its mission. 

At the same time a younger generation of artists living in 
Berlin who felt even more committed to political activism attempted to 
separate themselves from Expressionism by vehemently denouncing the 
style and politics they had earlier admired. The Dada manifesto (fig. 243) 
reverberated with righteous indignation as the young artists proclaimed 
rhetorically: "Have the Expressionists fulfilled our expectations of an art 
that burns the essence of life into our flesh? No! No! No! . . . On pretext of 
carrying on propaganda for the soul, they have in their struggle with natu- 
ralism, found their way back to the abstract, pathetic gestures which pre- 
suppose a comfortable life free from content or strife."'''' 

Conservatives also intensified their attacks on Expres- 
sionism and international modernism after the November Revolution. 
Paul Schultze-Naumburg, taking off from Max Nordau's earlier associ- 

186 Long 

d^dai^'tj^CHes 3\'F,st 



Die Kunst ist in ihrer AusSuhrung und Richtung von der Zeit abhangig, in 
der sie lebt, und die Kunstler sind Kreaturen ihrer Epoche. Die hijchste Kunst 
wird diejenige sain, die in ihren BewuBtseinsinhalten die tausendfachen Probleme 
der Zeit prasentiert, der man anmerkt, daB sie sich von den Explosionen der letzten 
Woche werfen lieB, die ihre Glieder immer wieder unter dem StoB des letzten 
Tages zusammensucht. Die besten und unerhortesten Kunstler werden diejenigen 
sein, die stiindlich die Fetzen ihres Leibes aus dem Wirrsal der Lebenskatarakte 
zusammenreiBen, verbissen in den Intellekt der Zeit, blutend an Handen und Herzen. 

Hat der Expressionismus unsere Erwartungen auf eine solche Kunst erfijllt, 
die eine Ballotage unserer vitalsten Angelegenheiten ist? 

IVein! Nein! Nein! 

Richard Huelsenbeck, Haben die Expressionisten unsere Erwartungen aul eine Kunst erfUllt, die uns 

Dadaistiches Manifest, c. 1920 die Essenz des Lebens ins Fleisch brennt? 


Nein! IVein! Nein! 


ation of mental degeneracy with experimental art,'* savagely described 
the antinaturalistic and antirepresentational developments of Expression- 
ist art as un-German, commercial, materialistic, superficial, and degen- 
erate. His book Kunst und Rasse (Art and race, 1928) presents a classic 
example of this point of view. '^ After the events of 1918 the right had 
begun to view Expressionism as connected with communism, using the 
term Kultur-holschewismus (cultural Bolshevism)^" to discredit all mod- 
ernist efforts in the arts. While many of the artists and intellectuals of the 
movement had associations with groups on the left ranging from the 
majority Social Democrats and the smaller Independent Social Demo- 
crats to the splinter parties of the Communists and various anarchist 
movements, a number of artists associated with Expressionism, Ernst 
Barlach and Oskar Kokoschka among them, remained deliberately aloof 
from political involvements, and a few, including Emil Nolde, openly 
admired volkisch political parties and later the National Socialists. ^^ 
Nonetheless almost all those associated with Expressionism eventually 
became the victims of the National Socialist determination to stamp out 
all evidence of non-German influence. 

While the attacks upon Expressionism in the 1920s fore- 
shadow the developments of the following decade, they do not adequately 
prepare one for the intense animosity against Expressionism that char- 
acterized the 1930s. The National Socialists were particularly brutal in 
their attempt to discredit all aspects of modernism. Although almost all 
artists in Germany associated with international modernism were 
attacked by the National Socialists, a majority of those whose works were 
officially labeled degenerate had been specifically connected with 
Expressionism at one time or another. Among the artists whose works 
were included in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate art) exhibitions were 
Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Conrad Felixmiiller, George Grosz, Erich 

187 Long 

Heckel, Kirchner, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Nolde, 
Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff,^^ names frequently associated 
with Expressionism a decade or two earlier. A few words from the cata- 
logue of the 1937 Munich Entartete Kunst exhibition (see figs. 244-45), 
the best known of these grotesque exhibition parodies, might remind us 
of the virulence of the National Socialist position. A speech by Adolf Hit- 
ler, reprinted in the catalogue, described the works as portraying "de- 
formed cripples and cretins, women who inspire nothing but disgust, hu- 
man beings who are more animal than human ."^^ Other commentaries 
described the selected paintings and sculptures as artistic Bolshevism 
responsible for anarchy and disorder, as catering to Jewish art dealers, as 
representing the Negro as the most elevated moral type, as products of 
mental defectives suffering from visual malfunctions. At the conclusion of 
the catalogue, works of the insane were set side by side with examples of 
modern painting and sculpture. Supported by these preposterous argu- 
ments, the catalogue announced that all work by the artists included in 
the exhibition would be forbidden. 

The facts of how many paintings were taken from muse- 
ums across Germany, how many directors of modern museums or modern 
wings of museums were removed from their positions, how many artists 
were banned from the national academies, how many paintings were 
burned or sold outside Germany to provide needed capital are well 
known. ^^ By the time the Nazis were defeated, many of the artists whose 
work had been banned, mutilated, or destroyed had either been forced to 
emigrate or had been so traumatized by the inconceivable experience 
with fascism that they did not wish to be associated with a movement that 
had been thought to have national characteristics, even if only from the 
medieval past. For these artists, to view modernism as having any 
connection with a German Expressionism would be too closely associated 
with the National Socialist concept of racially inspired art forms. 

It is ironic that while the right wing viewed Expression- 
ism and other avant-garde movements as leading to communism, the 
extreme left viewed Expressionism as leading to fascism. Although the 
radical left in Germany had criticized Expressionism since the 1920s for 
lacking a clear ideological program and for being incomprehensible to the 
masses, a debate over Expressionism in the Moscow-based German 
emigre periodical Das Wort (The word) in 1937-38 intensified and 
immortalized the Mai^xist criticism of Expressionism.^^ Many of the es- 
says in this periodical refer to George Lukacs's 1934 critique, " 'Grosse 
und Verfair des Expressionismus" (The significance and decline of 
Expressionism). Lukacs acknowledged the rebellious antiright, antiwar 
tone of the Expressionists, but reflecting the antimodernist Stalinist 
direction, he criticized the Expressionist response as anarchistic and 
bohemian, without economic and ideological foundation. Describing 
Expressionism as formless, devoid of content, and subjective, he main- 
tained that its chaotic style hid the true nature of social realities and 
allowed even the fascists to accept its stylistic qualities since they masked 
political and social conditions. ^^ In Das Wort Ernst Bloch, who had sym- 
pathized with the Communists but had not become a party member, 
pointed out that Lukacs was concerned more with literature than with 



•Feder Koiunientar ist 
hier iiberflussig! 

Die ,,Werke" stammen von Voll, 
Kirchner, Heckel, Hoffmann und 





w ^^^H 

■ 1 






Page from Entartete Kunst: 

Ausstelhtngsfiihrer, the guide 

to the 1937 Munich exhibition 


painting and wanted a political art to be created from a mimetic tradi- 
tion. ^''^ He emphasized the revolutionary nature of the Expressionists' 
pacifism and experimentation with new forms. 

Another contributor to Das Wort, Alfred Kurella (writing 
under the pseudonym Bernhard Ziegler), stressed that Expressionism 
was decadent, bourgeois, irrational, and mystical and that these ten- 
dencies led to the acceptance of fascism. Kurella cited the Expressionist 
poet Gottfried Benn's absorption of fascist ideas as evidence supporting 
his view. Defenses of Expressionism by Herwarth Walden, former editor 
of the Expressionist periodical Der Sturm (The storm) and owner of the 
gallery of the same name, and by Klaus Berger, an art historian, appeared 
in later issues, along with denunciations by the painter Heinrich Vogeler 
and rebuttals by Lukacs and Kurella.^* 

The debate in Das Wort, which has had interesting rami- 
fications for the evaluation of Expressionism, has been the subject of sev- 
eral studies. Franz Schonauer, in a 1966 essay, "Expressionismus und 
Faschismus: Eine Diskussion aus dem Jahre 1938" (Expressionism and 
fascism: A discussion from the year 1938), stressed that the attempt to 
form "an ideology against fascism " and the International Writers Con- 
gress's rejection of modernism in favor of Socialist Realism lay behind the 
hysterical attacks on Expressionism in Das Wort. Believing that Expres- 
sionism was originally a radical, leftist movement, Schonauer asserted 
that Lukacs's attack was an attempt to deny its revolutionary origins. ^^ In 
the first section of his essay Schonauer discussed Klaus Mann's article in 
Das Wort about Benn's aberrant attraction to fascism, which Schonauer 
attributed to the poet's isolation from the humanistic and progressive side 
of Expressionism. As for Kurella's invective against Expressionism, 
Schonauer traced his views to his failure as an Expressionist painter and 
his attempt as a member of the Communist party to make a career out 
of writing about the issues of culture and politics.™ In the second part 
of his essay Schonauer discussed other articles that were part of the 
debate, among them the defenses of Expressionism written by Berger, 
Bloch, and Walden. ^^ 

More recently, and specifically directed to an English- 
speaking audience, Stephen Eric Bronner in his essay "Expressionism 
and Marxism: Toward an Aesthetic of Emancipation " focused on the views 
of Lukacs and Bloch, in addition to including Bertolt Brecht's critique of 
Lukacs. Bronner contended that the Expressionist debate in the thirties 
was in actuality a debate over what a "revolutionary" or "progressive" art 
was supposed to be.'^^ He pointed to the Stalinist advocacy of Socialist 
Realism coupled with the determination to extend the popular front to all 
the arts as creating the intense controversy over Expressionism. Bron- 
ner's discussion incorporates many of the major issues of the Expressionist 
debate. While Bronner did not address the assertion of Lukacs and 
Kurella that Expressionism led to fascism, he did seem to reflect this pe- 
jorative critique when he asked whether the Expressionist rebellion 
against society wasn't too bohemian and anarchistic, inadvertently creat- 
ing a turbulent climate in which fascism could flourish. Since this point 
crops up from time to time in the literature on Expressionism, Bronner's 
reflection of this sentiment is worth quoting: "The expressionist demand 


Cover o{ Entartete Kimst: 
Ausstelhiiigsfuhrer, the guide 
to the 1937 Munich exhibition, 
with Otto Freundhch's sculp- 
ture Grosser Kopf(^^Der neue 


190 Long 

for liberation from outmoded social mores was obvious: still, it could be 
asked whether or not the freedom which these bohemians sought was not 
simply a state of license which would create the conditions of chaos nec- 
essary for the rise of fascism. "^^ 

Such comments have contributed to the sentiment that 
Expressionism was somehow tainted compared with other artistic move- 
ments. Another example may indicate the perfidious nature of this view. 
In Expressionist Architecture (1973) Wolfgang Pehnt asked if Kurella was 
correct in stating that many of the arguments used by the Expressionists 
became part of National Socialist propaganda. Pehnt pointed to the simi- 
larity between Expressionist antimaterialism and National Socialist 
posturing against commercialism. He also cited the Expressionist call for 
a return to crafts and folk art as leading to the National Socialist eradica- 
tion of internationalist references in art and architecture.^* Since attacks 
on industrialism and materialism occurred all over Europe in the late 
nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century and an 
investigation of crafts and folk art was part of the search by intellectuals in 
England, France, and Russia for unconventional sources for culture and 
art, it is misleading to suggest that Expressionist antimaterialism and 
interest in folk art led to fascism. Although the National Socialists praised 
German folk art, they had no interest in folk examples from other nations 
and severely denigrated tribal art, which, along with folk art from all na- 
tions, had profoundly influenced the Expressionists. 

In a 1985 article, "Expressionism in Literature," Wolf- 
gang Rothe castigated the notion that Expressionism was a precursor of 
fascism. He emphasized that the Expressionist fascination with com- 
munalism, which was based on belief in a transformation of human values, 
was quite separate from the nationalist concept of a community built on 
race. Rothe wrote: "This Expressionist revolution in the social sphere 
strove for a new quality of common interest with 'You' and 'We' replacing 
the isolated, egotistical, narcissistic 'I.' ... a concept utterly unlike that of 
the ultra-chauvinistic ideologists of race, blood and atavistic Germanity 
before and after 1914 (and after 1933)."^^ 

The ideological attacks upon Expressionism that took 
place in the 1930s contributed to a number of other misconceptions that 
have hindered a thorough assessment of Expressionism.^^ The lack of em- 
phasis in studies done after the Second World War on the political inclina- 
tions and Utopian aspirations of many of the Expressionists is a legacy of 
the politicization of Expressionism in the thirties. In an attempt to re- 
assert the aesthetic viability of Expressionism, examinations of the move- 
ment in the visual arts from the 1950s and early 1960s tended to stress 
those artists whose individual creativity and international recognition 
either had removed them from political activity or had masked their 
political sympathies and mystical inclinations. Wolfgang Paulsen's 
Expressionismus und Aktivismus (Expressionism and activism, 1935), 
which separated Expressionism into two different typologies, may have 
been one of the models for this approach. Paulsen viewed the generation 
of artists working before and during the war as more poetic and romantic 
than those who emerged after the war, whom he described as activists 
because of their greater political involvement.^'' 

191 Long 

The two major English-language introductions to Ger- 
man Expressionist painting by Peter Selz and Bernard Myers, published 
in the late 1950s, tended to concentrate more on the giants of early 
Expressionism, giving brief accounts, if any, of the less known but more 
politically oriented artists who emerged after the First World War.^* In 
Germany critics such as Lothar-Giinther Buchheim, for example, in his 
1958 study of German Expressionist graphics, also focused primarily on 
the Briicke and Blaue Reiter groups, among the least politically active of 
the artists' groups associated with Expressionism.-'^ Regarding the politi- 
cal sympathies of the most radical of the Briicke artists, Pechstein, 
Buchheim emphasized the work done before the First World War and 
reproduced none of his politically inspired images, such as the cover of 
the Novembergruppe publication An alle Kiinstler! (To all artists!; fig. 
246). The more politically radical artists who emerged after the First 
World War, such as Felixmliller of the Dresden Sezession, were men- 
tioned too briefly to bring recognition. The mystical orientation of the 
Blaue Reiter and the occult sources for its vision were not discussed. One 
suspects that the avoidance of the issue of mysticism and Expressionism 
sprang from the fear that the acknowledgment of the occult and Utopian 
sources on which artists such as Kandinsky drew could tar with the taint of 
the irrational not only the artists but the movement as well.^" 

After the Second World War interest in abstraction 
increased in Germany. Not only were most of the creators of abstract art 
committed to internationalism, but many writers at that time also tended 
to view abstraction as reflecting the freedom to choose a style without 
censorship."*^ As Abstract Expressionism gained recognition, first in the 
United States and then in Europe, painting was increasingly discussed as 
a reflection of the artist's will through the gestural direction of the brush 
stroke and the use of texture. The great value placed upon individuality 
and personal choice enhanced the value of subjectivity, feeling, and per- 
sonal expression, turning some of the negative critiques of Expressionism 
into positive interpretations that did little to portray accurately the inten- 
tions and goals of the artists. 

One example of the misleading equation of Expression- 
ism with emotionalism during this period is the 1966 essay "On the Origin 
of the Word 'Expressionism,' " by Donald Gordon. ^^ Although Gordon's 
views changed over the years, especially in the posthumously published 
Expressionism: Art and Idea*^ his 1966 essay has frequently been cited 
for its succinct presentation of the sources of the term. The essay focuses 
on a 1914 study of Expressionism by Paul Fechter, whom Gordon then 
incorrectly believed to have been the first to apply the term to the Briicke 
and Blaue Reiter artists.**** While Gordon briefly mentioned Fechter's 
belief that Expressionism reflected Germanic metaphysical longings, ''^ he 
tended to select quotations from Fechter that supported his own equa- 
tion of Expressionism with an irrational expression of personal feeling."*^ 
Ignoring the specific social and political context from which Expression- 
ism emerged in Germany, Gordon came to the conclusion that the con- 
cept of Expressionism was the creation of German critics and writers. He 
maintained that a "communahty of interests and aims" did not exist 
among the members of the Briicke and Blaue Reiter and other artists of 




Max Pechstein 

Germany, 1881-1955 
Cover design for An alle 
Kiinstler! 1919 

the German avant-garde before the First World War.^'^ Gordon's assess- 
ment of Expressionism as anti-intellectual, as dealing primarily with indi- 
vidual feeling, and his questioning whether the artists involved had any 
common attitudes or aims has contributed to the dismissal of Expression- 
ism as a significant part of twentieth-century modernism. While it would 
be farfetched to trace Gordon's interpretation of Expressionism as repre- 
senting personal emotions to the Marxist criticism of Expressionism as 
irrational, subjective, and individualistic, the parallels are striking. 

Geoffrey Perkins was stimulated by Gordon's study to 
delve more deeply into the German cultural situation in his Contempo- 
vary Theory of Expressionism (1974). Contradicting Gordon's findings, 
Perkiris pointed to the application of the term Expressionismus to the 
German avant-garde by late 1911 as a response to the nationalistic criti- 
cism that the new art was too French-oriented, too modern, too cos- 
mopolitan.** For Perkins, Worringer was the theoretician who provided 
the defense for the new art by tying the antinaturalistic tendency of 
Expressionism to a metaphysical, Gothic, and German tradition.*^ Per- 
kins, however, did not examine either the artists' beliefs or their works to 
see if one or the other or both reflected any of the qualities Worringer and 
other German critics described as Expressionist. Despite his acknowl- 
edgment that artists such as Kandinsky wrote defenses of the new art, 
Perkins concluded that he was in agreement with Gordon's 1966 assess- 
ment that Expressionism existed primarily in the minds of the critics. 
This view, however, has been less evident in recent years. 

In the past twelve years most scholars in the field of Ger- 
man modernism in the visual arts have emphasized that Expressionism 
was a vital force not only for critics but also for artists and architects living 
in Germany before and after the war. Although the postwar artists are 
viewed as more politically involved, most scholars feel that the Expres- 
sionist artists of both generations shared a common (but not identical) 
outlook based on Utopian hopes for a transformation of social values and a 
genuine faith in the power of experimental color, form, space, and imag- 
ery to assist in this transformation. The work of the cultural historian Paul 
Raabe has been instrumental in this shift. His essays in Der Ausgang des 
Expressionismus (The end of Expressionism, 1966) concentrate specifi- 
cally on developments after the First World War, directing attention to 
the lesser-known Expressionist artists and the periodicals in which their 
works were reproduced. ^^ His bibliographical compilations, including Die 
Zeitschriften und Sammlungen des literarischen Expressionismus (The 
periodicals and anthologies of literary Expressionism, 1964) and his 
eighteen-volume Index Expressionismus (Index of Expressionism, 1972), 
have provided useful research tools for widening investigations. ^^ 

The exhibition of Expressionist documents, books, 
manuscripts, and posters that Raabe and Ludwig Greve prepared for the 
Schiller Nationalmuseum in Marbach in 1960,^^ which traveled to Mu- 
nich, Berlin, New York, and Florence, contributed to the revival of inter- 
est in Expressionist studies. Several documentary collections of essays by 
Expressionist poets, critics, and artists— such as Paul Portner's two- 
volume Liter atur-Revolution, iQio-iQ2g (Literature revolution, 
1910-1925), Dieter Schmidt's Manifeste, Manifeste, 1905-1933 (Mani- 

194 Long 

festos, manifestos, 1905-1933), and Raabe's Expressionismus: Der Kampf 
um eine literarische Bewegung (Expressionism: the struggle for a literary 
movement)— were also published in the 1960s, ^^ making it impossible to 
ignore the complex pronouncements on Expressionism that had domi- 
nated the German cultural scene from 1911 until the early 1920s. 

Interest in the social and economic context of Expres- 
sionism intensified during the late sixties and early seventies, reflecting 
in part the politicalization of many intellectuals as a result of the Vietnam 
War and the student unrest in Europe and the United States. Eva 
Kolinsky's Engagierter Expressionismus: Politik und Literatur zwischen 
Weltkrieg and Weimarer Repiiblik (Engaged Expressionism: Politics and 
literature between the First World War and the Weimar Republic) of 
1970, Richard Hamann and Jost Hermand s Expressionismus (Expres- 
sionism) of 1975, and the 1977 Berlin exhibition Wem gehort die Welt: 
Kunst und Gesellschaft in der Weimarer Republik (To whom does the 
world belong: Art and society in the Weimar Republic) have provided 
much information on the political conditions that spawned Expressionism 
and led to its demise.^** Although Kolinsky, Hamann and Hermand, and 
the organizers of the Berlin exhibition displayed great interest in the 
Expressionists' Utopian visions, as Marxist art historians they (with vary- 
ing degrees of intensity) ultimately condemned Expressionism for lacking 
a clear commitment to a specific political ideology. Their provocative ex- 
plorations contributed nonetheless to the shift away from the towering 
figures of the early Expressionist years. 

The trend to examining several generations of Expres- 
sionists in a political and social context has been evident in much of the 
research in England and the United States in the past twelve years. Peter 
Guenther's assessment in his catalogue German Expressionism: Totvard a 
New Humanism (1977) was strongly influenced by the work of Raabe and 
other German scholars. ^^ The publication in 1977 of O. P. Reed's cata- 
logue German Expressionist Art: The Robert Gore Rifkind Collection, 
which accompanied an exhibition at the University of California, Los An- 
geles, brought the Los Angeles collector's extensive holdings of Expres- 
sionist prints and periodicals, which encompass a broad spectrum of art- 
ists, to the attention of a wider public. ^^ The Rifkind collection has been 
the most significant resource for several West Coast exhibitions that have 
focused on the absorption of Expressionism in German artistic circles 
after 1914. The English critic John Willet, building on his earlier study of 
Expressionism, published the encyclopedic Art and Politics in the Wei- 
mar Period: The New Sobriety, 1917-1933 in 1978." The collection of 
essays Passion and Rebellion: The Expressionist Heritage, edited by Ste- 
phen Eric Bronner and Douglas Kellner and published in 1983, em- 
phasizes the role of Expressionism as a reaction to German culture and 
politics. ^^ Following the Blochian tradition, many of the essays view 
Expressionism as a rebellion against German industrialism as well as the 
mores of established society. 

The clearest discussion of the political and social con- 
ditions that radicalized many Expressionist artists after the war, causing 
them to link their avant-garde style of art with the politics of the young 
Weimar Republic, is presented in Ida Rigby's 1983 catalogue for the exhi- 

195 Long 

bition An alle Kiinstler! War— Revolution— Weimar at the University Gal- 
lery of San Diego State University. Building from several studies of the 
radical groups that sprang up after the war,'** Rigby's essay clarifies which 
critics tied Expressionism to socialism and why many artists and critics 
were for a short while determined to politicize all artistic efforts. Draw- 
ing on the resources of the Rifkind collection, she examined the Utopian 
themes and aggressively truncated styles used by artists such as Felix- 
miiller, Constantin von Mitschke-Collande, and Pechstein to express 
their euphoric hopes for the new republic and their eventual disappoint- 
ment with it. Rigby's catalogue also introduces the question of why inter- 
est in Expressionism declined in the early twenties. Her discussion of the 
critic Hans Friedenberg's 1919 analysis of why the new art was not involv- 
ing the masses points to one of the reasons why politically active artists 
began to reject Expressionism, calling it elitist.*"* 

Although the Noi-wegian art historian Marit Werenskiold 
does not deal directly with these intertwinings of E.xpressionism, social- 
ism, and brotherhood after the First World War, her book The Concept of 
Expressionism: Origin and Metamorphoses (1984) also examines how 
Expressionism originally gained such an extensive hold upon German 
intellectual life and theory. Werenskiold discusses the national and inter- 
national currents that combined to create the impact Expressionism 
would have on German cultural life. Using contemporary reviews to pin- 
point when the Briicke and Blaue Reiter artists and others were first 
called Expressionisten, she explains how the concept of Expressionism 
came from English theoretical writings and French painting. ^^ She then 
traces how this international concept came to have such strong nationalist 
implications in the writings of Fechter and other supporters of the new 
art. Although she does not examine the political and social views of the 
critics who wrote about Expressionism or investigate their reactions to 
the increasing industrialism and materialism of their age (which led them 
to celebrate a style emphasizing purity, simplicity, and the primeval), her 
book offers a description of the complex play of sentiments used to defend 
the new art in Germany. Roy F. Allen's dissertation, published in 1983 as 
Literary Life in German Expressionism and the Berlin Circles,^^ is a use- 
ful complement to Werenskiold's book. His reconstruction of the interre- 
lationships among artists, writers, editors, and the publishers of the many 
literary journals that influenced the reception of Expressionism in Ger- 
many is a rich resource. 

The perimeters of Expressionism have been more clearly defined by 
many of these recent studies. Expressionism is no longer viewed as the 
mythic creation of a few critics or rejected as a false concept. It is also no 
longer separated from the cultural conditions that gave it its particular 
character. The complexity of its Utopian goals and the variations in its 
antinaturalist formulations are no longer interpreted as proof that it did 
not exist. Nonetheless the expectation that Expressionism should have 
changed society, transformed its values, has led it to be judged by a dif- 
ferent set of criteria than French art has been. As a result, numerous areas 
remain open for investigation. 

196 Long 

The complex utopianism of Expressionism needs much 
more study. Too often those artists who explored mystical and occult texts 
have been viewed in opposition to those who looked to political solutions 
for change or who sought a liberated sexuality as the basis for transforming 
their generation. This type of polarization obscures the fact that many 
Expressionist artists explored a variety of options outside mainstream 
political, religious, philosophical, sexual, and artistic thought in their 
search for alternatives to the repressive culture of the Wilhelmine em- 
pire. For example, the pioneering abstractionist Kandinsky studied theo- 
sophical and anarchistic texts as part of his effort to transform society. ^^ 
The architect Bruno Taut and the poet Paul Scheerbart, both part of the 
Sturm circle around 1912, were also interested in mysticism and an- 
archism.*''* The Dada artists Hugo Ball, founder of the Cabaret Voltaire in 
Zurich, and Raoul Hausmann, well known for his denunciations of 
Expressionism, both studied mystical and anarchistic books. ^^ Investiga- 
tions of the overlapping groups^^ dedicated to exploring alternatives 
(whether the psychology of Sigmund Freud and Otto Gross, the occultism 
of Helena Blavatsky and Rudolph Steiner, the mysticism of Jakob Bohme, 
or the communism of the new Soviet Union) could help to explain further 
the Expressionist artists' commitment to unconventional forms that they 
hoped would shock their contemporaries into reexamining their accep- 
tance of established values. Such investigations would also help illuminate 
the links between Expressionism and Dada, which the artists of the Dada 
generation so vehemently denied. 

To understand why Expressionism, with its Utopian, 
antimaterialist, antinaturalistic tendencies, was so quickly accepted by a 
small group of intellectuals, museum curators, gallery owners, and pa- 
trons of the arts in Germany, investigation of their philosophical goals, 
education, and socioeconomic backgrounds would be very enlightening. 
Although some patrons of the arts, such as Karl Ernst Osthaus,^^ have 
been the subjects of studies, others, including Rosa Schapire and Gustav 
Schiefler,^* both supporters of the Briicke, and Bernard Kohler, a sup- 
porter of the Blaue Reiter, have not been thoroughly investigated. Stud- 
ies of museum personnel such as Hugo von Tschudi, director of the Bavar- 
ian State Museum, and Gustav F. Hartlaub, curator and then director of 
the Kunsthalle Mannheim, could reveal the reasons behind their fascina- 
tion with Expressionism. Since gallery owners such as Walden^^ played a 
significant role in the acceptance of Expressionism in Germany, further 
studies of Walden and I. B. Neumann, among others, should be contem- 
plated. The publishers and editors of major periodicals, for example, 
Franz Pfemfert oiDie Aktion (Action)™ and Paul Westheim of Das Kiinst- 
blatt (The art paper), '^i should be carefully noted, as they often worked 
in collaboration with the artists and poets whose work was included in 
their journals. 

The relationship of Expressionism to modern move- 
ments in other European countries is another of the many areas that need 
more thorough study. For example. Expressionist artists have been de- 
scribed as creating a melange of Cubism and Futurism, especially in 
works done during the war and immediately afterward. To evaluate this 
interpretation, it would be important to understand how French Cubism 




Cover of Richard Huelsenbeck, 

£i! avant Dada Die Geschichte 

des Dadauiitius , 1920 

83- 1-343 



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Fnturismus. Brnitismus. 

^enfationeffe (Bntpffungen: 

Die Praktiken der 


6U{^ JC«vvt, 

Her Kaiser 
dc €0. 

©er (Be^eim* 

3>ie SP^'^""Sr 
der ffeisfiffen 
auf dem j>ots- 
damer j>laiz> 

Dadaist kann 
jeder werden. 




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gftitnouer / fietpjtg 

M^ Das 
. A/^ simuliane 

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^errn picabia. 


Ober - dada. 

Dada in alien Welt 

In 2)te§ben, 
5prtt(i, Sonbott, 

Wie ware es mit 
einem Schnaps? 



Das Cabaret Voltaire. 

Z)3€ C^ng(£H3 2j[, 

HanSArp. Hugo Ball. Tristan Szara. 

die wolkenpumpe. 

ANNA BLUME. fic^tc Sotterung. 


DADA das Holzpferdchen. \j, 

®ie (|Cat^ebrAfe. Seknnde dnrcli Mirn. 


Das witzigste Bach iiber erusthafte Binge 

and Italian Futurism were received by German intellectuals before and 
during the war. The writings of the critics Adolf Behne and Theodor 
Daubler are central to this issue. Both tended to see Cubism as part of 
Expressionism since they viewed Expressionism as an attitude or 
approach and not as a specific stylistic direction. Behne, for example, 
stated in a speech published in December 1914 in Der Sturm: "Expres- 
sionism designates the goal. Modern art wants to be an art of expression. 
Cubism is the language used by many, not all Expressionists.'"''- Given 
Behne's internationalist and socialist leanings, it is not surprising that he 
would interpret the multiplicity of Expressionism's origins, its receptive- 
ness to stylistic influences from other countries, as proof of its power to 




Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880- 193S 
Strassenszene nach deni Regen, 


(Street scene after a shower) 


10% X 10 in. (27.3 X 25.4 cm) 

M. 82.288.121 

Davis 1461 


transcend national boundaries. Daubler saw Cubism and Futurism as 
contributing to simultaneity, which he interpreted as the essence of Ex- 
pressionism.'''^ Although Daubler and Behne were not systematic think- 
ers, their willingness to view Cubism as part of E.xpressionism would have 
encouraged German artists, particularly those with internationalist and 
pacifist sentiments, to adopt aspects of Cubism for their own purposes, 
creating a style that could be called Cubo-Expressionism. 

A study of other visual alternatives to the outworn con- 
ventions of academic art and their cultural significance would also add 
much depth to our understanding of Expressionism. Gordon's 1984 sur- 
vey of Expressionism and primitive art gives some indication of the 
significance tribal art had for the Expressionists.''''* A history of the Expres- 
sionist fascination with the Gothic is long overdue. It should include 
Worringer's apotheosis of Gothic art as a sign of the metaphysical 
sensibility of the northern European artist as well as Gropius's adoption of 
a name derived from the medieval term for building guild, Bauhiltte, for 
his new school for all the arts, the Bauhaus.'''^ Scholars should also explore 
the interest in children's art shared by many Expressionists. A 1985 cata- 
logue of the collection of the drawings of German mental patients assem- 
bled by the art historian and physician Hans Prinzhorn documents other 
alternative visual sources available to artists emerging at the end of the 



Expressionist era. An essay from that catalogue by Sander L. Gilman 
presents some of the theories that allowed enlightened psychoanalysts 
and artists to regard certain drawings of the mentally ill as evidence of 
artistic talent. '''^ Mentioning a 1922 monograph on the drawings of the 
schizophrenic Adolf Wolfli, which followed art-historical principles, 
Gilman suggests that Hitler's resentment of his failure as an artist may 
have been intensified by a climate of opinion that glorified the work of the 
insane rather than his own type of work.'^'^ Gilman reminds us that Hitler 
began to associate communism, the Jew, the madman, and the artist in 
the early 1920s, and he indirectly suggests that the enlightened liberalism 
of Weimar Germany ironically bears some responsibility for its entropic 
decline. Future examiners of Expressionism should consider the implica- 
tions of making Expressionism the scapegoat for Germany's acceptance of 
National Socialism. 

The relatively few women who achieved recognition for 
their work in Germany during this period are yet another area for explora- 
tion. While the names of a few— Kathe Kollwitz, Paula Modersohn-Becker, 
and Gabriele Miinter— are well known, investigations of societal attitudes 
toward women in Germany before and during the First World War would 
reveal the difficult conditions under which these and other women artists 
labored. In Berlin, for example, women could not attend the school of 
fine arts, although they could enroll in the school of applied and deco- 
rative arts.^* A study of the various educational institutions available to 


George Grosz 

Germany, iS93-i959 

Eheszene, 1916 

(Domestic scene) 

Offset lithograph 

8'/8 X 8'/i6 in. (20.6 X 20.5 cm) 

From Ecce Homo 

83- 1- 73' 63 

Davis 952.63 





Ludwig Meidner 

Geniiiiiiy, 1S84-1966 

Untitled (man running from 

town), 1918 


8'/i6 X 6 in. (20.5 X 15.2 cm) 

From Ludwig Meidner, 


83- 1- 155 c 

Davis 1927.3 

artists, whether male or female, during the period might uncover further 
links among those artists who chose Expressionist experimentation over 
adherence to academic conventions. 

Critics may have claimed that Expressionism was dead as 
early as 1919, but the attacks of the National Socialists and the Commu- 
nists indicate that Expressionism still represented a significant force in 
German cultural life into the 1930s. Scholars also need to examine the 
role Expressionism played in German intellectual life in the 1920s and 
1930s. The absorption of Expressionist artists into established Weimar 
institutions and art schools should be explored. Kokoschka's appointment 
in 1919 to the Dresdner Akademie (Dresden academy) and Pechstein's 
nomination to the Preussische Akademie der Kiinste (Prussian academy 
of arts) in 1922'''^ are a few examples of the integration of the former avant- 
garde into Weimar society. At the Weimar Bauhaus ties to Expressionism 
were quite evident not only in Gropius's Utopian goal of integrating all the 
arts'*** but also in the number of painters with Expressionist links whom 
he appointed to the faculty. Johannes Itten, Kandinsky, Klee, Oskar 
Schlemmer, and Lothar Schreyer continued to perpetuate many of the 
visionary, internationalist, antinaturalist goals of Expressionism. Scholars 
have pointed to the influence of Expressionist ideas on the theories of 
Gropius and Taut.^'Taut's use of color in architecture is reported to have 
been strengthened by his knowledge of Kandinsky s experiments with 
color before the First World War*^ Other architects should also be exam- 
ined in relation to Expressionism. 

The relationship of Expressionist paintings to the more 
representational works of the twenties also needs examination. Exhibi- 
tions such as Hartlaub's Neue Sachlichkeit: Deutsche Malerei seit dem 
Expressionismus (New objectivity: German painting since Expression- 
ism),*^ prepared for the Kunsthalle Mannheim in 1925, and books such as 
Franz Roh's Nach-Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus: Probleme der 
neiiesten europdischen Malerei (Post-Expressionism: Magical realism; 
Problems of recent European painting), published in 1925, used Expres- 
sionism as a foil for contemporary directions in painting. Roll's list of more 
than fifteen stylistic traits, which he used to differentiate Neue Sachlich- 
keit works from Expressionist ones, could be a basis for an analysis of the 
paintings chosen for both his book and Hartlaub's exhibition.*-* 

If Roh's analysis of possible stylistic categories might be 
used to examine the multiple directions within Expressionism's antina- 
turalism, a compilation of common themes in Expressionist art might also 
be helpful. Representations of urban life are common in Expressionist 
works. Reinhard Heller's essay "The City Is Dark" discusses Kirchner's 
and other artists' street scenes (see fig. 248) as reflecting their predomi- 
nantly negative attitude toward urban life.*^ Future historians might 
examine the degree to which other artists in Kirchner's circle and in the 
groups that arose after the war reveal similar attitudes.*^ Both Beth Lewis 
in her study of Grosz and Brigit Barton in her study of Dix have analyzed 
the satirical interpretations these artists brought to their morbid views of 
city life (see fig. 249).'*''' Barton traces Dix's use of the prostitute, the psy- 
chopathic sexual murderer, the maimed, and the cripple from his Expres- 
sionist period to the works of the Neue Sachlichkeit. Some of Barton's 



Constantin von Mitschke-Collande 

Germany, 1S84-1956 

Der begeisterte Weg, 1919 

(The inspired way) 


iSVs X 11% in. (34.0 X 29.8 cm) 

From portfolio Der begeisterte 


M. 82,288. 211 a 

Davis 2008. 1 

categories might be used in investigations of city themes in the work of 
other artists of the Expressionist generation. Depictions of factory hfe as 
well as of general street life and outcasts of society should be examined. 

The writings of the sociologist Georg Simmel, who lec- 
tured on the inherent conflicts between the individual and social institu- 
tions to a generation of students before the war,** should also be re- 
viewed. The Nietzschean call for a transformation of values needs a more 
thorough and systematic study if Nietzsche's influence on artists of the 
period is to become more than a brief footnote in the surveys of Expres- 
sionism. In addition the concepts of Freud and other psychosexual theo- 
reticians might be viewed as reinforcing many artists' sense of repression 
and stagnation. Exploration of the sociological, philosophical, and psy- 
chological as well as political theoreticians who may have influenced the 
dark views of life in the Wilhelmine Empire and the Weimar Republic 
could provide rich material for an investigation of the urban themes and 
motifs in Expressionist art. 

Conversely examination of the Utopian landscapes of the 
Expressionists would provide much information about the idealistic vi- 
sions of many of the artists associated with Expressionism. From the care- 
free nudes in exotic settings of the Briicke^^ to the pastel paradises of 




Conrad Felixmuller 

Germany, 1897-1977 
Untitled (the injection), c. 1917 
Reproduction of a drawing 
7% X sYis in. (19.4 X 13.2 cm) 
From Walter Rheiner, Kohain 
L. 84. 5. 337; lent by the Robert 
Gore Rifkind Collection, 
Beverly Hills, California 

Kandinsky,^" from the flowerlike diagrams of Taut's Utopian cities®' to 
Mitschke-Collande's images of revolutionary fervor (see fig. 251),®^ hope- 
ful solutions to the disharmony of urban industrial life abound. 

Many Expressionist painters illustrated poems and nov- 
els that emphatically convey the dramatic contradictions of life during the 
era of Expressionism. Felixmiiller's illustrations for Walter Rheiner's 
novel Kokain (Cocaine; see fig. 252), Ludwig Meidner's illustrations for 
his book Septemberschrei (September cry; see fig. 250), and Kandinsky's 
prints accompanying publications of his poetry are but a few of the many 
graphic cycles that would enrich such an investigation.®^ Many of the 
Expressionists wrote essays and were on intimate terms with the poets 
and critics around them. For example, Franz Marc greatly admired the 
Expressionist poet Else Lasker-Schiiler,®^ who was Walden's first wife. 
Much could be learned from a study of these overlapping relationships. 

Further research might also be focused on the paradox 
suggested by the oppositions of city and country, decay and paradise, that 
dominated the works of Expressionism. From the very beginning artists 
associated with Expressionism sought themes and styles that would star- 
tle the viewer. They attacked not only the conventions of art but also the 
conventions of a society they found materialistic and dehumanizing. At 
the same time they longed to inspire the great mass of the people to work 
for the greater good of mankind. The first generation often sought a vision 
of a better society in occult and mystical tracts, while the second genera- 
tion, inspired by the revolutions in Russia, believed a different political 
system would lead to greater benefits for all. Yet, despite this hopeful 
vision, the antinaturalism that was to spur change met with resistance 
from the very classes the artists wished to inspire. The paradox of finding 
a style that would not repeat the past, that would reflect its own time, and 
yet would lead to the future was part of the Expressionist ethos. Future 
scholars of Expressionism ought not to forget this commitment to change 
if they are going to give the phenomenon of Expressionism in the visual 
arts its long-overdue reevaluation. 

December iq86 




1 George Heard Hamilton, Paint- 
ing and Sculpture in Europe: 
iS8o-ig40. rev. ed. (Harmonds- 
worth: Penguin Books, 1972), 

p. 180. 

2 William Rubin, ed., "Primitiv- 
ism" in Twentieth-Century Art, 
2 vols., exh. cat. (Nevi' York: 
Museum of Modern Art. 1984). 

3 Some of these recent studies are 
discussed below. 

4 See [Levis Corinth] "'Vorvvort," 
Berlin Secession (iQii), pp. 9-12, 
for the first reference in Germany 
to the painters of Matisse's circle 
as Expressionists. For a survey of 
the use of the terms Expres- 
sionisten and Expressionismus in 
Germany, see Marit Werenskiold, 
The Concept of Expressionism: 
Origin and Metamorphoses (Oslo: 
Universitetsforlaget, 1984); Victor 
H. Miesel, "The Term Expres- 
sionism in the Visual Arts 
(1911-1920)," in The Uses of His- 
tory, ed. Hayden White (Detroit; 
Wayne State University Press, 
1968), pp. 135-51' 

5 See, for example, Paul Klee, 
"Die Ausstellung des Modernen 
Bundes im Kunsthaus Zurich," 
Die Alpen 12 (August 1912): 
606-704, reprinted in English 
translation in Rose-Carol 
Washton Long, ed.. Sources and 
Documents of German Expres- 
sionism {Boston: G. K. Hall, 

6 The sculptor Ernst Barlach, for 
example, was referred to as an 
Expressionist late in 1911; see, for 
example, Walter Heymann, "Ber- 
liner Sezession, 1911," Der Sturm 
2, no. 68(1911): 543. For 
Barlach's rejection of the term, 
see "Letter to Reinhard Piper" 
(Giistrow, December 28, 1911), in 
Voices of German Expressionism, 
ed. Victor H, Miesel (Englewood 
Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall. 1970), 
P- 95- 

7 Although the focus is on Ex- 
pressionism and literature, the 
anthology Expressionismus: 
Manifeste und Dokumente zur 
deutschen Literatur, 1910-1920, 
ed. Thomas Anz and Michael 
Stark (Stuttgart: J. B. Metz- 
lersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 
1982), contains a good selection of 
manifestos and documents related 
to the visual arts. The forthcom- 
ing volume Sources and Docu- 

ments of German Expressionism 
(see note 5) includes a number of 
these manifestos in addition to 
letters and other essays in English 

8 Although the term Expressio- 
nisten did not come into vogue in 
Germany until 1911, artists in 
that country had experimented 
before that date with intensified 
colors and distorted forms and 
spaces, qualities that created the 
complex tensions that began to be 
associated with Expressionism in 
1911. By 1908 artists from Ma- 
tisse's circle had exhibited in 
Dresden, and Pechstein and Kan- 
dinsky had returned from Paris, 
where they saw Matisse s work. 
By 1910 Pechstein and Kirchner 
of the Briicke and Kandinsky and 
Jawlensky of the Neue Kiinstler- 
vereinigung were exhibiting with 
artists from Matisses circle in the 
Diisseldorf Sonderbund. More- 
over Matisse's "Notizen eines 
Malers," with its emphasis on 
"expression" (translated as Aus- 
druck), was published in Kunst 
und Kiinstler 7, no. 8 (1909): 336, 
339. For a discussion of the term 
Ausdruckskunst and its relation- 
ship to the acceptance of the term 
Expressionismus in Germany, see 
Ron Mannheim. "Expressionis- 
mus: Zur Entstehung eines kunst- 
historischen Stil— in Perioden- 
begriffes, " Zeitschrift fitr Kunst- 
geschichte 1 (1986): 73-91. 

9 Many articles were written about 
the death of Expressionism in the 
early twenties, yet a new genera- 
tion of Expressionists was popu- 
larized in journals, and both gen- 
erations were the subject of an 
increasing number of monographs 
during that decade. Moreover the 
full effect of Expressionist ideas 
was not felt in theater and film un- 
til the early twenties. See, for 
example, Ulrich Gregor, "Film in 
Berlin, " and Arno Paul, "The- 
ater." in Berlin, 1910-IQ22' ed. 
Eberhard Roters et al. (New York: 
Rizzoli, 1982), pp. 174-85, 
208-24. See also Rudolf Kurtz, 
Expressionismus und Fihn (Ber- 
lin: Verlag der Lichtbildbiihne, 
1926; reprint, Zurich, 1965), 

p. 65ff. 

10 For a brief survey of some of the 
arguments used by the early 
supporters of Expressionism, see 
Werenskiold, Concept of Expres- 
sionism, pp. 38-53; Peter Selz, 
Gerjnan Expressionist Painting 

(Berkeley and Los Angeles: Uni- 
versity of California Press, 1957), 
pp. 316-17. 

11 See Adolf Behne, "Deutsche 
Expressionisten: Vortrag zur 
Eroffnung der neuen Sturm- 
Ausstellung, ' Der Sturm 5, 
no. 17/18 (1914): 114-15; Paul 
Fechter, Der Expressionismus 
(Munich: R. Piper & Co., 1914)- 
Behne's outlook was, however, 
much more internationalist than 
Fechter's, as is discussed below. 

12 See Car! Vinnen, ed.. Ein Protest 
deutscher Kiinstler (Jena: Eugen 
Diederichs, 1911). 

13 Wilhelm Worringer, "Zur 
Entwicklungsgeschichte der 
modernen Malerei, " Der Sturm 

2, no. 75(1911): 597-98- 

14 Wilhelm Worringer, Kiinstle- 
rische Zeitfragen (Munich: Hugo 
Bruckmann, 1921), pp. 19-20. 
This essay was presented as a lec- 
ture in Munich in October 1920. 
An earlier essay on a similar sub- 
ject, "Kritische Gedanken zur 
neuen Kunst," was also presented 
as a lecture in Cologne in March 
igigiGenius 1, no. 2 [1919]: 

pp. 221-36). 

15 Wilhelm Hausenstein, Die 
bildende Kunst der Gegenwart 
(Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags- 
Anstalt, 1914), chaps. 13 and 14, 
pp. 262-309. 

16 Wilhelm Hausenstein, "Was ist 
Expressionismus," Der neue Mer- 
kur:i, no. 10/11 (1919): 119-25- 
For a selection of other essays 
with similar critiques, see Paul 
Raabe, ed., ExpressionisTUUS: 
Der Kampf um eine liierarische 
Beu;egung (Munich: Deutscher 
Taschenbuch Verlag, 1965), 

pp. 171-86. 

17 Richard Huelsenbeck et al., "Da- 
daistisches Manifest, ' in Dada 
Almanach (Berlin, 1920); trans- 
lated by Ralph Mannheim as 
"Collective Dada Manifesto," in 
Robert Motherwell, ed.. The 
Dada Painters and Poets: An 
Anthology (Boston: G. K. Hall, 
1981), p. 244. 

18 See Max Nordau, Degeneration 
{1892; English edition. New York: 
Howard Fertig, 1968), pp. 27, 

19 Paul Schultze-Nauniburg, Kunst 
und Basse, 4th ed, (Munich: J. F. 
Lehmanns Verlag, 1942), espe- 
cially pp. 111-28. 

20 For a discussion of the term 
Kuhur-bolschewisinus , see Istvan 
Deak, Weimar Gerinany's Left- 
Wing Intellectuals: A Political 
History of the Weltbiihne and Its 
Circle (Berkeley and Los Angeles: 
University of California Press, 
1968). pp. 1-5. 

21 See Ida Katherine Rigby, An alle 
Kiinstler! War— Revolution — 
Weimar: German Expressionist 
Prints, Drawings, Posters, and 
Periodicals from the Robert Gore 
Rifkind Foundation, exh. cat. 
(San Diego: San Diego State Uni- 
versity Press. 1983), p. 2; Roy F 
Allen, Literary Life in German 
Expressionism and the Berlin Cir- 
cles (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI 
Research Press. 1983), pp. 47-49; 
Miesel, Voices, pp. 189-211. 

22 Foralist of artists whose work was 
considered degenerate by the Na- 
zis, see Franz Rob, "Entartete" 
Kunst: Ku7}stbarbarei iin dritten 
Reich (Hannover: Fackeltrager- 
Veriag, 1952). 

23 The guide to the 1937 Munich 
exhibition Entartete Kunst is re- 
printed ibid.; see facsimile, p. 16. 

24 In addition to ibid., see Paul 
Ortwin Rave, Kunst Diktatur 
im dritten Reich (Hamburg: 
Gebriider Mann Verlag, 1949). 
For the non-German reader, the 
first three chapters of Berthold 
Hinz, Art in the Third Reich, 
trans. Robert Kimber and Rita 
Kimber (New York: Pantheon 
Books, 1979), first published in 
Munich in 1974, give a clear 
introduction to this material. 

25 Many of the numerous articles on 
the topic are reprinted in Hans- 
Jurgen Schmitt, ed.. Die Expres- 
sionismusdebatte: Materialien 

zu einer Marxistischen Realis- 
muskonzeption (Frankfurt am 
Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1973), 
PP- 337-38- 

26 Georg Lukacs, " 'Grosse und 
Vertair des E.xpressionisnius," 
Internationale Literatur 1 (1934), 
translated by David Ternback as 
"Expressionism: Its Significance 
and Decline," in Rodney Living- 
stone, ed., Georg Lukacs: Essays 
on Realism (Cambridge: MIT 
Press, 19S0). pp, 77-113. 

27 Ernst Bloch, "Diskussionen iiber 
Expressionismus," Das Wort 3, 
no. 6 (1938), translated by Rodney 
Livingstone as "Discussing 
Expressionism," in Aesthetics and 

Po/ifics (London: NLB, 1977), 
pp. 16-59. 

28 See Schmitt, Expressionismusde- 
batte. An English translation of 
Klaus Berger's essay "Das Erbe 
des Expressionismus," Das Wort 
2, no. 2 (1938), appears in Miesel, 
Voices, pp. 204-6. 

29 Franz Schonauer, "Expressionis- 
mus und Faschismus: Eine Dis- 
kussion aus dem Jahre 1938," 
pt. 2, Literatur und Kritik 8 
(November 1966): 45-46. 

30 Schonauer, "Expressionismus 
und Faschismus," pt. 1, Literatur 
und Kritik 7 (October 1966): 

31 Schonauer, "Expressionismus 
und Faschismus," pt. 2, 

PP- 45-55- 

32 Stephen Eric Bronner, "Expres- 
sionism and Marxism: Toward 
an Aesthetic of Emancipation," 
in Passion and Rebellion: The 
Expressionist Heritage, ed. Ste- 
phen Eric Bronner and Douglas 
Kellner (South Hadley, Mass.: 

J. F. Bergin. 1983), pp. 411-53 

33 Ibid., p. 415. 

34 Wolfgang Pehnt, Expressionist 
Architecture, trans. J. A. 
Underwood and Edith Kustner 
{London: Thames & Hudson, 
1979), pp. 206-7; originally pub- 
lished as Expresstonistische 
Architektu r (Stutigjurt Gerd 
Hatje. 1973). For further com- 
ments on Pehnt's point of view, 
see Rosemarie Haag Bletter, 
"Expressionism and the New 
Objectivity," Art Journal 43, 

no. 2(1983): 109-10. 

35 Wolfgang Rothe, "Expressionism 
in Literature, ' in Christos M. 
Joachimedes et al., eds., German 
Art in the Twentieth Century, 
(London: Royal Academy of Arts, 
1985). P- 99- 

36 Paul Raabe has stated that these 
attacks delayed the revival of 
interest in Expressionism; see 
Expressionismus: Der Kampf, 

p. 228. In "On the Rediscovery of 
Expressionism as a European 
Movement.' Modern Germanic 
Studies 2, no. 2 (1976): 201-2, 
Raabe suggests that Lukacs "s 
dislike of anarchism also contrib- 
uted to the direction of his attack. 
See also Miesel, Voices, p. 182. 



37 See Wolfgang Paulsen, Expressio- 
nisjnits iind Aktivismus (Bern and 
Leipzig: Gotthelf Verlag, 1935), 
especially pp. 13-15- 

38 See Selz, German Expressionist 
Painting; Bernard S. Myers, The 
German Expressionists: A Gen- 
eration in Revolt (New York: 
Praeger, 1957). 

39 Lothar-Giinther Buchheim, The 
Graphic Art of German Expres- 
sionism (New York: Universe 
Books, i960). 

40 See, for example, Rose-Carol 
Washton Long, "Expressionism, 
Abstraction, and the Search for 
Utopia in Germany," in The Spiri- 
tual in Art: Abstract Painting, 
iSgo-igS^, exh. cat. (Los An- 
geles: Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, 1986), 

pp. 201-17. 

41 See, for example, Hellmut Leh- 
mann-Haupt, Art under a Dicta- 
torship (1954, reprint. New York: 
Octagon Books, 1973), pp. 

42 Donald E. Gordon, "On the Ori- 
gin of the Word 'Expressionism,' " 
Journal of the Warburg and 
Courtauld Institutes 29 (1966): 


43 In the introduction to Expression- 
ism: Art and Idea (New Haven 
and London: Yale University 
Press, 1987), Gordon explained 
that he had reevaluated his earlier 
approach and now believed that 
there might be some "common 
denominator" linking different 
aspects of Expressionism (see 

p. w). Nonetheless he main- 
tained that Expressionist art 
theory had little relevance to the 
art (see p. iSsff )- 

44 See notes 4 and 8- 

45 See Fechter, Expressionismus, 
pp. 28-29. 

46 For example, Gordon quoted the 
following statement'from 
Fechter s essay out of context: 
"Expressionism puts the accent 
essentially upon the experience of 
feeling and on its formulation in 
the most intensely concentrated 
manner possible" ("On the Ori- 
gin," p. 376). 

47 Ibid., p. 384. In Expressionism: 
Art and Idea, Gordon discussed 
the intellectual milieu of Expres- 
sionism in addition to its iconogra- 
phy, style, and social psychology, 
but he continued in places to refer 

to Expressionism as "subjective" 
and "emotional"; see, for exam- 
ple, pp. 69 and 185. His death 
before the completion of the 
editing of the book may explain 
some of his word usage, particu- 
larly the simplification of the com- 
plex and paradoxical term intier. 
Although the German term inner 
is often translated as "inner" or 
"internal, iJiner, like innerlich 
and Innerlichkeit, is frequently 
used to refer to the difference be- 
tween the world of appearances 
and the world of ideas, to distin- 
guish the metaphysical or cosmic 
inner world from the material 
outer world. For a brief discussion 
of some of these issues, see Rose- 
Carol Washton Long, Kandinsky 
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), 

48 Geoffrey Perkins, Contemporary 
Theory of Expressionisyn (Bern 
and Frankfurt: Herbert Lang, 
1974), pp. 24-31- 

49 Ibid., pp. 53-58. 

50 Paul Raabe, Der Aitsgang des 
Expressionismus (Biberach an 
der Riss: Wege und Gestalten, 
1966), includes the catalogue 
for the exhibition Der spate 
Expressio7iismus, 1928-1922, at 
Calerie Biberach, November- 
December 1966. 

51 See Paul Raabe, Die Zeitschhften 
und Sammlungen des litera- 
rischen Expressionisinus (Stutt- 
gart: J. B. Metzlersche Verlags- 
buchhandlung, 1964); idem. 
Index Expressionismus, 18 vols. 
(Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus 
Thomson, 1972). 

52 See Paul Raabe and Ludwig 
Greve, eds., Expressionismus: 
Lite ratur und Kunst , 1920-1923. 
exh. cat. (Marbach: Schiller 
Nationalmuseum. i960). 

53 See Paul Portner, ed., Litera- 
tur-Revolution, 1920-1925: 
Dokumente—Manifeste— Pro- 
gramme, 2 vols. (Neuwied am 
Rhein: Hermann Luchterhand, 
1960—61); Dieter Schmidt, ed., 
Manifeste, Manifeste, 2905-2933 
(Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 
1965); Raabe, Expressionismus: 
Der Kampf. 

54 See Eva Kolinsky, Engagierter 
Expressionismus: Politik und 
Literatur zwischen Weltkneg und 
Weimarer Repubiik (Stuttgart: J- 
B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhand- 
lung, 1970), Richard Hamann and 
Jost Hermand, Expressionismus 

(Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1975); 
Neue Gesellschaft fiir bildende 
Kunst, Wem gehort die Welt: 
Kunst und Gesellschaft in der 
Weimarer Repubiik, exh. cat. 
(Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft fiir 
bildende Kunst, 1977)- 

55 Peter Guenther, GermaJi Expres- 
sionism: Toivard a New Human- 
ism, exh. cat. (Houston: Sarah 
Campbell Blaffer Gallery, 1977)- 

56 Orrel P. Reed, German Expres- 
sionist Art: The Robert Gore 
Rifkind Collection, exh. cat. (Los 
Angeles: Frederick S. Wight Art 
Gallery, University of California, 
1977). Awareness of the number 
of artists and media associated 
with the Expressionist tradition 
was further expanded when 
Stephanie Barron organized the 
exhibition German Expressionist 
Sculpture for the Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art in 1983. 

57 John Willet, Art and Politics in 
the Weimar Period: The New 
Sobriety, 1917-1933 (New York: 
Pantheon, 1978). 

58 See Bronner and Kellner, Passion 
and Rebellion. 

59 See Manfred Schlosser, ed., 
Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, Berlin, 
IQ18-1921, exh. cat. (BerHn: 
Akademie der Kiinste, 1980); 
Helga Kliemann, Die Novem- 
bergruppe (Berlin: Gebriider 
Mann Verlag, 1969); Fritz Loffler, 
Emilio Bertonati, and Joachim 
Heusinger von Waldegg, 
Dresdner Sezession, 2929-1923, 
exh. cat. (Munich and Milan: 
Galleria del Levante, 1977)- 

60 Rigby, An alle Kitnstler, pp. 35-37. 

61 See Werenskiold, Concept of 
Expressionisiti, especially pp. 
35-50. In Expressionism: Art and 
Idea, Gordon posits that the term 
was first used by Antonin 
Matejcek in the introduction to 
the catalogue for a 1910 exhibition 
in Prague; see pp. 175-76. 

62 See Allen, Literary Life. 

63 See Rose-Carol Washton Long, 
"Occultism, Anarchism, and 

Abstraction: Kandinsky s Art of 
the Future," Ar/yourna/ 46, no. 1 

(1987). pp. 38-45' 

64 See, for example, Rosemarie 
Haag Bletter, "The Interpretation 
of the Glass Dream: Expressionist 
Architecture and the History of 
the Crystal Metaphor, '/owrno/ of 
the Society of Architectural His- 

torians ^o, no. I (1984): 20-43. 
Ian Boyd White, in Bruno Taut 
and the Architecture of Activism 
(Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- 
sity Press, 1982), stresses Taut"s 
interest in anarchism and pacifism 
but does not explore Taut's or 
Scheerbart s knowledge of 

65 See, for example, John Elder- 
field, Flight out of Time: A Dada 
Diary (New York: Viking, 1974); 
Timothy O. Benson, "Mysticism, 
Materialism, and the Machine in 
Berlin DaA^l" Art Journal ^%, 
no. 1 (1987): 46-55. 

66 See Janos Frecot, "Literatur 
zwischen Betrieb und Einsam- 
heit," Berlin um 1900, exh. cat. 
(Berlin: Akademie der Kiinste, 
1984), pp. 319-47^ 351-53' See 
also Arthur Mitzman, "An- 
archism, Expressionism, and 
Psychoanalysis," in Passion and 
Rebellion, pp. 55-81. 

67 Herta Hesse-Frielinghaus et al., 
Karl Ernst Osthaus: Leben und 
Werk, 2 vols. (Recklinghausen: 
Verlag Aurel Bongers, 1971). 

68 The letters of Gustav Schiefler 
are being prepared for publication 
by Annemarie Dube-Heynig- For 
a brief discussion of Schiefler, 
see Hans Platte, ed., Gustav 
Schiefler: Aus den Erinnerungen 
von Luise Schiefler (Hamburg: 
Hans Christians Verlag, 1965). 

69 A summary of the Walden archival 
material in the Handschriften- 
abteilung of the Staatsbibliothek 
in Berlin and a general overview 
of Walden and Der Sturm can be 
found in Georg Bruhl, Herwarth 
Walden und "Der Sturm" (Co- 
logne: DuMont Buchverlag, 1983), 
pp. 85-89. See also M. S. Jones, 
Der Sturm: A Focus of Expres- 
sionism (Colunihia, S.C.: Camden 
House, 1984). 

70 For an overview of Pfemfert and 
Die Aktion, see Paul Raabe, 
Schlusswort, in the reprint of Die 
Aktion (Munich: Kosel- Verlag, 
1967), pp. 85-89. See also Kolin- 
sky, Engagierter Expressionis- 
mus, pp. 7-35; Barbara Drygulski 
Wright, "Sublime Ambition: Art, 
Politics and Ethical Idealism in 
the Cultural Journals of German 
Expressionism," in Passion and 
Rebellion, pp. 82-112; Sylvia 
Schlenstedt, "Gruppe, Zeit- 
schrift, Verlag: Zu Lebensformen 
des literarischen Expressionis- 
mus," in Expressionisten: Die 

Avantgarde in Deutschland, 
2905-2920 (Berlin: Staatliche 
Museen Preussischer Kultur- 
besitz, 1986), pp. 37-46. 

71 See Paul Westheim, "How Das 
Kunstblatt Was Born," in The Era 
of German Expressionism, ed. 
Paul Raabe (Woodstock, N.Y.: 
Overlook Press, 1974), pp. 
201-5. ^^^ Walden's dislike of 
Westheim, see Jones, Der Sturm, 
pp. 44-46. 

72 Behne, "Deutsche 
Expressionisten, " p. 115. 

73 Theodor Daubler, Der neue 
Standpunkt (Dresden and 
Hellerau: Hellerauer Verlag, 
1916), pp. 24-25, 179-85- 

74 Donald E. Gordon, "German 

Expressionism," in Primitivism, 
pp. 369-403. See also Jill Lloyd, 
"Primitivism and Modernity," in 
Gertnan Art, pp. 105-11. 

75 The clearest expression of Worrin- 
ger's point of view appears in his 
Formprobleme der Gotik. 3d ed. 
(Munich: R. Piper & Co., 1915). 
For a discussion of Worringers 
theories and an evaluation of the 
Expressionist interest in the Gothic 
tradition, see Perkins, Contempo- 
rary Theory, pp. 47-91' 

76 Sander L. Gilman, "Madness and 
Representation: Hans Prinzhorn's 
Study of Madness and Art in Its 
Historical Context, " in The Prinz- 
horn Collection (Champaign: 
Krannert Art Museum, Univer- 
sity of Illinois, Urbana/Cham- 
paign, 1984-85), pp. 7-14. 

77 Ibid., pp. 12-13. 

78 See J. Diane Radycki, "The Life 
of Lady Art Students: Changing 
Art Education at the Turn of the 
Century," Arfyourna/ 42, no. i 
(1983): 9- 13. See also Richard J. 
Evans, "Liberalism and Society: 
The Feminist Movement and So- 
cial Change," in Society and Poli- 
tics in Wilhelmine Germany, ed, 
Richard J. Evans (London: Groom 
Helm, 1978), pp. 186-214. 

79 For an overview of the Expres- 
sionist artists who received 
appointments to academies of art 
in Germany after the war, see 
Selz, German Expressionist 
Painting, p. 317. 

80 See, for example, Walter Gro- 
pius, "Bauhaus Program" (first 
published 1919), in Hans M. 
Wingler, The Bauhaus (Cam- 
bridge: MIT Press, 1969), p. 31. 



81 See Marcel Franciscono, Walter 
Gropius and the Creation of the 
Batihaus in Weimar: The Ideals 
and Artistic Theories of Its 
Foundinf^ Years (Urbana: Univer- 
sity of Illinois Press, igji), pp. 
85-152; Rosemarie Haag Bletter, 
"Bruno Taut and Paul Scheer- 
bart's Vision: Utopian Aspects of 
German Expressionist Architec- 
ture" (Ph. D. diss. , Columbia Uni- 
versity, 1973), pp. 323-71. 
417-5I' 555-60. 

82 Bletter, 'Bruno Taut," pp. 47-49, 
78-86, 193-243. 

83 For a discussion of the Hartlaub 
exhibition and the term Neuc 
Sachlichkcii , see Jost Hermand, 
"Unity within Diversity? The His- 
tory of the Concept 'Neue Sach- 
lichkeit,' " in Culture and Society 
in the Weimar Republic, ed. Keith 
Bullivant (Manchester: Manches- 
ter University Press, 1977). pp. 
167-82. See also Peter Selz, "The 
Artist as Social Critic." and Emilio 
Bertonati, "Neue Sachlichkeit in 
a Wider Cultural Context," in 
German Realism of the Twenties: 
The Artist as Social Critic (Min- 
neapolis: Minneapolis Museum 
of Art, 19S0), pp. 32, 57-59- 

84 Franz Rob, Nach- 
Expressionismu.s: Magischer 
Realismus: Problemc dcr neuestcn 
europdischen Malerei (Leipzig: 
Klinkbardt & Biermann, 1925), 
pp. 119-20. 

85 Reinhold Heller, "The City Is 
Dark, " in Expressionism Recon- 
sidered, ed. Gertrud Bauer 
Pickar and Karl Eugene Webb 
(Munich: Wilbelm Fink Verlag, 
1979)^ PP- 43-57- 

86 See, for example, Sarah O'Brien- 
Twohig, "Beckniann and the 
City," in Max Bechnann Retro- 
spective, exh. cat., ed. Carla 
Schultz-Hoffmann and Judith C. 
Weiss (Saint Louis: Saint Louis 
Art Museum; Munich: Prestel- 
Verlag, 1984), pp. 91-109. 

87 See Beth Lewis, George Grosz: 
Art and Politics in the Wei77iar 
Rt'pHt/ic (Madison: University of 
Wisconsin Press, 1971); Bridget 
S. Barton, Otto Dix and Die neue 
Sachlichkeit, igi8~iQ25 (Ann Ar- 
bor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 

88 See, for example, Lewis Coser, 
ed., Georg Simtnel (Englewood 
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1965), 
pp. 18-26, 53-57. 

89 See, for example, C. S. Kessler, 
"Sun Worship and Anxiety," 
Magazine of Art (November 
1952): 304-12. 

90 See Rose-Carol Washton Long. 
"Kandinsky"s Vision of Utopia as a 
Garden of Love,"' Art Journal 43, 
no. 1 (1983): 50-60. 

91 For a discussion of Taut's Utopian 
aims, see Bletter, 'Interpretation 
of the Glass Dream, pp. 20-43. 

92 See Rigby, An alle Kiinstler, 
pp. 40-43. 

93 See Walter Rheiner, Kokain 
(Dresden: Dresdner Verlag, 
1917-18). which includes seven 
drawings by Felixmijiler; Ludwig 
Meidner, Septemberschrei (Ber- 
lin: Paul Cassirer Verlag, 1920); 
Wassily Kandinsky, Kldnge (Mu- 
nich: R. Piper & Co., 1913). For 
numerous other examples, see 
Paul Raabe, Die Autoren und 
Biicherdes literarischen Expres- 
sionismus (Stuttgart: J. B. Metz- 
lersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 


94 For background on the poet, see 
Erika Kliisener, Else Lasker- 
Sc/iii/er (Reinbek bei Hamburg; 
Rowohit, 1980). 


Photo Credits 

Copyright © of works illus- 
trated by the artists, their 
heirs, and assigns, except in 
the following cases: Ernst 
Barlach, Max Beckmann, 
Peter Behrens, George 
Grosz, Karl Jakob Hirsch, 
Wassily Kandinsky, Kathe 
Kollwitz, Felix Vallotton by 
VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 1989; 
Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, 
Oskar Kokoschka, Otto 
Mueller, Karl Schmidt- 
Rotduff by COSMOPRESS, 
Geneva, 1989; Otto Dix by 
Dix Erben, Baden/Switzer- 
land, Erich Heckel by 
Nachlass Erich Heckel, 
Hemmenhofen; Ernst Lud- 
wig Kirchner by Dr Wolfgang 
and Ingeborg Henze, 
Campione d'ltalia; Ludwig 
Meidner by Nachlass Ludwig 
Meidner, Darmstadt; Emil 
Nolde by Nolde Stiftung, 
Seebiill; Max Pechstein by 
Pechstein-Archiv, Hamburg; 
Oskar Schlemmer by Familie 
Schlemmer, Stuttgart. 

Works from the collection ot the Los Angeles County Museum of Art were photographed by Peter 
Brenner, Renee Carver, Jeff Conley, Barbara Lyter, Ken McKnight, and Steven Oliver All other 
illustrations not mentioned below were provided by the authors. The publishers wish to thank all those 
who have supplied photographs for this book. 

Akademie der Kiinste, Sammlung Baukunst, Berlin: p. 24, fig. 40; p. 25, fig. 42 

Anthroposophical Press; from the book The Goetheamim: p. 24, fig. 41 

Beverly Hills Public Library, Dorothi Bock Pierre Collection: pp. 30-31, fig. 51 (photos); p. 32, fig. 53 

Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Kunstgeschichtlichen Institut der Philipps-Universitat, Marburg; p. 26, 
figs. 44. 45; P- 27. fig- 47 

Milton Brown, The Story of the Armory Show (New York: Joseph H. Hirschhorn Foundation, 1963): 
p. 131, fig. 1S5 

Dance Notation Bureau, New York: pp. 30-31, figs. 51 (Labanotation), 52 

Detroit Institute of Arts, courtesy of the Museum Archives: p. 134, fig. 188 

Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich: p. 20, figs. 29, 30; p. 21, figs. 31, 32 

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston: p. 143, fig. 196 (photo: John Stuart); p. 144, fig. 197 

Kraus, Murnau: p. 101, fig. 146 

Kunstmuseum, Basel: p. 158, fig. 210 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (SMPK), Archiv: p. 69, figs. 86-88; p. 85, fig. 123 

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (SMPK); photo: Jorg P. Anders, Berlin: p. 68, fig. 85; p. 75, fig. 100; p. 82, 
fig. 116; p. 85, fig. 122; p. 94, fig. 139; p. 100, fig. 145; p. 103, fig. 151; p. 105, fig. 154; p. 108; fig. 158; 
p. 110, fig. 163 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York: p. 2, fig. 2; p. 140, fig. 192; p. 141, fig. 194; p. 146, fig. 198 

The Museum of Modern Art/ Film Stills Archives, New York: p. 22, fig. 35; p. 23, fig. 38 

Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, California: p. 139, fig. 191 

James Plant: p. 142, fig. 195 

© Cervin Robinson 1987: p. 25, fig. 43 

The Arnold Schoenberg Institute Archives, Los Angeles: p. 8, figs. 11, 12; p. 28, figs. 48, 49 

Theatermuseum des Instituts fiir Theaterwissenschaft der Universitat Koln, Cologne: p. 21, figs. 33, 34; 
p. 29, fig. 50 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Bequest of Katherine Dreier; p. 132, fig. 186 
(photo: Leslie E. Bowman) 

Frans Masereel 

Belgium, 1889-1972 

Untitled (man and buildings), 

c. 1921 


5'/s X 4'/j in. (13.0 X 10.8 cm) 

From Der Querschnitt durch 


83.1.827 a 

Davis 1853 




Page numbers for illustrations 
are in italics. 

ACHMANN, Josef, 115, 127 
Aktionsausschuss bildender 

Kiinstler, 49 
Allen, Roy F, 195 
Amiet, Cuno, 2-3, 70, 

111 n. 12 
Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, 11-13, 

24- 49. 135. 175. 183 
Arnold, Ernst, g 
Arntz, Wilhelm F., vii, xvi 
ASCH, Elisabeth, 48 
Austin, A. Everett "Chick," 

149 n. 22 
Avenarius, Ferdinand, 177 

Babbergeb, August, 21 

Ball, Hugo, 10, 115, 196 

Barbusse, Henri, 48 

Barlach, Ernst, 9-10, 32, 43, 
61, 154, 179, 186, 203 n. 6 
in Der Bildermnnn, 11, 126 
as dramatist, 19, 115 
as illustrator, 120, 121, 122, 

153. 173 
museum holdings, 140, 145 
on use of woodcut, 46 
works illustrated, 10, u, ^1, 
118, 156, 157 
Barnes, Albert C, 139 
Barnowsky, Viktor, 21 
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 140-42 

photograph, 140 
Barron, Stephanie, 148, 

204 n. 56 
Bartning, Otto, 25 
Barton, Brigit, 200-201 
Bauer, Rudolf, 124 
Baumeister, Wilh, 133 
Bebel, August, 33 
Becher, Johannes R., 4 
Bechtejeff, Vladimir, 6 
Beckmann, Max, xv, 10, 43, 67, 
99-110, 154, 176, 179, 186 
in exhibitions, 137, 140, 

144, 147, 149 n. 22 
as illustrator, 117, 120-22, 

museum holdings, 137, 140, 

143. 145 
Kramer on, 142 
in U.S., 137, 144 
and war, 44, 46, 78, 79 
works illustrated, 100-101, 

io;^~io, 121 
Beckmann-Tube, Minna, 

113 n- 99 
Beeh, Rene, 120, 122 
Behne. Adolf, 11, 12, 27, 185, 

Behrens, Peter 

work illustrated, 152 
Bekker, Paul, 30 
Bell, Clive, 133 

Belling, Rudolf, 13, 23, 27, 


Tanzkasino Skala, 2-/ 
Benn, Gottfried, 4, 117, 188 
Berg, Alban, 7, 29 

photograph and portrait of, 

Berger, Klaus, 188 
Berger, Ludwig, 20 
Bergson, Henri, 32 
Berlin Sezession, 43, 174 
Biermann, Georg, 173, 177 
Blass, Ernst, 4, 27, 116 
Blaue Reiter, 6-9, 15, 131, 

179, 184, 191, 195, 196 

in exhibitions, 7, 43, 77, 145 

and literary Expressionism, 


Schonberg and, 28 
Blavatsky, Helena, 196 
Bleyl, Fritz, 2, 67, 69, 151 

work illustrated, 6g 
Block, Albert, 6 
Block, Ernst, 187. 188 
BlCmner, Rudolf, 5 
BOCKStiegel. Peter August, 15 
Bode, Wilhelm von, 1,34 
BOH,\L Domenikus, 25 
BOkm, Gottfried, 25 
BOkme, Jakob, 196 
BoLDT. Paul, 4 
BONER, Ulrich, 116 
BooTK, Ralph H., 137 
Borngraeber, Otto, 31 
Braque, Georges, 6, 154 
Braunbekrens, Lili von, 121 
Breckt, Bertolt, 97, 188 
Britting, Georg, 115, 127 
Bronnen, Arnolt, 20 
Bronner, Stephen Eric, 188, 

BrCcke, 31, 85, 131, 179, 184, 
191. 195. 196. 201 
and Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, 11 
and Der blaue Reiter, 7, 8 
book illustration by mem- 
bers of, 117-20 
exhibition catalogues, 173, 

in exhibitions, 9, 15, 145 
history of. 2-4, 67-78 
and Matisse circle, 203 n. 8 
and Munch, 111 n. 17 
and literary life, 116, 117 
portfolios issued by, 60, 67, 

printmaking revival, 40, 

41-43, 52-58 
Walden publishes work of, 

BUCHHEIM, Lothar-Giinther, 
"v, 155. 191 

Buchheister, Carl, 133 

BCCHNER, Georg, 29 

Burchartz, Max, 50, 62 
work illustrated, 55 

Burger, Fritz, 176 

BuRLIUK, David, 6 

BuRLIUK, Vladimir, 6 

BusCH, Adolphus, 140 

Butting, Max, 30 

Campendonk, Heinrich, 6, 16, 

43, 124, 132, 133, 135 
Carlson, Victor, 161 
Carus, Dorothea, 147 
Caspar, Karl, 135 
Caspar-Filser, Maria, 135 
Cassirer, Bruno, 116 
Cassirer, Paul, 62, 120, 136, 

176, 178 

Der Bildermann and 
Kriegszeit, 9-10, 49, 
CfiZANNE, Paul, 7, 15, 36, 70, 

77, 111 n. 14 
Ckagall, Marc, 124, 139, 154 
Chamisso, Adelbert von, 42, 

4.5, 118 
Chipp, Herschel, 145-46, 147 
Claudel, Paul, 30 
Cone, Claribel and Etta, 139 
Corintk, Lovis, 43, 59, 116, 

Corrinth, Curt, 120 
Cranach, Lucas, 58 
Czesckka, Carl Otto 

work illustrated, 129 

Dagover, Lil, 22 
Darmstadter Sezession, 16 
Daubler, Theodor, 88, 115, 

Daudet, Alphonse, 122 
Davidsokn, Hans. See Hoddis, 

Jakob van 
Davis, Richard L. , 145 
Defoe, Daniel, 122 
Degner, Arthur, 135 
Delaunay, Robert, 6, 36 
Denissoff, Wassily, 6 
Derain, Andre, 6, 154 
Deutsck, Ernst, 20 

photograph, 20 
Dietrich, Rudolf Adrian, 32, 

Disse, Rainer, 25 
Dix, Otto, 15, 49, 55. 67, 102, 

140, 186 

Barton's study of, 200 

wartime art and experiences 
of, 44, 45, 78-85, 99 

works illustrated, 7S-S5, 
102, 175, 180 
DOblin, Alfred, 9, 32, 42, 118 
DOKRN, Wolf, 30 
Dongen, Kees van, 3, 6 
Dostoyevski, Fyodor, 62, 116 
Dreier, Katherine, 132-33, 


photograph, 132 
Dresden Sezession; Gruppe 
1919, 13-15, 16, 158, 173, 

Dreyer, Max, 117 
Dube, Wolf-Dieter, 155, 158, 

DucKAMP, Marcel, 132 

photograph, 132 
Duncan, Isadora, 30 
DORER, Albrecht, 58 

Ebert, Friedrich, 90 
Eberz, Josef, 46, 50, 56, 121, 


work illustrated, 50 
Edsckmid, Kasimir, 34, 120, 

173. 175 
Eggeling, Viking, 24 
Ekrenstein, Albert, 27, 117 
Einstein, Carl, 176 
Eisner, Kurt, 49, 95 
Engert, E. M., 16 
Ensor, James, 144 
Epstein, Elisabeth, 6 
Erkardt, Otto, 29 
Ernst, Max, 16 

Arbeitsgemeinschaft, 13-15 

Feckter, Paul, 39, 42, 54, 184, 

185, 191, 195 
Fekling, Jiirgen, 20 
Fekr, Hans, 40, 51, 52 
Feinblatt, Ebria, 138 
Feininger, Lyonel, 11, 42, 62, 

126, 137, 138, 179 

at Bauhaus, 16 

in exhibitions, 135. 140 

Harvard archives, 161 

as illustrator, 117 

work illustrated, 17 
Felixmuller, Conrad, 115, 

121. 127, 179, 186 

and Dresden Sezession: 
Gruppe 1919, 15, 158 

political views and work of, 
15, 49, 124, 126, 191, 


wartime art of, 45 

works illustrated, cover, 14, 
IQ, 47, 12S, 202 
Finsterlin, Hermann, 12 
Fiscker, Friedrich Wilhelm, 

105, 113 n. 93 
Flaubert, Gustave 

illustration for work of 122, 

Flechtheim, Alfred, 9, 62, 

129, 178 
FoKN, Sophie and Emanuel, xv 
Forster, Gela, 15 
Fox, Ilene, 30 
Frankenstein, Alfred, 145, 

Freie Bewegung, 13 
Freud, Sigmund, 151, 196 
Freundlick, Otto, 11, 16, 124 

work illustrated, iSg 
Friedenberg, Hans, 195 
Friedrich, Ernst, 80 
Fry, Roger, 133 

Galeen, Henrik, 23 
Gall^n-Kallela, Axel, 3, 69, 

70, 111 n. 12 

work illustrated, 68 
Gangi, Colo. See Loewenson, 

Garbe, Herbert, 135 
Gauguin, Paul, 15, 36, 41, 43, 

59. 70- 77, 111 n- 14 
Gaul, August, 9 

George, Heinrich, 20, 21 
Georgi, Yvonne, 32 
GiLMAN, Sander L., 199 
Gl.\SER, Curt, 45, 60-61. 176 
Glaserne Kette, 24 
Gleichmann, Otto, 62 
Gluck, Christoph, 30 
GoETKE, Johann Wolfgang von, 

121, 173 
Gogh, Vincent van, 4, 15, 36. 

70, 77, 111 n. 14, 184 
Gogol, Nikolay, 62, 122 
Goll, Ivan, 32, 35 
Goltz, Hans, 49, 57, 128, 131, 

Gordon, Donald, 191-93, 198 
GoTKEIN, Werner, 49 
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco 

de, 82 

work illustrated, 82 
GRAMATTfi, Walter, 50, 56, 62, 

67, 121, 122 

work illustrated, 62 
Gr.\u, Albin, 23 
Greve, Ludwig, 193 
Grohmann, Will, 13, 46, 174, 

Gropius, Walter, 11, 24, 25, 

28. 198, 200 
Gross, Otto, 196 
Grossmann, Rudolf, 117, 126 
Grosz, George, 49, 61, 67, 79, 

86-99, 186 

as book artist, 122, 153 

in exhibitions, 135, 140, 
149 n. 22 

Lewis s study of, 200 

wartime art and experi- 
ences, 78, 87, 89, 96 

works illustrated, 8y-g4, 
96-97, 123. J54, 199 
Grune, Carl, 23 

scene from movie directed 

by, 23 
Guenther, Peter, 194 

conversation with Ko- 

koschka, 163-71 
Gurlitt, Fritz, 9, 116, 120, 

121, 173, 176 
Gutfreund, Otto, 133 
Guthmann. Johannes, 117 

Hablik, Wenzel A., 12, 24 
Haftmann, Werner, 145 
Hahl, Jelena, 163 
Hamann, Richard, 194 
Hamilton, George Heard, 183 
Haring, Hugo, 28 
Hartlaub, Gustav F, 46. 176, 

179, 196, 200 

on Expressionists, 48, 56, 57 

on printmaking, 59-60, 63 

on print collecting, 62-63 
Hartmann, Karl Amadeus, 30 
Hartmann, Thomas von, 

Hartung, Gustav, 21 
Hasenclever, Walter, 15, 20, 

21, 170 

Der Sohri production 

sketch, 20 



Hatzfeld, Adolf von, 32 
Hauer, Josef Matthias, 29 
Hauptmann, Gerhart, 117 
Hausenstein, Wilhelm, 35, 

176, 179, 185 
Hausmann, Raoul, 196 
Heartfield, John, 88, gi 
Meckel, Erich, 41, 44, 49, 140, 
151, 154, 179, 187 
and Amiet, 70 
and Arbeitsrat, 11 
and the Briicke, 2, 67 
in Briicke portfohos, 69, 71, 

72, 74-76 
exhibitions, 15, 43, 135, 

149 n. 22, 161 
as illustrator, 118, 120, 153 
influences on, 42 
printmaking, 53-54 
publication of works of 46, 

62, 118 
wartime artwork of, 9, 45 
work in periodicals, 124, 126 
works illustrated, 40-42, 
66. 69, 72, 7.3, 75, J 24, 

153, 'So 
Heckrott, Wilhelm, 15 
Heemskerck, Jacoba van, 124 
Heine, Thomas Theodor, 117 
Heller, Reinhard, 200 
Hen'ning, p. R., 12 
Henseler, Franz, 16 
Hen'tzen, Alfred, 145 
Herbert, Robert, 133 
Herbig, Otto, 9 
Hermand, Jost, 194 
Herzfelde, Helmut. See 

Heartfield, John 
Herzfelde, VVieland, 50, 88. 

91. 9.3 
Hess, Walter, xv 
Hettner, Otto, 9 
Heym, Georg, 4, 27, 42, 43, 

116, 117, 119 
HiLLER, Kurt, 4, 10, 124 
HiNDEMITH, Paul, 29, 30 
HiRSCH, Karl Jakob, 11, 124, 


work illustrated, 5, 49 
Hitler, Adolf, 187, 199 
HOBOKEN, G. B. R., 24 
HoDDis, Jakob van (pseud, of 

Hans Davidsohn), 4, 116, 

HOERLE, Heinrich, 133 
HoFER, Karl, 10, 144, 149 n. 22 

work illustrated, 144 
Hoffmann, Edith, 145, 146 
Holm, Hanya, 32 
HuELSENBECK, Richard, 90 

Dadaistisches Manifest, 186 

cover of En avant Dada, igj 

illustration for work of 122, 

HUTH, W. R.. 1.35 
HUTTON, Leonard, 147 

Ibsen, Henrik, 19 
iTTEN, Johannes, 16, 133, 175, 

Jaeckel, WiUi, 122 
Janowitz, Hans, 22 
Jansen, Franz Maria, 49 

works illustrated, 53 
Ja-NTHUR, Richard, 117, 122 
Jaques-Dalcroze, Emile, 30, 

Jawlensky, Alexej von, 6, 9, 

1,38, 179, 203 n. 8 
Jelinek, Hans, 30 
Joel, Hans Theodor, 177 
Jogs, Kurt, 32 

photograph of dance drama, 

Junge Rheinland, 13, 16 

Kaesbach, Walter, 9 

Kaestner, Erhart, 120 

Kahler, Eugen, 6 

Kainen, Jacob and Ruth, .xv 

Kaiser, Georg, 20, 21, 22 

Kalur, Otto, 147 

Kandinsky, Wassily, 6, 9, 24, 
43. 139. 176, 179, 187, 193 
at Bauhaus, 16, 200 
and Der blaue Reitei', 6, 8, 

44, 120, 175 
book design, 120 
dance forms in work of, 32 
in exhibitions, 131, 132, 

133, 203 n. 8 
Frankenstein on, 146 
occult and Utopian sources, 

191. 196 
and Scheyer, 138 
and Schonberg, 28-29 
and Schreyer, 138 
Taut influenced by, 200 
as writer and illustrator, 

43-44. 115. 120. 153. 

works illustrated, 6, 7, 8, g, 
32-32, 155 
KL^rtell fortschrittlicher 

Kunstlergruppen in 

Deutschland, 16 
Kaus, Max, 9, 49, 122, 135, 

149 n. 22 

work illustrated, 122 
Kayser, Rudolf, 35 
Keim, Franz 

illustration for work of 129 
Keller, Gottfried, 122 
Kellner, Douglas, 194 
Kennerly, Mitchell, 135 
Kerschbaumer, Anton, 9 
Kessler, Count Harry, 95, 

112 n. 74 
KeSTENBERG, Leo, 10 
Resting, Edmund, 133 
Kiepenheuer, Gustav, 62 
Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, 7, 

39, 67, 71, 124, 151, 159, 

176, 179, 187 

as book artist, 123, 174 

and the Briicke, 2, 68, 76 

in Briicke portfolios, 69, 

catalogues, 173, 174 
dance forms in work of 32 

in exhibitions, 15, 43, 131, 
138, 149 n. 22, 203 n. 8 
and Hutton, 147 
illustrations, 42, 118-20 
influence of 49, 72 
influences on, 42, ill n. 14 
and literary life, 115, 116 
museum holdings, 137, 144, 

on overdrawing, ill n. 18 
publication of work, 7, 67, 

on printing, 40, 52-53, 58 
Schiefler on, 41 
during war, 10, 45, 78, 79 
works discussed, 75, 77, 200 
works illustrated, ix, x, 2, 3, 
42,43, 69, 71-7,3, 75, 
ii4-i5> "9. '25, 
i7S-77< '9S, 211 

Kirstein, Lincoln, 140 

Klee, Paul, 32, 44, 115, 139, 
144, 176, 179, 187 
at Bauhaus, 16, 200 
book illustrations, 120 
in exhibitions, 132, 133, 

135, 140, 149 n. 22, 155 
publication of work, 67, 126 
Schreyer and, 138 
work illustrated, 120 

Klein, Cesar, 11, 13, 23, 43, 
work illustrated, 21 

Klein-Rogge, Rudolf 22 

Klemperer, Otto 
photograph, 28 

Klimt, Gustav, 167 

Klinger, Max, 61, 83 
work illustrated, S5 

KlOpfer, Eugen, 20 


Kogan, Moyssey, 6 

KOHLER, Bernard, 196 


conversation with Ko- 
koschka, Rifkind, 
Guenther, 163-71 

Kokoschka, Oskar, 44, 46, 

115. 154. 155. 176. 179. 
187, 200 

conversation with Rifkind 
and Guenther, 163-71 
exhibitions, 144, 149 n. 22 
as illustrator, 117, 120, 122, 

123. 153 

museum holdings, 137, 145 

photograph of 163 

plays of, 19, 22, 29, 30, 115 

political position of 186 

in Sabarsky's gallery, 147 

in war, 10 

work in periodicals, 5, 43, 

work in portfolios, 62, 67 

works illustrated, 5, 226, 
158, 162, i64~yi 
KoLBE, Georg, 11, 135, 144, 

149 n. 22 
Kolinsky, Eva, 194 
Kollwitz, Kathe, 43, 45, 46, 

48, 49, 85, 140, 199 

works illustrated, 48, 52 
KORTNER, Fritz, 20 
Krafte group, 13 
Kramer, Hilton, 142 
Krauss, Werner, 20, 22 
Krayl, Carl, 12 
Krell, Max, 32 
KftENEK, Ernst, 30 
Kreutzberg, Harald, 32 
Kruss, Markus, xv 
KUBIN, Alfred, 6, 44, 116, 118, 

120, 179 
KubiSta, Bohumil, 3 
Kublin, N., 29 
KuGEL, 13 
KuHN, Charles, 140 
KuHN, Walt, 131 
KttPPERS, Paul Erich, 177 
Kurella, Alfred, 188, 190 

Laban de Varaljas, Rudolf 30, 


photograph, 32 
Landauer, Gustav, 49 
Lang, Lothar, 129 n. 1 
Lange, Otto, 15, 46 

works illustrated, 6^, 182 
Lasalle, Ferdinand, 33 
Lasker-SchCler, Else, 4, 116, 

117, 202 
Lautensack, Heinrich, 120 
Le Fauconnier, Henri, 6 
Lehmbruck, Wilhelm, 115, 

131, 135, 144, 176 
Leonhard, Rudolf 9, 22 
Lewis, Beth, 200 
Ley, Walter, 61-62 
Lichtenstein, Alfred, 4, 116 
LiEBERMAN. William S., 145 
Liebermann, Max, 9, 43, 59, 

61, 126 
Liebknecht, Karl, 25, 49, go. 

LOEWENSON, Erwin [pseud. 

Golo Gangi], 4 
LORENZ, Karl, 128 

work illustrated, vi 
Lotz, Ernst Wilhelm, g, 27, 

LUCKHARDT, Hans, 12 

work illustrated, 22 
LuCKHARDT, Wassily, 12 
LukAcs, George, 187, 188 
Luxemburg, Rosa, 25, 4g, 90, 

94, 102, 113 n. 81 

Macke, August, 6, 9, 16, 120, 

124. 135, 179 
M'Ahesa, Sent, 30 
Mann, Heinrich, 11 
Mann, Klaus, 188 
Mann, Thomas, 9 
Marc, Franz, 6, 9, 120, 124, 

139. 144. 179. 187. 202 
and Der blaue Reiter. 6, 8, 

in exhibitions, 133, 140 
publication of work of 43, 

46, 124 
use of woodcut by, 43, 44 
Valentiner on, 134-35 

work illustrated, 38 
Marcks, Gerhard, 11, 16, 135 
Martin, Karl-Heinz, 20, 21, 22 
Marx, Karl, 33 
Masereel, Frans, 118, 121, 


works illustrated, 222, 274, 

MATHiiY, Georg A. 

work illustrated, 279 
Matisse, Henri, 7, 31, 77, 139, 

154, 203 n. 8 
May, Morton D., .xv, 144-45 
Mayer, Carl, 22, 23 
Meckenem, Israhel van, 109 

work illustrated, 108 
Meid, Hans, 43 
Meidner, Ludwig, 11, 23, 44, 

46, 61, 62, 126, 179 

as illustrator, 117, 120, 121, 

as poet, 115, 121, 202 

works illustrated, 227, 222, 
225, 200 
Meier-Graefe, Julius, 177-78 
Melzer, Moriz, 13, 43, 124 
Mendelsohn, Erich, 25 

works illustrated, 25 
Meseck, Felix, 67, 122 
Meyer, Alfred Richard, 9, 153, 

Meyrink, Gustav, 116 
Mies van der Robe, Ludwig, 

24, 140 

Constantin von, 15. 49, g8, 

121, 158, 195, 202 

works illustrated, g8, 160, 

Modersohn-Beckeb, Paula, 

62, 147, 199 
Moeller, Ferdinand, 136 
MOGILEWSKI, Alexander, 6 
Moholy'-Nagy, Laszl<5, 24, 124 
Molzahn, Johannes, 133 
Morgan, J. P., 134 
Morgner, Wilhelm, 9, 43 
Muche, Georg, 16, 124 
Mueller. Otto, 3, 7, 62, 

64 n. 16, 76-77, 135, 

149 n. 22, 179 

work illustrated, yS 
MOhsam, Erich, 49 
MtiLLER, Gerda, 20 

photograph, 22 
Munch, Edvard, 39, 40, 184 

and Briicke members, 

111 n. 17 

exhibitions, 77, 111 n. 17, 


influence of 4, 36, 41, 5g, 

MOnter, Gabriele, 6, 43, 133, 


work illustrated, xvii 
Murnau, F W., 22, 23 
Myers, Bernard, 155, 191 

Nadel, Arno, 121 
Nauen, Heinrich, 16, 135 



Neppach, Robert, 21, 23 


Miinchen, 6, 8, 174, 

203 n. 8 
Neue Sezession, 8, 77 
Neumann, I. B., 9, 62, 105, 

11311. 94, 136, 176, 196 

journals published by, 
127-28, 178 

portrait of, iSo 
Nicholson, William, 69 
Nierendorf, Karl, 9, 144, 147 
NiESTLi;, Jean Bloe, 6 
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 2, 32, 

68, 83, 99 
NiTZSHKE, Hans, 133 
Nolde, Emil, 39, 61, 120, 156, 

176, 179, 187 

in the Briicke, 3 

and Briicke portfolios, 40, 

and dance, 31, 32 
in exhibitions, 43, inn. 12, 

135. 149 n- 22 
political views of, 186 
printmaking, 50-52 
Schardt on prints of 41-42 
Valentiner purchase of work 

of, 137 
works illustrated, 44, 56, ,59, 
70. 150 
NOlken, Franz, 3 
NoRDAU, Max, 185 
NOSKE, Gustav, 94, 95 
Novembergruppe, 13, 16. 24, 
30, 49, 174, 191 

Odets, Clifford, 137 
Oppenheimer, Max, 117 
Orlik, Emil, 117 
Osborn, Max, 176 
OsTHAUS, Karl Ernst, 196 

Palucca, Gret, 32 
Partikel, Alfred, 135 
Pathetiker, 117 
Paulsen. Wolfgang, 190 
Pechstein, Max, 4, 10, 32, 
147, 176, 179, 187, 200 
artists' groups, membership 

in, 2, 8, 11, 13 
in Briicke portfolios, 71, 74, 

in exhibitions, 135, 

149 n. 22, 203 n. 8 
Fechter essay on, 39, 42 
as illustrator, 120 
on printmaking, 40-41, 54 
pohtical views, 191, 195 
publication of works, 7, 43, 

61-62, 64 n. 16, 124, 

wartime experiences and 

art, 45, 85 
works illustrated, iv, xiv, 45, 
46. 71, 74, 76-77, 174, 
Pehnt, Wolfgang, 190 
Perez, Jizchok-Leib, 121 
Perkins, Geoffrey, 193 

Perls, Frank, 154, 156 
Pfemfert, Franz, 5, 124, 175, 

Pfister, Kurt, 176 
Philippe, Charles-Louis, 121 
Picasso, Pablo, 7, 31, 36, 124, 

139. 154 

in exhibitions, 6, 15, 77 
PiNTHUS, Kurt, 4 
Piper, Reinhard, 8, 105, 

113 n. 94 and n. 99. 120, 

PiRCHAN, Emil, 21 
Plaut, James, 142-43, 144 

photograph, 142 
PLtiNNECKE, Wilhelm, 98 

work illustrated, 98 
POELZIG, Hans, 23, 25 

Grosses Schauspielhaus, 26 
POrtner, Paul, 193 
Powell, Earl A., m, 161 
Preetorius, Emile, 117 
Prinzhorn, Hans, 198 

Quinn, John, 139 

Raabe, Paul, 193, 194 
Radziwell, Franz, 135 
Rat geistiger Arbeiter, 10-11 
Rathbone, Perry, 137, 144 
Rebay, Baroness Hilla von, 139 
Redslob, Edwin, 56, 59 
Reed, Orrel P., Jr., 147, 156, 

159. 194 
Reiche, Richard, 184 
Reigbert, Otto, 21 
Reimann, Walter, 22 
Reinhardt, Max, 20, 25 
Reiss, Erich, 9 

Rheiner, Walter, 32, 115, 202 
Rheinhardt, Emil Alphons, 

Richardson, E. P., 138 
Richter, Emil, 9 
Richter, Hans, 24 

Rhythvms 21 frames, 23 
Richter-Berlin, Heinrich, 

11, 13, 43, 124 
Rifkind, Robert Gore 

conversation with Ko- 
koschka, 163-71 

photograph with Ko- 
koschka, 163 
RiGBY, Ida, 194-95 
RiH, 13 

RiLLA, Walther, 48 
Ritchie, Andrew, 145 
Rockefeller, John D., 134 
Roeder, Emy, 135 
RoH, Franz, 200 
Rohlfs, Christian, 45, 62, 135, 

149 n. 22 

work illustrated, 46 
ROhrig, Walter, 22 
ROLLAND, Romain, 48 
Rosenberg, Jacob, 144 
Rothe, Wolfgang, 190 
RoUAULT, Georges, 6, 142 
Rousseau, Henri, 6 

ROWOHLT, Ernst, 9 
Rubiner, Ludwig, 116, 122, 

RuTTMAN, Walter, 24 

Sabanejevv, Leonid, 29 
Sabarsky, Serge, 147 
Sachs, Paul, 139-40, 149 n. 22 
St. Denis, Ruth, 30 
Saint-Gaudens, Homer. 133 
Salvisberg, O. R., 28 
Sauerlandt, Max, 179 
Schaefler, Fritz. 46, 49 

work illustrated, 53 
Schames, Ludwig, 9, 176 
Schanze, 13 
Schapire, Rosa, 173, 196 
Schardt, Alois, 41-42 
SCHARFF, Edwin, 126, 135 
ScHAROUN, Hans, 28 
Scheehbart, Paul, 196 
SCHEFFLER, Karl, 177 
SCHEIBE, Richard, 135 
Scheiber, Hugo, 133 
SCHERCHEN, Hermann, 30 

photograph, 28 
SCHEYER, Emmy "Galka." 137 

photograph, 139 
ScHiCKELE, Rene, 10. 20, 35, 

SCHIEFLER, Gustav, XV, 39, 50, 

53. 56, 173. 196 

on Expressionists and the 
Briicke. 40. 41 

on Heckel. 54 
SCHIELE, Egon, 124, 147 
Schiller, Friedrich, 121 
SCHINDLER, R. M., 138 
Schinnerer, Adolf, 126 

SCHLEMMER, Oskar, 16, 200 

works illustrated, 16, 29, 

SCHLICHTER, Rudolf, 118, 122 

work illustrated, 123 
Schmidt, Dieter, 193 
Schmidt, P. F., 46, 50, 184 
Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl, 11, 

42, 137, 151, 179, 187 

and the Briicke, 2, 41. 67, 

in Briicke portfolios, 70-71 

in exhibitions, 135, 147, 
149 n. 22, 161 

and Munch, 40, inn. 17 

Neun Holzschnitte, 45, 46, 

and New York dealers. 147 

on overdrawing, ill n. 18 

work in periodicals, 18, 49, 
124, 127, 128 

works illustrated, 4, 18, 50, 
70. 127, 135, 212 
Schonauer, Franz, 188 
SchOnberg, Arnold, 6, 7, 


photographs of, 28 
Schopenhauer. Arthur, 

inn. 41 

SCHREIBER, Hugo, 133 

SCHREYER, Lothar, 5, 200 
works illustrated, 36, 148 

SCHRIMPF, Georg, 121, 124, 


works illustrated. 57, 179 
Schubert, Otto, 15 

work illustrated, xiii 
Schultze-Naumberg, Paul, 

Schulze-SOlde, Max, 

149 n. 22 
Schwichtenberg, Martel, 

135. 149 n- 22 
Schwitters, Kurt, 124, 133 
Scriabin, Aleksandr. 29 
Seevvald, Richard, 122, 126, 


works illustrated, xviii, 18 
Segall, Lasar, 15 

work illustrated, 125 
Seiwert, Franz, 133 
Selz, Peter, 147, 155, 191 
Sercer, Helen, 147 
SlEVERT, Ludwig, 21 
SiGNAC, Paul, 111 n. 14 
SiMMEL, Georg, 32, 201 
Singer, H. W., 43 
SiNTENIS. Renee, 135 
Skoronel, Vera, 32 
Slevogt, Max, 43, 59, 116, 

117, 126, 177 
Sonderbund westdeutscher 

Kunstfreunde und Ktinstler, 

15-16, 131 
Sorge, Reinhard, 20 
Stadler, Ernst, 4, 9, 27, 117 
Steegeman, Paul, 120 
Steger, Milly, 135 
Stein family (Gertrude, Leo, 

Michael, Sarah), 139 
Steiner, Rudolf. 25, 30, 196 

photograph, 24 
Steiner-Prag, Hugo, 116 
Steinhardt, Jakob, 43, 50, 

117, 120, 121, 126, 179 
Steinitz, Kate, 133 
Stern, Ernst, 21 
Stevens, Corona, 170 
Stieglitz, Alfred, 131 
Stinnes, Hugo, 34 
Stoermer, Curt, 121 
Stoker, Bram, 23 
Straub, Agnes, 20 
Strindberg, August, 19 
Stuck, Franz von, 109 

work illustrated. 110 
Stuckenberc, Fritz, 133 
Swift, Jonathan, 122 
Sydow, Eckart von, 176 

Tagore, Rabindranath, 122 
Tappert, Georg, 11, 13, 43, 

121, 124, 127, 179 
Taut, Bruno, 24, 25, 27, 28, 

196, 200, 202 

and Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, 
11, 12, 24 

photograph, 24 

work illustrated, 13 
Taut, Max, 25 
Taylor, Joshua, 145 
Tegtmeier, Wilhelm, 121 

Terpis, Max, 32 
Thannhauser, Heinrich, 131 
Thiem, Gunther, 161 
Tietze. Hans. 41. 50 
Toller, Ernst. 20, 22, 49 

scene from play by, 21 
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de, 

111 n. 14 
Trakl. Georg, 9 
TrOmpy, Berthe, 32 
Tschudi, Hugo von, 196 
Twardowsky, Hans Heinz 

von, 22 

Uhden, Maria, 124 
Unold, Max, 126, 135 

Valentin, Curt, 143-44, 146, 

Valentiner, William R., vii, 

39. 45> 134-38 

photograph, 134 

portrait, i;^^ 
Vallotton. Felix, 41, 69, 

in n. 14 

work illustrated, 68 
Veidt. Conrad, 22 
Verden, Alice, 20 
Verhaeren, Emile, 121 
Vermeylen, August, 121 

illustration for work of, 1 22 
Viertel, Berthold, 20, 27 
ViGEViNO, James, 154, 156 
Vlaminck, Maurice de, 6, 154 
Vogeler, Heinrich, 188 
Voct, Paul, 157-.58 
VoiGT, Wilhelm, 113 n. 82 
VoLL, Christoph, 15 
Voltaire, 120 

Friedrich, 133 

Wach, Alois, 46, 49 

work illustrated, 49 
Wagner, Martin, 28 
Walden, Herwarth. 43, 115, 

139, 147, 176, 184, 188, 

196, 202 

Der Sturm, 4, 5, 124, 177 

Der Sturm gallery, 8, 42, 
124, 132 
Walker, John, 140 
Walter, Reinhold von, 61, 121 
Warburg, Edward, 140 
Warm, Hermann, 22 
Webern, Anton, 7, 28 

photograph, 8, 28 
Wedekind, Frank, 19 
Wegener, Paul, 22, 23 
Weidler, Charlotte, 133 
Weissbach, R., 9 
Wellesz, Egon, ,30 
Werefkin, Marianne von, 6, 9 
Werenskiold, Marit, 195 
Werfel, Franz, 27 
Westheim, Paul, 56, 57-58, 

62, 170, 173, 176, 196 

portraits of, 171, 178 
WiDENER, Joseph, 135 



WiELAND, Christoph M., 122 

illustration for work of, 223 
WiENE, Robert. 22, 23 
WiESE, Stephan von, 58 
WiCMAN, Mary, 31-32 

photograph, :^o 
Wilde, Oscar, 42, 118. 153 
WiLLET, John, 194 
William ii. Kaiser, 1, 33, 67, 

94, 113 n. 82 
Wilson, William, 160 
Wilson, Woodrow, 97 
WiNTHER, Fritz and Hanna, 32 
WoLFENSTEIN, Alfred, 32 
Wolff, Kurt, 9, 62, 175, 178 

Expressionists' illustrations 
for publications of, 42, 
119, 120, 121, 173 
WOlfli, Adolf, 199 
Wolfradt, Willi, 48 
WoLPE, Stefan, 30 
WORRINCER, Wilhelm, 35, 58, 

60, 185, 193, 198 

WURF, 13 

WORzbach, Walter, 27 
Tanzkasino Skala, 27 

Zech, Paul, 9 
Zehder, Hugo, 15 
Zeitlin, Jake, 156 
Zola, Emile, 121 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Germany, 1880- 193S 

Stehcnder Mddchenakt, 1905 

(Standing female nude) 


4% X I'/s in. {12,0 X 3.8 cm) 

M. 82. 288. 113 

Davis 1416 

Mitch Tuchman, managing editor 

Karen Jacobson, editor 

Deenie Yudell, designer 

Peter Brenner, head photographer 

Eileen Delson, production artist 

Nancy Carcione and Tom Jacobson, manuscript typists 

Vicki Gambill, photo research 

Text set in 
Caledonia and Franklin Gothic Condensed typefaces 
by Continental Typographies, Chatsworth, California, 
and Aldus Type Studio, Ltd., Los Angeles, California 

Printed on 

150 g/m- Scheufelen BVS dull coated paper 

by R. Oldenbourg GmbH, Munich 

Color separations by 

Brend'amour, Simhardt GmbH & Co., Munich 

Binding by R. Oldenbourg GmbH, Munich 

County of Los Angeles 

Board of Supervisors, igSg 

Edmund D. Edelman, Chairman 
Michael D. Antonovich 
Deane Dana 
Kenneth Hahn 
Peter F. Schabarum 

Chief Administrative Officer 
and Director of Personnel 

Richard B. Dixon 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art Board of Trustees, 
Fiscal Year 1988-89 

Juhan Ganz, Jr., Chairman 

Daniel N. Belin, President 

Mrs. F. Daniel, Chairman of the Executive Committee 

Charles E. Ducommun, Vice President 

Robert F. Maguire in, Vice President 

Eric Lidow, Treasurer 

Mrs. Barbara Pauley Pagen, Secretary 

Earl A. Powell ill. Director 

Honorary Life Trustees 
Mrs. Anna Bing Arnold 
Mrs. Freeman Gates 
Mrs. Nasli Heeramaneck 
Joseph B. Koepfli 
Mrs. Rudolph Liebig 
Mrs. Lucille Ellis Simon 
John Walker 
Mrs. Lillian Apodaca Weiner 

Mrs. Howard Ahmanson 

William H. Ahmanson 

Howard P. Allen 

Robert O. Anderson 

R. Stanton Avery 

Norman Barker, Jr. 

Mrs. Lionel Bell 

Dr. George N. Boone 

Donald L. Bren 

Mrs. B. Gerald Cantor 

Edward W. Carter 

Hans Cohn 

David Geffen 

Arthur Gilbert 

Stanley Grinstein 

Dr. Armand Hammer 

Fehx Juda 

Mrs. Ehzabeth A. Keck 

Mrs. Dwight M. Kendall 

Mrs. Harry Lenart 

Steve Martin 

Dr. Franklin D. Murphy 

Sidney R. Petersen 

Joe D. Price 

Richard E. Sherwood 

Dr Richard A. Simms 

Nathan Smooke 

Ray Stark 

Mrs. John Van de Kamp 

Frederick R. Weisman 

Walter L. Weisman 

Mrs. Harry Wetzel 

David L. Wolper 

James R. Young 

Julius L. Zelman 

Karl Schmidt-RoHluff 

Germany, 1884-1976 

Mddchen mit Zopfen, 1917 

(Girl with braids) 


8%6 X 6^16 in. (21.8 X 16.0 cm) 

From Das Kitnsthlatt 2, no. 2 


83.1.1112 b 

Davis 2554 

Prestel Art Books 

A Selection 

German Expressionism 1915-1925: 
The Second Generation 

Edited by Stephanie Barron. 
197 pages with 516 illustrations, 
89 in full color. Clothbound. 
ISBN 3-7913-0874-2. 
Also available in German: 
ISBN 3-7913-0916-1. 

German Art in the 20th Century: 
Painting and Sculpture 1905-1985 

Edited by Christos Joachimides, 

Norman Rosenthal, and Wieland 


518 pages with 623 illustrations, 

293 in full color. Clothbound. 

ISBN 3-7913-0743-6. 

Also available in German: 

ISBN 3-7913-0728-2. 

The Blue Rider 

in the Lenbachhaus, Munich 

Edited and with an introduction 
by Armin Zweite. 
Approx. 240 pages with approx. 
120 full-color plates. Clothbound. 
ISBN 3-7913-0850-5. 

Egon Schiele and His Contempo- 
raries from the Collection Leopold 

Edited by Klaus Albrecht Schroder 

and Harald Szeemann. 

296 pages with 146 full-color plates 

and 59 black-and-white illustrations. 


ISBN 3-7913-0921-8. 

Also available in German: 

ISBN 3-7913-0917-x.