Museum Folkwang
  • »Our age has a new sense of form« – Graphic Arts in the 1920ies

  • The changes that took place in the painting of the 1920s are also to be observed in the drawings and reproductions of this period. Expressionism, which had dominated graphics in the years around the First World War, lost its preeminent influence. For many artists, its place was taken by the desire to reproduce the visual appearance of things. The title of an exhibition at Kunsthalle Mannheim in 1925 gave a name to this artistic trend – Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity).

    One of the most important exponents of this trend was Alexander Kanoldt. The latter was primarily interested in making portraits not only of women but also of landscapes, focusing particularly on the harmony between the urban settlement and unspoilt nature. He found motifs of this kind in Italy, which he visited several times. In the 1920s, Erich Heckel portrayed a nature whose peaceful serenity contrasted sharply with his older, more Expressionist work. The fact that Max Beckmann was seen by his contemporaries as an exponent of Neue Sachlichkeit is most understandable looking at the portrait he painted in these years.

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner has a special status. As the most important exponent of the ›Brücke‹, a community of artists existing between 1905 in 1913, in the 1920s, he adopted a new style which had nothing in common with his Expressionist work, but that could not be assigned to Neue Sachlichkeit either. At Museum Folkwang there are, amongst other things, a number of portraits by Kirchner, including a portrayal of the director of Museum Folkwang at the time, Ernst Gosebruch.

    In the 1920s, Constructivism was also in its heyday. The objective of the Constructivists was to come up with principles for composing works made entirely of geometric shapes. One of the main exponents was Russian artist El Lissitzky, who also worked in Germany, where he exerted a great influence. Composed of ten colour lithographs, his series Sieg über die Sonne (Victory over the sun), dating from 1923, was repurchased for Museum Folkwang after it was seized for being »degenerate« in 1938 and sold. After attending a De Stijl course held by Theo van Doesburg at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1922 at the age of 35, Max Burchartz started consistently using the formal vocabulary of the Constructivists. The influence of László Moholy-Nagy, who was also a teacher at the Bauhaus, doubtless played a role here, too.
  • Exh_Title_S: »Our age has a new sense of form« – Graphic Arts in the 1920ies
  • Exh_Id: 1,473
  • Exh_Comment_S (Verantw): Department of Prints and Drawings
  • Exh_SpareNField01_N (Verantw ID): 186
Mädchenkopf II
San Gimignano
Olevano VIII
Bildnis Piper
Portrait Baron Simolin
Männerkopf (Selbstbildnis)
Selbstbildnis (Melancholie der Berge)
Porträt Ernst Gosebruch
Mädchen am offenen Fenster
Alter (Kopf 2 Schritt hinten)
Konstruktion und Säule
Rotes Segment auf Grau
Wiederholung einer großen Form auf schwarzem Grund