• One of the most potent graphic cycles is the series of wood cut illustrations
    by the Dresden Secession artist Constantin von Mitschke-Collande
    for the Walter Georg Hartmann's allegorical book
    Der Begeisterte Weg ( The Inspired Way; ) Haartmann
    tells of a young soldier who experiences the beginnings of the Revolution,
    the funeral of Liebknecht, and the outbreak of street violence, during which he was killed.
    His spirit does not die; it wanders through revolutionary Germany, observing.
    Mitschke-Collande focuses on the religious salvation promissed in hartmann's text.
    He combines images from the Crucifixion and the Revelation of St. John
    ( for instance, the horsemen of the Apocalypse ) to intertwine Expressionists
    religious imagery and a message about revolution.
    The illustrations are a symbol of the political and spiritual awakening
    of the second-generation Expressionists.
    They reflect the crossroads that many artists felt they had reached.
    Mitschke-Collande's style also reflects that eclecticism of the second generation.


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  • Constantin von Mitschke-Collande

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  • Born 1884 Collande

    Died 1956 Nuremberg


    Thechnische Hochschule, Munich, 1905-07
    ( architetural Studies )

    Akademie, Dresden, 1907-10, 1912-13
    Studied with Fernande Lèger and Maurice Denis, Paris

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  • Ludwig Meidner, like most of his poet friends, loved to walk the streets of the city. He roamed the outlying suburbs of Berlin for hours on end an drew his inspiration from what he saw.
    At night, back in the dark, little attic room that served as his studio, he painted houses and streets that began to dance under his brush, as if the earth beneath the city were shaking.
    From dancing houses it was only a step to blazing cities.
    In the summer of 1912, that hot summer following a rainy April, that had such an invigorating impact on European art in general, Meidner embarked on his apocalyptic landscapes, which he painted one after another in a sustained creative frenzy.

    *check blogg posting of October 29 2006
    for a 1916 self-portrait etching by Ludwig Meidner


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  • Neues Land ( New Land ) 1920 Johannes Molzahn

    Expressionism began to show an apocalyptic or ecstatic coloration in the work of several artists after the war.
    In 1919 Joahannes Molzahn published " Das Manifesto of Absoluten Expressionismus " ( The Manifesto of Absolute Expressionism ) in der Sturm, in which, with highly charged language, he proclaimed the destruction of the older and the rising of the new order in the aftermath of destruction.
    Molzahn " we want to pour oil onto the fire - fan the tiny glow into flame - span the earth - make it quiver - and beat more fiercely - living and pulsating cosmos - steaming universe. "
    Molzahn propounded the notion of " Abstract Expressionism, " and in his paintings and prints of 1919-20 he used a series of intersecting circular bands, reminiscent of both Robert Delaunay and the Futurists, whose work was also exhibited at the Galerie Der Sturm.


    Johannes Molzahn (1892-1965)
    Johannes Molzahn went to school in Weimar and received his technical training in Berlin and Berne. In 1908 he moved to Switzerland but returned to Germany in 1914.

    In 1917, he had an exhibition at Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin. His work from the late 1910s and early 1920s can be described as Cubo-Futuristic because it combined the figurative with the abstract. Often figures are placed spatially before an environment composed of disjunctured fragments of rectangles, trapezoids and triangles. The figure struggles to maintain its distinction from the elements surrounding it. He employs a vocabulary of repetitive patterns and emphasizes geometric forms rather than emphasizing natural wood striations (in his woodcuts) which was a favored technique among the Expressionists. Molzahn's print technique more closely resembles younger artists such as Willi Baumeister and Oscar Schlemmer. This younger generation was inspired by mechanical drawings and industrial forms.

    Uniformity and cohesion were emphasized as a statement of a human, universal identity. This utopian vision of universal creativity and communal harmony was exactly what the 1937 Degenerate Art exhibition despised. Instead, Hitler envisioned a social order based on master and slave, subjugation and repression.

    Molzahn was active in Weimar after World War I and he was asked by Walter Gropius to survey artistic activity in the region. He never joined the faculty of the Bauhaus but his work was included in their third Bauhaus Portfolio because of his association with Walden. In 1923 he became a teacher of graphics and typography at the Madgeburg School of Applied Arts and from 1928-33 he was employed at the Academy in Breslau. In 1926, his work was included in the Brooklyn Museum's International Exhibition of Modern Art organized by Katherine Dreier.

    Six paintings by Molzahn were included in the 1937 exhibition of Degenerate Art after being confiscated from museums in Breslau and Essen. Portfolios of prints by Molzahn published by the Bauhaus were also included in that exhibition. The Nazis criticized the Bauhaus efforts to infiltrate "healthy German art with the germs of Jewish, Asian, and Communist principles".

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