Fans of German Expressionism
will be pleased to find an impressive selection of the genre’s signature woodcuts, lithographs, and etchings at this year’s IFPDA Print Fair
. Characterized by the artistic impulse that arose in Germany prior to WWI between 1905 and 1920, German Expressionist prints feature spontaneous, gestural markings, distorted human figures, and a tendency towards abstraction. Galerie St. Etienne
, Worthington Gallery
, Jörg Maass Kunsthandel
, and Simon Theobold Ltd
, among others, each offer numerous prints from German Expressionist masters like Otto Dix
, Max Pechstein
, Emil Nolde
, Lyonel Feininger
, Käthe Kollwitz
, Max Beckmann
, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
. On the eve of the fair, Michele Senecal
, executive director of the IFPDA tipped us off to some great German Expressionist prints at Galerie St. Etienne.
Acrobats III by Hermann Max Pechstein
This colored woodcut of acrobats in action is part of a series Pechstein made in 1912, and is a signature work of the artist at that time. Remarkable due to overt references to non-European sources, the patterning and rendering of the figures in this work recalls Oceanic and African sculpture. Also worth noting is Pechstein’s use of color; he is known for his preference for stencils to color his woodcuts, instead of the traditionally arduous task of cutting multiple colored blocks.
Big Windmill by Emil Nolde
Big Windmill was created between 1907 and 1915, when Nolde endeavored to master lithography, creating 31 different compositions. He drew each composition on transfer paper first, with a brush or crayon and greasy lithographic ink. This work is one of 11 that Nolde decided to reprint in color in 1915 using, in this case, three stone plates to apply the different colors. The inscription indicates that this edition is unique with its color combination of black, green, and tan.
City on the Mountain by Lyonel Feininger
This work is among Feininger’s first woodcuts, which made during the summer of 1918, when health issues landed him in the Harz Mountains. Possibly inspired to take on the medium by his friend, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, over the following three years he produced over 200 woodcuts. He made most of them by hand and with the help of his wife and sons. The small editions evidence the manual process in each edition’s unique impression and placement.
Self-Portrait in the Hotel by Max Beckmann
This work is one of three self-portraits Beckmann created in his 1922 series “Trip to Berlin.” A moral complement to his 1919 series “Hell”, this series offers a narrative of daily oppression and instability in the capital of the Weimar Republic. This series of ten lithographs was created quickly, within the span of a few months.