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Alice Adam Ltd

German Expressionism

German Expressionism

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Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Oskar Schlemmer

Alice Adam Ltd. presents an exhibition of German Expressionism with a focus on key movements of the period.

The Brücke, or the "Bridge", was the very early and highly important group of young artists who worked together in Germany during the years 1905-1912. Among those included in the Brücke were Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottuff, and Emil Nolde, etc. These artists produced the intense body of work that was to so drastically alter the direction of twentieth-century art.

Shortly after the Brücke came the wave of Independent Expressionists, who worked simultaneously from approximately 1914-1930. The artists from this group whose work is of greatest consequence are Max Beckmann, George Grosz, and Otto Dix. Their artistic efforts from this period offer some of the most forceful and visually effective stabs against the prevalent socio-political conflicts and injustices of the time.


In the 1920's the theories and style of the Bauhaus, Constructivist, and Dada movements ran parallel, and often converged. Artists such as Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer, and Kurt Schwitters, all participated in and contributed significantly to the radical thought and technique that ultimately defined the above artistic schools.

Image: Emil Nolde "Mann und Weibchen" Woodcut 1912 (detail)

#1 Max Beckmann_Frau in Der Nacht - Alic

Max Beckmann

" Frau in der Nacht" ( Woman at Night), 1920

Drypoint, Cat. Hofmaier 175 Bb 

Signed in pencil by the artist, titled "Frau auf Sofa" (Woman on Sofa)
Size 9.7 x 12.6" (24.7 x 32 cm)

Max Beckmann

" Tamerlan", 1923

Drypoint  Cat. Hofmaier 284 B 
Signed in pencil by the artist 
Edition of 60 on laid paper 
Size 15 1/2 x 7 7/8" ( 39.4 x 20 cm)

#2 Beckmann Tamerlan - Alice Adam.png
#3 Beckmann Das patriotische Lied (The

Max Beckmann

"Das patriotische Lied" (The Patriotic Song), 1919

Lithograph, Hofmaier 147/I (v. II/B) 

Dated and signed in pencil by Beckmann. Left titled by the artist in pencil "Deutschland Deutschland uber allies." Annotated "Probedruck" (Trial Proof). Very rare early trial proof on thin, brownish, Velin paper. Of great rarity, recently discovered trial proof of the first state, which was not known Hofmaier. The scene shows Beckmann's experience as a first aid man in the front in Flandem.

Size: 30.31 x 21.26" (77 x 54cm)

Three woodcuts ( Nolde, Heckel, Schmidt-Rottluff) from the German Expressionist Period "Die Bruecke" ( The Bridge) in Dresden and Berlin, Germany.


Emil Nolde

"Mann und Weibchen" ( Man and Female), 1912 

Woodcut, Cat. Schiefler / Mosel 111 ( third and final state) 
Signed and titled in pencil by the artist.

At least seven impressions of the third state are known to exist. On wove paper. Strong relief from the block. Very rare.

Size: 9 5/8 x 11 7/8" (24.5 x 30.1cm)

#4 Nolde Mann und Weibchen - Alice Adam.
#5 Erich Heckel (Two women) - Alice Adam

Erich Heckel

"Zwei Frauen" ( Two Women), 1910 

Woodcut, Cat. Dube H182 (I)

Signed and dated in pencil 

The first state (of two), before the rework on the breasts of the left woman. A rich impression of this rare state. Printed on laid paper.

Size: 11 x 14.4" (27.9 x 36.5 cm)

Karl Schmidt-Rotluff

"Mussige Hetaren (Idle Courtesans), 1914 

Woodcut, Cat. Wietek 76. Schapire 133.

Signed in pencil and dated by the artist.

Printed on laid paper.

No published edition. Only proofs exist.

Size: 31 x 27.5" (78.7 x 69.9 cm)

#6 Schmidt-Rottluff- Mussige HetarenJPG

An El Lissitzky (the Russian Constructivist), from the portfolio "Victory over the Sun" published in Hanover, Germany in 1923


#7 Posten - Alice Adam.jpg

El Lissitzky

" Posten" (Past), 1923 

Lithograph in black and gray, Cat. Gmurzynska 58. Busch-Reisinger Museum Pl. 67, page 130 

Signed in pencil by the artist. Stamp-numbered '3'.

Plate 3 from the portfolio "Die plastische Gestaltung der elektromechanischen Schau, Sieg uber die Sonne (Victory Over the Sun)".

From the edition of 75. Printed by Rob. Leunis & Chapman, Hannover, 1923.

On wove paper.

Size: 15 3/8" x 7 7/8" (39 x 19.8 cm)

The Variation of The Law of the Series, by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy is a gelatin silver print from 1925, and a work from the Bauhaus in Dresden, Germany

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

"Advertisement for Schocken Department Store" ( Variation of The Law of the Series), 1925

Gelatin Silver Print, Cat. Witkovsky 126.

Stamped 'foto moholy-nagy' on verso

Size: 8 7/8 x 6 3/4" (22.5 x 17.1 cm)

#8 Moholy Nagy_Shocken - Alice Adam.JPG
#9 Lazslo Moholy-Nagy_Komposition - Alic

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

"Komposition" (Composition), 1922

Linocut, Signed in pencil 

Inscribed " Probedruck" (Trial proof).

With wide margins. Printed on wove paper.

Size: 4.5 x 3.4" (11.5 x 8.75 cm)

Oskar Schlemmer

"Figur von der Seite" ( Figure from the Side), 1921

Lithograph, Signed in pencil and dated by the artist. From the Bauhaus portfolio edition of 110.Cat. Grohmann, L 7 

Size: 15.8 x 11.2" ( 40 x 28.6 cm)

#10 Schlemmer _Figur von derSeite_ - Ali

Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde was a German Expressionist known for his paintings and prints of flowers, landscapes, and folklore. Born Emil Hansen on August 7, 1867 in Nolde, Germany (present-day Germany), he was raised in a family of farmers in a rural area by the sea. Expected to join the family farm, Nolde instead pursued a career in furniture carving before beginning to paint. In 1906, while in Berlin he briefly joined the Die Brücke Expressionist group, which included his friend Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. He would go on to exhibit with both the Berlin Secession and Wassily Kandinsky’s Der Blaue Reiter group.

Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann was a German painter widely regarded as one of the major figures of the Expressionist and New Objectivity movements. Born on February 12, 1884 in Leipzig, Germany, as a young man he studied the works of Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Peter Paul Rubens. Beckmann served as a medic during World War I, his distorted angles, cynical self-portraits, and depictions of the grotesque aspects of humanity are often attributed to the trauma of his war-time experience. In 1933, the Nazi government dismissed him from his teaching position at the Stadel Art School in Frankfurt, and in 1937, he and his wife fled to Amsterdam where they lived for the next decade. After World War II, he was offered a position to teach at Washington University in St. Louis, and so he and his wife moved to America. Beckmann taught in different cities before settling in New York, where he was appointed as a faculty member at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. The artist died on December 27, 1950 in New York, NY.

Erich Heckel 

Erich Heckel was a German artist and founding member of the influential German Expressionist group Die Brücke. His angular woodcuts and paintings, described both the chromatic world and the inner emotions of the artist, as seen in his work Roquairol (1917). Born on July 31, 1883 in Döbeln, Germany and studied architecture in Dresden at the Technische Hochschule where he met other founding members of Die Brücke. In 1905, along with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel established the movement by opening a collaborative workshop, which allowed for the cross-pollination of ideas through the shared production of paintings, prints, and sculptures. He died on January 27, 1970 in Radolfzell, Germany at the age of 86. 

Karl Schmidt-Rotluff

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was a German painter and member of the Expressionist movement Die Brücke. Born Karl Schmidt on December 1, 1884 in Chemnitz, Germany, he enrolled at the Dresden Polytechnic University 1905, where he met fellow architecture students Erich Heckel, Fritz Bleyl, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Together with his peers he founded Die Brücke, a collective workshop for painting, sculpting, and printmaking.

El Lissitzky

El Lissitzky was an avant-garde Russian artist and major figure in both Suprematism and Constructivism. Lissitzky’s politically fueled poster designs, photographs, and paintings melded formal abstraction with typography. Born Lazar Markovich Lisitskii on November 23, 1890 to a Jewish family in the small village of Pochinok, Russia. Much of his childhood was spent in Vitebsk, where he studied art from a young age under Yehuda Pen, who also taught Marc Chagall. In 1909, Lissitzky moved to Germany to study architecture at the Technische Universität in Darmstadt. At the outbreak of World War I, he and other Russian emigres were forced back to Russia. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Lissitzky became involved with the newly formed Soviet government group Inkhuk (Institute for Artistic Culture). His work for the institute included designing exhibitions for Constructivist shows and typographies for books by Vladimir Mayakovsky. Lissitzky died on December 30, 1941 in Moscow, Russia.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was a Hungarian artist best known for his experimental use of photography. Influenced by the work of Constructivist artists like Alexander Rodchenko, Moholy-Nagy’s Photogramsare characteristic examples of his unorthodox approach. By placing objects onto photo-sensitive paper and exposing it to light, he created residual impressions that are a conceptual hybrid of photography and sculpture. Born László Weisz on July 20, 1895 in Bácsborsód, Hungary, he changed his name due to its German Jewish origins. After serving in World War I, he studied at the private school of the Hungarian painter Róbert Berény. As a professor at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, he was also proficient in typography, painting, sculpture, design, and printmaking. Forced to flee Germany in 1935, due to the rise of the Nazi regime, he moved to Chicago in 1937 at the invitation of the industrialist Walter Paepcke to found a New Bauhaus. Moholy-Nagy died on November 24, 1946 in Chicago, IL.

Oskar Schlemmer

Oskar Schlemmer was a German artist and choreographer known for both his paintings and ballet productions. Born on September 4, 1888 in Stuttgart, Germany, he studied both design and fine arts as a young man. Wounded while serving in World War I, Schlemmer returned to his hometown in 1916, where he helped update the curriculum for the Stuggart Academy of Fine Arts and attempted to have Paul Klee appointed as a faculty member. He went on to teach at Walter Gropius’s Weimar Bauhaus before the advent of the Nazi regime during the early 1930s. Over the following decade, the artist’s life was drastically altered by the Nazi’s restrictions, forcing him to earn a living working at a lacquer factory and paint traditional portraits and landscapes. Schlemmer died on April 13, 1943 in Baden-Baden, Germany. 

All artist biographies from 

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