Fantasies in Shape and Colour

The exhibition "Fantasies in Shape and Colour" brings together artworks by the painters Erich Franke, Erwin Hahs, Gerhart Hein, Curt Lahs and Heinrich Wildemann and focuses on a special point of view: the interplay of colour, shape and fantasy. Sculptures with elementary charisma by Michael Schoenholtz, one of the most important sculptors of his generation, continue the abstract play of forms in marble and shell limestone.
The five painters of classical modernism developed their artistic style in different ways: Erich Franke was influenced by the art movements of the 1920s and 30s and Erwin Hahs was in closely connected to the Bauhaus and, as a professor at the Burg Giebichenstein School of Applied Arts, played a key role in the development of the Halle Painter School. Gerhart Hein, whose artistic talent was discovered by Otto Mueller, graduated from the Breslau Art Academy, while Curt Lahs was one of the founding members of the avant-garde artists' association “The Young Rhineland” in 1918 and Heinrich Wildemann found important inspiration from the Expressionists of the “Brücke” as well as after the Second World War with the artists of the group ZEN 49, who marked a new beginning in painting with their abstract works.
All painters largely detached themselves from the objective motif in the course of their artistic work. For them, colours and shapes became essential means of expression. The paintings in the exhibition show harmoniously coordinated as well as strongly contrasting colours. With a strictly or loosely guided brush, melodic swings, floating individual forms or accurate graphic structures are created. The wealth of colours and shapes in the paintings, gouaches, tempera works and drawings inspires you to see reality in a new way: to recognize it as a miracle of colours and shapes. The sculptor Michael Schoenholtz, who studied and taught at the Berlin Art School, dealt - starting in the 1960s - with the human body, which he increasingly fragmented and abstracted into block-like forms in the course of his work.
We invite you and your friends to the vernissage on Saturday, October 16, 2021. We look forward to seeing you from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Erich Franke | Circus | 1937 | gouache | 29 x 41,5 cm
Erich Franke | Circus | 1937 | gouache | 29 x 41,5 cm


Erwin Hahs (1887-1970), who taught as a professor at the Burg Giebichenstein School of Applied Arts, developed a meditative, abstract visual language at the end of the 1920s. During this ten-year creative period, from which, among other things, “Goldene Linien” from 1932 can be seen, he experimented with industrial paints. He was fascinated by the fact that the lacquer "dissolves the form and its beauty lies in this wonderful lightness of its own."
For Curt Lahs (1893-1958), who in his early years belonged to the avant-garde artist group "Das Junge Rheinland" and exhibited in the legendary gallery of "Mutter Ey" in 1921, the boundaries between representational and abstract painting hardly existed; sometimes both directions coexist in his works. After 1945 in particular, the painter created predominantly abstract pictures, which are characterised by a lyrical attitude to life. In the compositions from the 1950s that are shown in the exhibition, Lahs trusts entirely in the expressive power of moving forms and the euphony of colours. 
Heinrich Wildemann (1904-1964) received important impulses for his artistic development from the Expressionists of the "Brücke"; he also had a close friendship with Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. After the Second World War, Wildemann was acquainted with painters such as Willi Baumeister, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Max Ackermann and Fritz Winter, whose abstract works marked a new artistic beginning in Germany. On Baumeister's recommendation, Wildemann was appointed Baumeister's successor and professor of painting at the Stuttgart Art Academy in 1955. Commenting on his development, the artist said: "My career led me from Expressionism via Cubism to the abstract [...], based on my own experience and without any outside influence". In the exhibition, watercolours from the 1940s are shown.
Gerhart Hein (1910-1998), whose artistic talent had been discovered by the expressionist Otto Mueller, studied at the Breslau Art Academy from 1929. After the war and captivity, he again entered a phase of free creativity. In the mid-1950s he dissolved figuration in his works. Forms inspired by Cubism led further to abstract structures of geometric lines delimiting areas of color. In the mid-1950s he dissolved figuration in his works. Forms inspired by Cubism led further to abstract structures of geometric lines delimiting areas of colour. Hein called these structures "imaginary substance".
Erich Franke (1911-2008) graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Wiesbaden and, influenced by the art movements of the 1920s and 30s, put an early emphasis on abstract art. Theatre and music, which he dealt with professionally as a stage designer, enriched his artworks with spatial depth and dance-like dynamics. These references become visible in the gouaches "Circus" from 1937 and "Kultischer Ort" from 1957, among others, which lead the viewer into the artist's inner reality.
Michael Schoenholtz (1937-2019) was primarily a stone sculptor. Schoenholtz corresponded to the heaviness and massiveness of the stone with a reduced formal language that concentrated on the essential. It gives his figures a dignified aura and refers to Schoenholtz ’artistic role models - the sculptures of the Aztecs and Khmer. Parallel to his sculptural work, he also created a rich set of drawings.

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