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The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints

The German Revolution: Expressionist Prints is timed to commemorate the violent revolution in Germany from 1918-1919 - a period of anarchy and violence that broke out at the end of the First World War, in Berlin and other big cities. Germany’s old political and social hierarchies failed before World War I ended and the revolutionary fighting and chaos continued until the establishment of the Weimar Republic in August 1919.

The exhibition focuses on the revolutionary printmaking that emerged in Germany in the years 1906-1926. The works are drawn from The Hunterian’s own exceptional holdings of German Expressionist art, supplemented by Max Beckmann’s set of 11 lithographs, Hell, on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland. This monumental series encapsulates the terror, hunger and sheer misery that enveloped the city of Berlin, which had been the German World’s great international centre for the production and exhibition of art.

Artists such as Beckmann turned to printmaking of various kinds from commercial necessity. This was the great period of the woodcut, led by the Norwegian Edvard Munch, who inspired many to take up a medium which has dramatic persuasive power.

Other artists turned their backs on the physical destruction and looked inwards. Munch, Kokoschka, Schiele, Schmidt-Rottluff, Nolde, Pechstein, Heckel, Barlach, Dix, Grosz, Corinth and Paula Modersohn-Becker all made prints exploring human stories which are linked thematically in the exhibition and seem to have arisen as an antidote to the disaster of the war: Love and Anxiety, A Bridge to Utopia, and Conflict and Despair.
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, 20th Century

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