Friday, May 28, 2010

Conrad Felixmüller

 Conrad Felixmüller, Soldier in the Madhouse, 1918

Conrad Felixmüller (1897-1977) was born in Dresden as son of a factory worker. After attending drawing classes at the Dresden Kunstgewerbeschule for one year, (where he  became a close friend of Peter August Böckstiegel) Felixmüller first attended the private school of the artist Ferdinand Dorsch in 1912 and the same year he entered Professor Carl Bantzer's class at the Königliche Kunstakademie in Dresden, to start training as a painter.  In 1915 Felixmüller left the academy and studio of. He now worked as a freelance artist in Dresden, but often went to Berlin, where he painted in Ludwig Meidner's studio:

 Ludwig Meidner, Bildnis Konrad Felixmüller, 1915

 Felixmüller also contributed to the journal Der Sturm (The Storm), published by Herwarth Walden. In 1917 Felixmüller founded the art and literature journal MENSCHEN (Men) together with the book dealer Felix Stiemer, with Felixmüller being responsible for the graphic design like he was in Der Sturm. At the same time he had exhibitons at Hans Goltz's in Munich and at the Dresden Galerie Arnold together with Heckel, Kirchner and Schmidt-Rottluff. 

 Conrad Felixmüller, Workers Returning Home, 1920s

In 1918 Felixmüller moved to Dresden, where he became the founder and chairman of the Dresdner Sezession and joined the November-Gruppe as well as the revolutionary Genossenschaft für proletarische Kunst (Cooperative for Proletarian Art). At the same time Felixmüller worked for various newspapers (e.g. Die Sichel in Regensburg and Rote Erde in Hamburg) and published several literary texts such as his autobiography Mein Werden (Kunstblatt) or his thoughts on Künstlerische Gestaltung. Felixmüller's early creative work was strongly influenced by Expressionism, which he interpreted in a socio-critical way and soon transformed into his own form of expressive Realism. He was also a member of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) since 1919. 

 Conrad Felixmüller, The Agitator, 1920

In 1933, 40 of  Felixmüller's paintings were shown at the Dresden exhibition of  Degenerate Art. In 1934 he moved to Berlin-Charlottenburg, hoping to be able to work more freely there. (see my related blog). In 1937, 151 of his works were confiscated from public collections. In 1941 his Berlin home was destroyed by bombs, and Felixmüller sought refuge in Damsdorf in the Mark. 

Conrad Felixmüller, Portrait of Raoul Hausmann, 1920s

In 1944 Felixmüller moved to Tautenhain. That same year he was called-up for military service. After a short time in Sovjet captivity, Felixmüller returned to Tautenhain in 1945. In 1949 he was appointed professor at the Martin-Luther-Universität in Halle, where he taught drawing and painting at the faculty of education. After his retirement in 1961 Felixmüller returned to Berlin. Before his death in 1977 numerous exhibitions took place in East and West Germany, Paris, Rome, Bologna and Florence.

Conrad Felixmüller, Self-Portrait, 1920 

You can see more works of Conrad Felixmüller here in my Flickr set.

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