Sunday, June 13, 2010

Walter Gramatté

 Walter Gramatté, Self-Portrait with Red Moon, 1926

Walter Gramatté was born 1897 in Berlin. He served in the German army during World War I but was released from military duty in 1915 due to poor health. In the same year he enrolled at the Königliche Kunstschule des Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin and became a friend of Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

Walter Gramatté, Funeral, 1917

In the 1920s, Gramatté produced many oil paintings and watercolors but he was particularly interested in experimenting with etchings, woodcuts, lithographs and drypoints. Most of his work is portraiture and he created 200 self-portraits and 120 studies of his wife, Sonia. 

 Walter Gramatté, The Man on the Skid, 1920

Sonia married again after Gramatté's death, was then named Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté and lived in Canada as a renowned musician. To remember her and her former husband Walter Gramatté The Eckhardt-Gramatté-Foundation was established in Winnipeg, Canada (you can see more of his works there).

Walter Gramatté, Portrait Rosa Schapire, 1920

Tragically, Walter Gramatté suffered from continuous poor health and died in 1929 at the age of thirty-two. In 1932, a memorial exhibition opened at the Art Association in Hamburg and then travelled to nine other cities in Germany before it was closed prematurely by the Nazis because they considered his work "degenerate". A special exhibition of his paintings with the title Rediscovered: Walter Gramatté 1897-1929 took place in Hamburg's Ernst Barlach Haus in 2009. You can see more of his work in my Flickr set.

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