Tag Archives: Worker’ (Self-Portrait in Front of Trees and Chimneys)

Men Without Masks

There’s an extraordinary exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London (until 28 July 2018) dedicated to the German photographer August Sander. Titled Men Without Masks, the display features an extensive selection of portraits made between 1910 and 1931 representing the socio-economic landscape in the years leading up to and through the Weimar Republic.

These photographs are mesmerizing, but beyond the masterful portraiture are the subjects themselves. Who are these people? Several individuals caught my eye, such as these two in a photograph titled Bohemians:

This is a portrait of Will Bongard and Gottfried Brockmann who were associated with the Cologne Dada movement and the group of artists known as the Cologne Progressives. There are also portraits of the artists Franz Wilhelm Seiwert and Heinrich Hoerle who were also part of this group:

 

Intrigued by Sander’s photographic portraits of these four charismatic-looking men, I set about tracking down some examples of their artworks such as this painting by Hoerle:

‘Denkmal der unbekannten Prothesen’ (1930) by Heinrich Hoerle, Von der Heydt-Museum

Or this by Seiwert:

‘Selbstbildnis’ (Self-portrait) by Franz Wilhelm Seiwert (1928), Von der Heydt-Museum

Finally, here’s a work by Brockmann:

Junge mit Roller (1923)

The Cologne Progressives, founded by Gerd Arntz along with Hoerle and Seiwert, related their attitude to art to their political activism and their involvement in the the Radical Workers’ Movement. As the German sculptor Wieland Schmied has explained, they ‘sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement’. They are credited as being the originators of Figurative Constructivism.

Gerd Arntz’s work provides a contrast to that of his colleagues. Here’s his Between Bridges for example:

I’d like to look more closely at these artists and their works. In the meantime, here’s a selection:

‘Worker’ (Self-Portrait in Front of Trees and Chimneys) (1931) by Heinrich Hoerle, Harvard Art Museums
‘Four Men in front of Factories’ (1926) BY Franz William Seiwert, Hamburger Kunsthalle
‘Kolyma’ (1952) by Gerd Arntz