Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt am Main

Biography Ludwig Meidner

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Biography Ludwig Meidner
Ludwig Meidner in October 1916

1884
Born in Bernstadt (Bierutow), a small town in Silesia (now in Poland) on 18 April
1901-02
Apprentices as a mason, with the goal of becoming an architect
1903-05
Attends the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Breslau
1905-06
Moves to Berlin; takes lessons in etching from Hermann Struck in summer 1906
1906-07
Attends the academies Julian and Cormon in Paris; befriends Amedeo Modigliani
1908-09
Moves to Kattowice to manage a school for drawing; returns to Berlin
1911
Receives a moderate grant due to the advocacy of Max Beckmann
1912
Founds the artists group Die Pathetiker in Berlin with Jakob Steinhardt and Richard Janthur; exhibition at Herarth Walden's famous gallery Der Sturm; paints the first of his Apocalyptic Landscapes; beginning in December, Meidner repeatedly has ecstatic experiences
1913
Jour-Fixe in Meidner's studio in Berlin-Friedenau, frequents guests are poets like Jakob van Hoddis, Carl Einstein, René Schickele and Max Herrmann-Neiße
1914
Moves to Dresden with the poet Ernst Wilhelm Lotz; starts to work on his portfolio Krieg  (War)
1915-16
First series of large-scale drawings of prophets
1916-18
Military service as interpreter at a prisoner-of-war camp near Cottbus, writes his Expressionist prose works Im Nacken das Sternemeer (The Sea of Stars at My Back, published 1918) and Septemberschrei (September Cry, published 1920)
1918
In February solo exhibition at Paul Cassirer's in Berlin, participates at the exhibition Neue religiöse Kunst (New Religious Art) in Mannheim; in July gets transferred to a regiment which is trained for combat; falls ill before he sees the front; in hospitals in Würzburg and Aschaffenburg 
1919
Returns to Berlin, joins for a short time with revolutionary artists groups Arbeitsrat für Kunst in Berlin and Novembergruppe
1922
Travels to Sylt and Hamburg
1923
Creates sets for Karl Grune's Expressionist film Die Straße (The Street)
1924-27
Works as drawing teacher at Studien-Atelier für Malerei und Plastik (Lewin-Funcke) in Berlin-Charlottenburg; among his pupils are Felix Nussbaum, Felka Platek, Hans Kuhn and his future wife Else Meyer; during the mid-1920ies Meidner's artistic involvement with religious subjects intensifies and he er becomes a devout Jew
1927
Marries Else Meyer, the marriage-ceremony is performed by Rabbi Leo Baeck
1929
Birth of son David; Meidner's collection of autobiographic prose Gang in die Stille (Journey into Silence) is published
1935
Moves to Cologne, works as drawing teacher at the Jewish school Jawne (Yavneh)
1937
Paintings by Meidner are shown in the exhibition Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art), including a self-portrait from 1912
1938
Begins his cycle Visionen (Visions), cryptical charcoal drawings, that convey a sense of menace
1939
Meidner goes into exile in London in August; remains in sporadic contact with the Freier Deutscher Kulturbund (Free German Culture League)
1940-41
Interned as an "enemy alien" at Huyton Camp near Liverpool and in Ramsey on the Isle of Man
1942-45
Creates his cycle Massacres in Poland or Leiden der Juden in Polen (The Suffering of Jews in Poland), with reflects the systematic persecution and assasination of the Jews; at the same time he also paints humoristic waterclours
1949
Ludwig and Else Meidner show their pictures together in London; Meidner considers the exhibition a failure
1952
Visits Hamburg and Bonn
1953-55
Returns to Germany while Else Meidner remains in London; Meidner initially lives in the Jewish home for the aged in Frankfurt am Main
1955-63
Moves to a studio in Marxheim on Taunus; paints portraits and religious scenes along with landscapes and still lifes
1959
Solo exhibition at Wiesbaden Kunstverein; Hymnen und Lästerungen (Hymns and Profanities) is published
1963
Moves to  Darmstadt, Else Meidner visits him for about a year; solo exhibition in Recklinghausen, which is also shown in Berlin and Darmstadt
1964
Is awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Villa Romana Prize and the Merck Medal of the city of Darmstadt and appointed member of the Academy of the Arts, Berlin
1966
In April the first comprehensive monograph on Meidner by Thomas Grochowiak is published; Meidner dies on 14. May and is buried ath the Jewish cementery in Darmstadt

more:
Ludwig Meidner Archive 
selected
works from Meidner's artistic bequest

Calendar of events
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Ludwig Meidner Archive

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riedel(at)juedischesmuseum.de

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