Ludwig Meidner Archive
Art in exile was from the beginning the subject of numerous exhibitions of our museum. Also works by exile artists constitute the museum's most extensive collection.
Since 1994 the Ludwig Meidner Archive ist taking care of the artistic estate of the Expressionist Ludwig Meidner (1884 Bernstadt – 1966 Darmstadt) and of works by fellow artists. The artistic estates of Else Meidner (1901 Berlin – 1987 London), Kurt Levy (1911 Bonn – 1987 Cologne), Arie Goral (1909 Rheda, Westphalia – 1996 Hamburg) and H. Henry Gowa (Hamburg 1901 - 1990 Munich) are also held here.
Catalogue raisonné of the paintings by Ludwig Meidner
The Jewish Museum Frankfurt, the Ludwig Meidner Society and the Citoyen Foundation are preparing the catalogue raisonné of the paintings by Ludwig Meidner. Author Erik Riedel has already published the catalogue raisonné of Meidner's sketchbooks in 2013.
Owners or former owners of paintings by Ludwig Meidner are kindly asked to contact the Jewish Museum Frankfurt in order to support our research. Of course, also any other information that may help us with the project is highly appreciated.
Press Release (PDF, 160 KB); download images in our Press area (login required)
Ludwig Meidner, An Alfred Mombert (Dedicated to Alfred Mombert), 1912, oil painting, present whereabouts unknown, © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv, Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main
Catalogue raisonné of Ludwig Meidner's sketchbooks
The comprehensive catalogue raisonné of Ludwig Meidner's sketchbooks is now available. About 50 sketchbooks by the artist are published for the first time in this lavish bilingual (German/English) volume.
Gerd Presler und Erik Riedel
Werkverzeichnis der Skizzenbücher
Catalogue Raisonné of His Sketchbooks
Edited by the Jewish Museum Frankfurt am Main in cooperation with the Darmstadt City Archives
Prestel Verlag, Munich, 2013
51 sketchbooks with 1.760 sketches are documented
bilingual: German / English, 496 pp., ca. 1.900 color illus., 69,00 €
Ludwig Meidner, Self-Portrait (1922), © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv, Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main
Ludwig Meidner, one of the most outstanding artists of urban Expressionism, was forced to leave Berlin in 1935 under the pressure of inreasing anti-Semitism. He became an art teacher at a Jewish school in Cologne, and eventually emigrated with his family to England in August 1939.
After living in exile for fourteen years under poor conditions he was almost forgotten when he returned to Germany in 1953. Only gradually, his work was appreciated and exhibited, until the prices for his paintings finally skyrocketed in the 1990ies.
In September 1996 the Jewish Museum presented a first exhibition with works from Meidner's artistic bequest. The focus of this exhibition (entitled "Apokalypse und Offenbarung") was centred on works with religious subjects. Other presentations from his extensive bequest (156 paintings, 1.204 large-size drawings and numerous prints, sketchbooks, small-size drawings and sketches) followed. The Ludwig Meidner Archive endeavours to collect and document material on Meidner and his artistic work and also holds the copyrights to Meidner's œuvre.
biography of Ludwig Meidner
selected works from Meidner's artistic bequest
exhibitions with Ludwig Meidner (German)
literature on Ludwig Meidner (German)
Else Meidner's artistic development was supported by Käthe Kollwitz and Max Slevogt. For a long time she was in the shadow of her famous husband, the Expressionist painter Ludwig Meidner. She was first his pupil, later his wife and companion in exile. In contrast to her husband, she refused to return to Germany and lived until her death in London.
Her artistic work comprises numerous portraits and self-portraits, as well as some landscapes, still lifes and nudes. While the style of her early works shows some influences of Ludwig Meidner's art, she soon develops an individual style which is quite distinctive by the 1930ies. In the mid-1960ies Else Meidner gave up painting because of her failing health but also out of discouragement.
Her artistic bequest consists of 140 paintings, 1.049 drawings and studies and 110 prints.
biography of Else Meidner
selected works from Else Meidner's artistic bequest
Else Meidner, Self-Portrait with Etching Needle (about 1925), © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv, Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main
For the first time in over 50 years the Jewish Museum presented the works of Ludwig and Else Meidner together in one exhibition in 2002. The exhibition also travelled to London where it was shown at Ben Uri Gallery. Here the last joint exhibition of the two artists had been held in 1949.
Kurt Levy (Cologne 1970), Photo: Michael Röttger
Kurt Levy fled in April 1933 from Germany to the Netherlands and finally left Europe in 1935 heading for Colombia. His breakthrough as artist came with a solo exhibition at Biblioteca Nacional in Bogotá.
Levy's central artistic topics are landscapes and cityscapes. The contemporary press praised his talent to capture the atmosphere of the South-American cities and countryside. After Levy's return to Germany in 1960 he maintained his ability to discover the tensions within the apparently idyllic scenery.
His artistic bequest was donated to the Jewish Museum by his widow in 1994. It comprises 121 paintings, 348 works on paper (mainly watercolours, gouaches and ink drawings) and 30 sketch books.
In 1998 we presented a retrospective exhibition of Kurt Levy's work entitled "Heimat Exil Heimat". In 2002 this exhibition also travelled to Stadtmuseum Bonn.
The poet, publicist, gallery owner and painter Arie Goral was born as Walter Sternheim in Westphalia. During the emigration in Palestine he was part of the literary circle Der Kraal founded by Else Lasker-Schüler.
Here Goral started painting and giving art classes to the local children. From 1950 on he studyied at the art academy in Florence. After returning to Germany in 1953 he courageously raised his voice in political controversies and debates. Its is, to give just one example, only due to his insistence that the monument for Heinrich Heine, which had been removed by the Nazis, was returned to the Hamburg Rathausmarkt.
In 1997 the Ludwig Meidner Archive took over 809 paintings and 837 drawings and prints from Goral's artistic bequest. Goral painted abstract compositions which remind of landscapes and archetypal human figures. The Jewish Museum presented an overview of Goral's artistic work in the exhibition "Kein Weg als Jude und Deutscher" in 2007.
Arie Goral (Italy, about 1952)
Henry Gowa (in is studio in Nizza, 1936), Photo: estate Gowa
H. Henry Gowa was born in Hamburg in 1902. He studied in Munich and became an esteemed stage desiger in Munich, Leipzig und Frankfurt. Here he also had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Ludwig Schames in 1931.
Gowa emigrated to France in 1933. Later he had good connections to local resistance organisations and could escape deportation hidden in a mountain village in Southern France. After the war he became director of the Saarbrücken art academy and later of the Offenbach Werkkunstschule and a key figure in the cultural exchange between France and Germany.
His art is visibly influenced by the his encounters with Bonnard, Matisse und Picasso in France. Gowa's post-war work is dominated by abstract compositions exploring more universal ways of expression. His artistic bequest (more than 1.200 works and extensive biographical material) is at the Ludwig Meidner Archive on permanent loan from the Henry Gowa Society.
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