LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Written Image

26 Jul 2014 - 18 Jan 2015

Top: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Triumph of Love (Triumph der Liebe), 1911
The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies © Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Courtesy Ingeborg & Dr. Wolfgang Henze-Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern

Bottom: Oskar Kokoschka
The Sailboat (Das Segelschiff), from The Dreaming Boys (Die träumenden Knaben), 1908
lithograph printed in black, blue, yellow, green, and red
The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, purchased with funds provided by Anna Bing Arnold, Museum Associates Acquisition Fund, and deaccession funds © 2014 Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zürich
Books and Portfolios from the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies
26 July 2014 – 18 January 2015

Artists, designers, and publishers frequently collaborated in early 20th-century Germany, producing portfolios, periodicals, and books that became an arena for exchange and a vehicle for promoting modernist innovations.

For artists including Oskar Kokoschka and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, prints issued as single sheets, in portfolios and in bound volumes were an expedient and flexible way of disseminating aesthetic novelties to a wide audience. Literary themes, inspired by old and modern masters, pervade these artists’ work, and were especially well suited to be developed as serial imagery.

Artists such as Ernst Barlach, Kokoschka, and Conrad Felixmüller were also authors who wrote novels, plays, and poems that they illustrated. After World War I, artists—owing largely to the encouragement of publishers and dealers, and supported by Germany’s important printing industry and advancements in technology—worked in styles as diverse as Dada, Neue Sachlichkeit, and the Bauhaus, continuing to invest their creative efforts into books, periodicals, and print portfolios.

Selected from works in the Prints and Drawings Department and from the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at LACMA, this exhibition explores the rich and varied dialogue between the written word and the print in all its manifestations.

Tags: Ernst Barlach, Conrad Felixmüller, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka