CONRAD FELIXMÜLLER (1897-1977)
German printmaker and painter, the youngest of a second generation of Expressionists who emerged in Dresden in the wake of the Brücke artists.
By age eighteen, he was working as an independent artist and had taught himself the various printmaking techniques. In 1915, he began making regular visits to Berlin, where he shared a studio with Ludwig Meidner, frequented Expressionist soirées, and, in 1916, exhibited at the Galerie Der Sturm. War and friendship with socialist publisher Franz Pfemfert fostered increasingly radical political stance. From 1917 to 1923, Felixmüller published many drawings and woodcuts in Pfemfert’s journal, Die Aktion, as well as other leftist Expressionist periodicals, such as the Dresden-based Menschen [Mankind], which he cofounded in 1918. He also helped found several revolutionary artists’ organization in Dresden.
He favoured portraiture, including many loving depictions of his wife and children, as well as images of the working class and their plight. He taught etching to Otto Dix in 1919/20. Printmaking spanned his entire career from 1913 to 1976 and was a source of earliest success. Ultimately, he made 699 woodcuts, etchings and lithographs. Former membership of the Communist party made him a target of the Nazis, who seized and destroyed works they deemed degenerate (MoMA/German Expressionism, The Graphic Impulse).
Conrad Felixmüller | Katalog seiner Holzschnitte, Lithographien, Radierung [= Catalogue of his Woodcuts, Lithographs, Etchings]. Mit vier Originalholzschnitten [= With 4 original woodcuts]. Nebst Beiträgen von ihm selbst, Theodor Däubler und H.Z. (= Hugo Zehder).
Dresden, Verlag Emil Richter, (Bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Fritz Boettger, gedruckt bei Albert Hille), Spring 1919.
4to, publisher’s grey wrappers, front cover with the name of the artist printed in black, chemise and slipcase by Atelier Devauchelle. (24) pp. Text contributions by the artist and Theodor Däuber and list of 73 available and out-of-print graphics from 1913-1919. 11 reproductions of the artist’s works in the text (of which 4 full-page) and four original full-page woodcuts. Text and illustrations printed on blue Vélin paper; the woodcuts printed on handmade laid paper (Büttenpapier). Complete.
First and only edition.
Exceedingly rare 1919 self-published catalogue of the artist’s work. It includes his essay “Exaltationes meiner Seele” [= Exaltations of My Soul], a poignant account of his war experience, first published in the magazine Menschen in 1918. A passionate description of life in a country war hospital, “epileptics, lunatics, paralyzed, wounded, all human beings like me”.
A very good copy.
Ref. Jentsch, Illustrierte Bücher des deutschen Expressionismus, p. 146, 47.
Price on request.