Berlin: Gust. Kiepenheuer Verlag, 1919. First edition. Softcover. Missing original woodcuts. Small Quarto. 88pp. Original wraps with modern design and gallery initials on cover, protected by modern mylar. Published on the occasion of the reopening of the Galerie Alfred Flechtheim with an exhibition of Expressionist work. The reopening was celebrated with a vernissage at Easter 1919 and the exhibition ran until the middle of May.
In his introduction entitled "The New Art" Wilhelm Uhde describes the changing perception of art, not without nationalistic undertones and a brusk stab at the "superficiality" of the French Impressionists, juxtaposing the work of the French masters with the new direction taken by Seurat, Picasso, Braque and German Expressionism which all liberate painting from the reign of the "twinkling eye" and reconnects it to human interests, establishing a new platform by representing the content of art through the power of a great sentiments, crediting van Gogh with having taken the first step in this direction. The brochure includes contributions by Walter Cohen, Wilhelm Hausenstein on Art and Revolution, Hermann von Wedderkop on Revolution in Art, Paul Westheim and others. It is illustrated with b/w reproductions of art throughout. The inside front cover contains the foreword of the first exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1919. The next Flechtheim exhibition, Impressionists, is announced on back cover and Flechtheim publications on inside back cover. Text in German. Wraps with light wear along edges. Signature pp. 23-26 loose but present. Good condition. Item #48702
Alfred Flechtheim (1878-1937) was a German art dealer, art collector, journalist and publisher. Flechtheim appeared in the art world shortly after 1900, with a collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne; French Avant garde early works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and André Derain; paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, Maurice de Vlaminck, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, and the Rhein Expressionists Heinrich Campendonk, August Macke, Heinrich Nauen (de), and Paul Adolf Seehaus (de). Flechtheim opened his first gallery in Düsseldorf in 1913, followed by galleries in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Vienna. Flechtheim served in the German Army during World War I, but not at the front. His art business collapsed during the war but he reopened in Düsseldorf in 1919. In 1921 he founded "Der Querschnitt" (the Cross Section), a cultural magazine. Legendary, glamorous parties in Flechtheim's gallery overflowed with the glitterati of the new Berlin: movie stars, titans of finance, prizefighters and artists of every stripe. As Hitler rose to power in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Flechtheim became a bête noire because of the art he espoused and championed. In 1933, Sturmabteilung men broke up an auction of Flechtheim's paintings. The Nazis aryanized Flechtheim's gallery, as they would many other Jewish businesses, and turned it over to Flechtheim's business manager, Alex Vömel. After the war, former party member Vömel said he didn't even remember who Flechtheim was. The Nazis seized and sold off Flechtheim's private collection, as well as the contents of his gallery. Emigration and Death Six months after the Nazis came to power in 1933, Flechtheim, penniless, fled to Paris, and tried to find work with his former business partner, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Flechtheim subsequently organized exhibits in London of the paintings of exiled German artists. In London, Flechtheim slipped on a patch of ice, was taken to a hospital, punctured his leg on a rusty nail in his hospital bed, developed septicemia leading to amputation of his leg, and died.