Erich Waske

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Erich Waske (born January 24, 1889 in Berlin ; † June 26, 1978 there ) was a German painter. He was one of the first expressionists who became known under the group names Berliner Sezession , Die Brücke and Neue Berliner Secession .

Erich Waske studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin-Charlottenburg from 1906 to 1908, in 1909 he stayed in Munich and Schleissheim for half a year . The infantry service in Braunschweig followed in 1909/1910 . In 1910 he made his debut with a picture on the "Rejected by the Secession Berlin 1910", which the newly founded New Secession Berlin organizes. In 1911 he took part in an exhibition at the Munich Secession . In 1912 Waske went to Paris to study for half a year . Returning to Berlin, he regularly took part in the exhibitions of the New Secession, of which he was a member from 1918 to 1933, and in the exhibitions of the Berlin Academy. In 1927 he was also represented at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition . Waske stated in this context u. a. alongside Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , Erich Heckel , Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff . In an exhibition in Hanover in 1929, some of his pictures were traded more highly than those of those painting colleagues who are still well known today. The Berlin Secession dedicated a solo exhibition to him in 1931 in the Berlin gallery XY . Erich Waske was also a member of the German Association of Artists . a. at the DKB annual exhibition in 1929 in the Cologne State House at the Rheinpark and took part in the last annual exhibition in the Hamburger Kunstverein in 1936 , which was forcibly closed prematurely by the Reichskunstkammer . The classification as a “degenerate artist” in 1937 as well as the destruction of his apartment and studio during a bombing raid on Berlin in 1943 and the evacuation of the artist to East Prussia from 1943 to 1946 put a stop to his successful career.

Waske painted still lifes, figures, landscapes with monumental force and uncompromisingness. The motif of the erupting volcano and the crater islands of volcanic origin rising out of the sea recur again and again in his landscapes: for him it was a symbol of the creative power of nature, as the demonic second side of which the elemental force of thunderstorms and sea storms can be seen, too a frequently recurring motif. Waske was a “color symphonist” who used strongly expressive colors alongside dull colors. The coloring and form-finding are comparable to oil paintings by Schmidt-Rottluff. Will Grohmann in his foreword to the exhibition catalog: 'Erich Waske, Painting and Monumental Drafts' (Berlin 1958) coined the term “modified bridge style” for Waske's art. His graphic oeuvre consists primarily of the portfolios The Revelation of John (12 copperplate prints), The Legend of the Good Samaritan (5 watercolors), and the Simson cycle (16 lithographs).

Waske also worked as a designer for glass windows, mosaics and wall pictures, in 1929 he received first prize in the German competition for glass painting. His important architectural work included the painting of the triumphal arch in the Protestant church on Hohenzollernplatz in Berlin-Wilmersdorf by the architect Fritz Höger, as well as the 1935 design for the monumental, 60-meter-long wall frieze of the Tannenberg monument , which was due to the outbreak of the Second World War however did not come to fruition. After the end of the war he had two small solo exhibitions in Schöneberg Town Hall (1951 and 1953) and took part in the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1959 in the exhibition halls at the radio tower for the last time .

Erich Waske is currently largely forgotten. Not least the National Socialist cultural policy (“degenerate art”) contributed to this. After the war he carried out work on the design of Berlin schools. There is not much more to be found in the current artists' encyclopedias about his life and works after the Second World War . Only now and then do galleries try to bring it back to the attention of the art-interested public.

Erich Waske is represented in the National Gallery in Berlin with the picture Hafenmole (1931), which was acquired in exchange in 1936 . A second picture acquired by the Nationalgalerie was confiscated and destroyed in 1937 as part of the “Degenerate Art” campaign.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The link provides information about the Berlin Secession and the 1914 exhibition:
  2. s. Catalog of the Deutscher Künstlerbund Cologne 1929. May – September 1929 in the State House , M. DuMont Schauberg, Cologne 1929. (p. 33: Waske, Erich, Berlin. 309: Pariser Brasserie. )
  3. s. Members and Directory of participants of the DKB from 1936, in: 1936 forbidden pictures , exhibition catalog for the 34th annual exhibition of the DKB in Bonn, Deutscher Künstlerbund, Berlin 1986. (p. 98/99)
  4. The expression comes from F. Stahl in the article "Erich Waske" in: Thieme-Becker, General Lexicon of Visual Artists, Volume 35, p. 172
  5. More details on the architect Höger and the church in: Claudia Ingrid Turtenwald: Fritz Höger (1877–1949), architect between stone and steel, glass and concrete, Münster 2003, pp. 105 ff.
  6. Hans Vollmer (Ed.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists of the XX. Century. Fifth volume (VZ / supplements AG) , EA Seemann, Leipzig 1999 (study edition). ISBN 3-363-00730-2 (p. 83)