Ernst Oppler

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Self-Portrait 1903 (Israel Museum, Jerusalem)

Ernst Oppler (born September 9, 1867 in Hanover ; died March 1, 1929 in Berlin ) was a painter and graphic artist of German impressionism .

His work is characteristic of the transition from 19th century art to classical modernism at the time of Wilhelminism and the Weimar Republic . He was an early member of the Berlin Secession and enriched it as a portraitist (also with numerous self-portraits ) and as an etcher . Due to his enthusiasm for Russian ballet, which began in 1909, he is considered the most important German visual artist chronicler of stage dance in the 20th century.


Education and early years

Ernst Oppler grew up in the environment of an upper-class Jewish family in Hanover. His father was the architect Edwin Oppler , who had designed numerous buildings in the city; he died when Ernst was eleven years old. His mother was Ella Oppler, b. Cohen (1843-1912). Ernst Oppler had three younger brothers: the future sculptor Alexander Oppler (1869–1937), the later doctor Berthold Oppler (1871–1943) and the later lawyer and notary Siegmund Oppler (1873–1942). His cousin was the designer Else Oppler-Legband .

Daydream, 1892 (lost)

Ernst Oppler moved to Munich in the summer of 1886 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts . First he attended Paul Nauen's painting school as preparation . He was admitted to the academy on October 18, 1886, the same day as his later Secession colleague Lesser Ury , and from the winter semester 1886/87 he studied with Nikolaus Gysis , Ludwig von Löfftz and Karl Raupp . In addition, he took lessons at Heinrich Knirr's private drawing school . As early as 1892, Prince Regent Luitpold von Bayern acquired the painting Träumerei for his collection; the following year Oppler was honored at the World's Fair in Chicago .

Oppler's early work clearly shows the academic influences of the Munich school . Oppler had lived in Munich since 1892 at Adalbertstrasse No. 6 and later moved into an apartment at Giselastrasse No. 5, a house next to Lovis Corinth , who lived in No. 7. It can be assumed that Oppler was involved in Schwabing's artistic circles , such as Fanny zu Reventlow's circle of friends . As a member of the Free Association of XXIV , he exhibited for the first time in Berlin in 1893 in the Eduard Schulte Gallery .

At the end of the 19th century, the two leading art academies in Munich and Paris began to lose importance. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Oppler did not move to Paris, but to London in 1894 , where he stayed until 1897. Although this city and its suburbs had suffered the negative consequences of industrialization, Oppler preferred to move into the affluent west of the city (Maida Hill, Kensington and Chelsea ). There he learned to etch after his model, the painter James McNeill Whistler , and during a second stay in London he was invited to become a member of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in 1898 . Whistler was also a portrait for a series of studies by Oppler. The English influence became characteristic of his work as an etcher.

In 1895 Oppler became a member of the Munich Secession and soon a member of the Berlin Secession , which was due to Max Liebermann 's commitment . From 1895 Oppler's works were shown at six Venice Biennales . At the great art exhibition in 1901 in the Glaspalast , the Munich Secession showed Oppler's The Letter , which still clearly bears Biedermeier features. "The pleasant characteristics of Oppler's style and even a personal touch let a genre-like interior 'The Letter' come into its own" wrote Die Kunst für alle . A year later the work was purchased by the Kestner Museum in Hanover.

Time in the Netherlands and Northern France

In 1901 he moved to the small Dutch village of Sluis and devoted himself a. a. of landscape painting. At the Düsseldorf exhibition in 1902 he showed the painting Music (a subject that later played a larger role in his work). Between 1901 and 1905, under the influence of the plein air method , his painting style changed steadily from a subdued tone painting to a more intensely colored light painting that took on almost abstract features. During this time he also had close contact with Paul Baum , who also worked as an impressionist open-air painter in the Netherlands . He met u. a. Emil Pottner and Konrad von Kardorff , who came to Sluis to visit. Then Oppler traveled to Dieppe in northern France (where Carl Spitzweg and Frits Thaulow had painted before) and mainly painted beach scenes. He also went on trips to Belgium. In early 1904 the Belgian art exhibition took place in Brussels, which was entitled Exposition des peintres impressionnistes . From Germany only works by Hans von Bartels , Eugen Kampf and Ernst Oppler were shown. At the large art exhibition in Dresden, Oppler showed his self-portrait , which shows him in his capacity as a young art collector, at the Künstlerbund exhibition of the Munich Secession, in addition to a still life, the portrait of a woman on the terrace (portrait of Miss B.) .

Berlin years

Oppler at a meeting of the Secession (back center between Lovis Corinth and Emil Orlik), drawing by Erich Büttner , 1921

In 1904 he moved to Berlin on the recommendation of Paul Baum and quickly became known in the Berlin art scene. Back in Germany, he was probably the first outdoor painter. For the time being, he returned to academic painting and combined it with an impressionist brushwork. The free, color-intensive phase gave way to stricter forms over time, and Oppler now also became a sought-after and respected portraitist . As early as 1905 he was a jury member of the Secession and also took part in the Northwest German Art Exhibition in Oldenburg. In retrospect, this was viewed as an “opulent overall view of contemporary art around 1900” (and was shown again in a reconstruction 100 years later). At the large international art exhibition in Mannheim in 1907 (from which the Kunsthalle Mannheim emerged ), Oppler showed very traditional interiors with peasant girls, who were highly praised by art critics. In contrast to his Secession colleagues, Oppler was not a classic landscape painter in the romantic tradition; for him, bourgeois life was more in the foreground, be it in the country or in the city. Nature subordinates itself to the landscape cultivated by humans.

At the same time, Ernst Oppler proved himself as an eraser. When Hermann Struck published his work The Art of Etching in 1908 , he showed works by Oppler as a contemporary counterpart of old masters. In 1910 Max Landsberg designed the Villa Oppler in Grunewald for him and his brother , Oppler also had a studio apartment on Kurfürstenstraße . Furnishings made from it, including a showcase with Chinese porcelain, appear in his pictures.

Ernst Oppler in his studio on Kurfürstenstrasse while portraying Werner Sombart , 1926

Alongside the art dealer Paul Cassirer and the painter Max Liebermann, Oppler was one of the protagonists of the Berlin Secession and participated regularly in their exhibitions until 1912. The work “Tennismatch in Westende” was shown at the 20th Secession exhibition. In general, Oppler also enriched the Secession with etchings and lithographs. During the First World War, too, Oppler, along with Corinth and Eugen Spiro, was one of those who regularly attended the Secession's regulars' table in a small beer pub on Wittenbergplatz. In 1911 the Bremen artists ' dispute broke out, and Oppler was one of the signatories of the "Reply".

From 1909/1910 he sketched and etched many depictions of the popular Russian ballet . Oppler recorded his impressions of the dance performances directly during the theater visits, for which he invented a special illuminated pencil that enabled him to sketch his impressions of the movement in the darkened auditorium. In the field of the representation of ballet scenes he became the most important German chronicler of artistic dance. Later he reconstructed and concretized his sketched moment impressions of moving figures in drawings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings. The painterly tonal values ​​of his etchings, which he created with flat aquatint grains and soft ground etchings, were expressive . This technique enabled him to use a wide range of light / dark values. Ernst Oppler remained a distanced, passionate observer and cultivated ballet esthete throughout his life, which earned him the nickname of dance painter . In contrast to Edgar Degas , who had previously portrayed nameless ballerinas during the break, during training, lacing their ballet shoes and bowing and was considered a ballet painter , but actually only recorded one genre, Oppler was the dance movement itself, the respective ballet work and the individual , mostly prominent artists in the foreground ( Anna Pawlowa , Tamara Karsavina , Vaslav Nijinsky and many others). Soon Oppler was explicitly invited to draw at rehearsals and performances, which means that rehearsals with Richard Strauss in Paris are documented through drawings and etchings.

In 1913 tensions arose within the Secession. The work Advice in the Atelier was interpreted by art critics as an indication of the situation. In fact, the people portrayed Struck, Emil Pottner , Ernst Bischoff-Culm , Max Neumann and Herrstein, along with Corinth, were those members who remained loyal to the Secession. Oppler behaved loyally, but in future he refrained from participating in the annual exhibitions of the Berlin Secessionists, who had meanwhile turned to Expressionism . He remained active and was elected to the board. A photo shows him sitting in a jury between Lovis Corinth and Emil Pottner.

Small synagogue in Munkacs, etching 1915

At the end of 1914 Oppler was called up for military service. Initially on the western front, Oppler was transferred to the eastern front in 1915. There he came into contact with traditional Judaism, which as an assimilated Jew seemed alien to him on the one hand, but also aroused his interest on the other. When he returned to Berlin at the end of 1915, he processed his experiences in etchings and paintings, including in the portfolio Behind the Front of the Imperial German Army , which was also shown in the official German War Exhibition in 1916 .

In 1916 the Kestner Museum in Hanover showed a comprehensive retrospective of Oppler's graphic work. Works related to music and ballet were shown, but also critical works from the destruction of the war in Lille and the Eastern Front . On July 2, 1917, Oppler was elected to the board of the Secession. After his brother Alexander Oppler bought a house in Niendorf am Meer and set up a studio there, Ernst Oppler painted rural and landscape motifs there. He spent the summer of 1918 in Niendorf, but had to break off his stay due to tensions in the Secession.

The circumstances surrounding the "Oppler case" are not known; It is recorded that Lovis Corinth campaigned to eliminate the injustice against Oppler. Because of the participation in the funeral of Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht in 1919, on which Paul Scheinpflug in which he led Blüthner Orchestra the funeral marches of Beethoven's Eroica and Wagner's Götterdämmerung had conducted, this was violently attacked in the press. Oppler saw this as an attack on artistic freedom and, along with other artists such as Max Reinhardt or Käthe Kollwitz, was one of the signatories of a public declaration.

Ernst Oppler was a well-known public figure in Berlin. He met Eduard Plietzsch , Wilhelm von Bode's assistant at the Berlin museums , in the house of the architect Otto Bartning . Plietzsch wrote about him: “Oppler, a coolly correct gentleman, and I, we were deeply disagreeable to one another. We knew that too. But since we met again and again in the social intercourse of Berlin, in studios, at the opening of art exhibitions and on other occasions, we kept the most select polite manners and most pleasant forms in the frequent encounters, greetings and factual conversations. In this way I got along with Oppler, who couldn't stand me any more than I did him, until the end of his life more smoothly and friendlier than with some good comrades whose outbursts of temper one had to be constantly on guard against. "

Ernst Oppler also became aware of Leni Riefenstahl as a performer of modern dance and portrayed her. A photo from 1921 shows him together with his colleague Leo von König and the dancers Riefenstahl and Elisabeth Grube.

Honor grave, Thuner Platz 2-4, in Berlin-Lichterfelde

Oppler lived in Berlin until his death at the age of 61. He was buried in the Lichterfelde park cemetery; the grave still exists today as an honor grave of the city of Berlin . There was presumably a sculpture by Alexander Oppler on the grave.


Like his father, Ernst Oppler was a passionate art collector. After his death, his collection was auctioned on May 28, 1929. It mainly comprised art of the 18th century. Another part with Far Eastern art was auctioned from June 11-14, 1929 in Amsterdam.

Even though works by Oppler appeared on the art market after 1933, damage to a work has been proven in at least one case. The canvas of the lady in black in front of a showcase was pierced in the area of ​​the eyes, presumably shot through.

Karl Schwarz received works by Ernst Oppler from the family to set up the Jewish Museum in Berlin , but the museum was looted in 1938. When 16 paintings by Oppler from this inventory appeared after 1945, they were brought to Israel, five of which are part of the collection of the Israel Museum . Another part of the estate came to the USA through Oppler's niece and from there as a foundation to today's Foosaner Art Museum in Florida . The third and most extensive part of the estate was with brother Berthold Oppler, who killed himself to avoid deportation and the Holocaust . His wife sold the estate after 1945. This part is now in the German Dance Archive in Cologne .

Ernst Oppler was (like his brother Alexander) a member of the German Association of Artists .


Contemporary response

Works by Oppler have been shown at a great number of exhibitions at both the Munich and Berlin Secession and received good reviews. The seamstress work was one of those works at the Munich Secession that the Prince Regent bought. The Prussian state also decided to buy Oppler's works and exhibit them in museums as representatives of the new artistic currents. In 1917 there were some positive reviews, including Paul Erich Küppers about the etchings by Oppler. In the same year, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, an ironic diatribe was published in the Kunstblatt , in which the anonymous author (presumably the editor who promoted Expressionism, Paul Westheim ) complained that Oppler's 50th birthday received more attention in the news press than shortly before Emil Nolde's 50th birthday .

A critic of the exhibition at Fritz Gurlitt in 1925 assessed Oppler's work as outdated at that time and equated it with French impressionists, which was presumably seen against the background of Expressionism and the new objectivity as more current trends.

Lovis Corinth : Portrait of Ernst Oppler , Neue Galerie (Kassel)

During Oppler's lifetime, etchings were on the rise: The background was the success of the book Die Kunst des Etierens by Hermann Struck , which, in addition to old masters such as Dürer and Rembrandt, also paid tribute to young masters such as Kokoschka, Liebermann and Oppler from the third edition in 1919. Collecting etchings came out of the shadows, just being a cheap way of collecting paintings.

Irene Harand provided a short biography of Oppler in the Famous Jewish Artists section of the 1937 English edition of her work, His Struggle. An answer to Hitler .

Ruth Herskovits-Gutmann wrote how a self-portrait by Ernst Oppler was brought to safety in her apartment after the “ Reichskristallnacht ”; the painting played a special role, as the gaze was perceived as a reaction to the suffering experienced.

Especially during the Second World War, when many of his paintings were classified as “ degenerate art ” by the National Socialists , a number of works of art were lost or destroyed. Around a dozen works are reported missing in the Lost Art database, including one from the Curt Glaser collection . The work Praeludium , which was widely distributed as a postcard , was last seen in Wroclaw in 1945.

On the one hand, Ernst Oppler was himself a respected portraitist, on the other hand he was portrayed several times by other artists, for example in a painting by Lovis Corinth, a bust made by his brother Alexander Oppler (and photographed by Hermann Boll) and a photograph each of Yva and Abraham Pisarek .

Current perception

Due to the systematic ostracism of Jewish artists in the “Third Reich”, the confiscation of works in public museums and the persecution of family members (estate), the once very well-known impressionist in Germany was forgotten. He was rediscovered by the ballet master Peter Roleff , who was able to initiate exhibitions of at least Oppler's dance-related works in 1959/1960 in Munich, Hamburg and Hanover and in 1977 in Berlin. From the late 1960s onwards, etchings and paintings were occasionally shown in exhibitions in Germany, including in 1968 in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn and in 1975 in the Munich City Museum . The first museum solo exhibition of recent times was shown in 1984 in the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hanover. On the occasion of his 150th birthday in 2017, the German German Dance Archive in Cologne dedicated a memorial exhibition to Ernst Oppler with a monograph and various events in the supporting program.

Cecil Roth sees the etchings as Oppler's most important contribution to German impressionism.

Although Oppler only visited his hometown Hanover sporadically, Ines Katenhusen described him in 1998 as " one of the most popular artists on the official art scene of Hanover during the Tramm era ."

Regelind Heimann wrote about two works by Oppler in 2013: “Oppler's painting did not storm into the sky or open locked gates, [...] its general denominator was the certainty of a delicate taste that flowed from a genuine, inherited culture of intellectual and sensual life. "Furthermore:" No impetuous young Wilder demonstrates his expressive vision here, but an established, experienced artist speaks in the language of the departure into the modern age. "In the art magazine, Susanne Altmann rates Max Pechstein and Ernst Oppler's turn to popular culture on the stage : “The boundaries between high art and trivial culture are blurred here under a pile of tears. If you wipe it out of the corner of your eye, you get a clear view of the picture cycles by Max Pechstein [...] or Ernst Oppler. At the beginning of the 20th century they were carried away by a ballet to the piano cycle "Carnaval". "

Boxing match (in the Berlin Sports Palace) 1920. Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Today, Oppler's preference for sports motifs such as boxing, rowing, polo and tennis is also of particular interest. In comparison with Max Liebermann, who is 20 years her senior, Dorothee Hansen finds that the portrayal of the audience as a crowd is important to Oppler. Nevertheless, in contrast to Liebermann and others, Oppler shows "here more the sporty side of tennis". In the 52nd exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1927, which was organized under the title Sport , Oppler was represented with ten works and thus made a name for himself as “the most committed German painter of sporting motifs, who remained connected to the subject in the 1920s.” Hansen sums up: “In Oppler's pictures the spectators look spellbound at the players or rowers; Sport is not just a backdrop for social exchange, it also captivates the audience, which […] takes up a lot more space in the picture than the athletes themselves. ”As evidence of Oppler's contemporary interest in sport in the early 1920s, his engagement with boxing is considered which he recorded in a painting (which was in the Jewish Museum in Berlin until it was closed by the National Socialists in 1938), an etching and drawings.

Ernst Oppler on the art market

The painter and Jo, 1928

In 1917, for example, a drawing of Tamar Karsawina by Oppler cost 500 marks. In a comment by the magazine Kunst und Künstler on an auction in the inflation year 1923, it says “Of the newer ones, Kokoschka and Nolde were valued roughly equally, with an average of 50–100,000 marks. For this price you could also buy large watercolors by Pechstein. Oppler cost as much as Orlik and Meid around 25 to 90,000 marks "

Almost ten years later, in 1932, the Leo Nachtlicht collection was sold, the limits were set as follows: The price of an oil painting by Oppler was 150 RM , roughly comparable to that of a watercolor by Emil Nolde, that of a smaller oil painting by Franz Skarbina 100 RM, oil paintings by Ludwig von Hofmann and Christian Rohlfs 60 RM each, oil paintings by Paul Verfahren and Joseph Wenglein 30 RM each. A drawing by Max Liebermann was set for 40 RM, a watercolor by Kandinsky for 75 RM, a watercolor by Franz Radziwill for 50 RM, a lithograph by Käthe Kollwitz and one by Signac for 20 RM each, a Bauhaus portfolio with eight signed Pages by the Bauhaus masters for 25 RM, a book with ten signed etchings by Oppler for 40 RM, a portfolio with ten signed etchings by Franz Heckendorf for 15 RM. These comparisons show that Ernst Oppler's works were already in the higher market segment during the painter's lifetime and at the end of the Weimar Republic.

Nevertheless, Oppler's works have not yet attracted the same degree as those of other well-known German impressionists. Works have been in the five-digit range at auctions for around fifteen years (as of 2020), including a bathing life in 2004 at Grisebach 28,320 euros, the lakeside terrace in summer 14,000 CHF in 2005, in the afternoons on Dieppe beach in the Bassenge gallery in 2008, 15,000 euros and the beach promenade 15,000 euros Euros hammer price at Hauswedell & Nolte in the same year as well as the Dieppe bathing beach 20,000 Euros at Ketterer Kunst in Munich in 2010. The Chocolate Kiddies in the Berlin Wintergarten were offered in 2013 for US $ 52,242. The self-portrait with his niece, The Painter and Jo , was auctioned in 2014 for 27,500 euros.

Judging by the circumstances, the artist's graphic work is still offered relatively frequently and has so far been appropriately low-endowed. This was not always the case, a trade journal from 1923 said: "The prices for Ernst Oppler proved that the etchings by popular graphic artists are sometimes just as expensive as drawings: A drawing for 'Pavlova' cost Mark 260.–"

Selected Works

The number of works by Oppler can only be estimated, even though “100 original paintings, supplemented by drawings and etchings” were shown in an exhibition in the Leipzig art dealer PH Beyer & Sohn. Jochen Bruns' dissertation on Ernst Oppler, published in 1993 and supplemented in 1997, describes 271 paintings and 531 prints.


On the beach at Dieppe, around 1910–12
Three girls in the portico
Reading girl (in Niendorf), 1921 (missing)
Still life
  • Lute player , oil on canvas, 1898
  • At prayer , oil on canvas H 97 × W 64 cm, around 1900.
  • Workers in shop , oil on canvas H 72 × W 60 cm, around 1900.
  • Zimmer , oil on canvas, 1900, Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne Florida
  • Travemünde (Dutch city view with river and boats), oil on canvas H 39 × W 62 cm, around 1900.
  • The Ball (Le bal) , oil on canvas, H 35.6 × W 45.6 cm, around 1900
  • The letter , oil on canvas, shown at the Munich Secession in 1901, today: Kestner Museum , Hanover
  • Portrait of a Lady (Ritratto di Signora) , oil on canvas 1903 (shown at the Venice Biennale 1903)
  • Portrait of James Simon , oil on canvas 1904. In the family property of Simon's descendants until 2017 , donation from great-grandson David Westphal to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • Bückeburg peasant women , oil on canvas 1905.
  • At the piano , oil on canvas 1906, Wvz. Bruns G-55 (reproduction titled Prelude marketed as a contemporary postcard).
  • Old church portal , ( Eduard Arnhold collection , acquired from Cassirer 1907)
  • Winter evening in the harbor , shown at the art exhibition of the Munich Secession in 1908
  • Tennis in the Dunes , oil on canvas 1909, Telfair Museum of Art , Savannah, Georgia
  • Backyard with three women , oil on canvas H 68.5 × W 48 cm
  • Frau Hirth , oil on canvas (also used as the cover of Jugend magazine , No. 46, 1909)
  • Altfrauenmarkt in Amsterdam , oil on canvas 37.4 × 46.2 cm, 1908 Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover
  • Street scene in the Dutch village of Sluis (Village market) , oil on canvas H 46 × W 61 cm, 1910.
  • Three girls in the arcade , oil on canvas H 55.5 × W 85.5 cm
  • A pair of violinists shown at the Brussels International Exhibition - 1910
  • The Seamstress , oil on canvas, Neue Pinakothek , Munich
  • Reading girl , oil on canvas
  • A Man Standing Near the Door (Portrait of Paul Baum in St. Anne) , oil on canvas 92 × 66, 1903 or 1904, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
  • Self-portrait , oil on canvas 93 × 98.5, Israel Museum , Jerusalem
  • Double portrait of Kommerzienrat Georg Spiegelberg and his wife Caroline , oil on canvas, Lower Saxony State Museum, Hanover
  • A Market In A Continental Square , oil on canvas H 18.40 × W 24.20 cm
  • Women and children on the beach in Dieppe , oil on canvas H 23.5 × W 29.5 cm, 1910–12
  • At the beach of Dieppe (At the beach) , oil on canvas H 45 × W 61 cm, 1910.
  • Castle park in the snow (winter 1910/11 in Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe Kassel)
  • Children's games on the beach at Ostend , ( Eduard Arnhold collection , acquired from Cassirer 1912)
  • Fireworks , oil on canvas H 24 × W 19 cm, 1910.
  • Afternoon on the beach at Dieppe , oil on canvas H 38.5 × W 61 cm, 1912.
  • Stormy day on the beach in Blankenberghe , oil on canvas 62 × 338 cm, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
  • Anna Pawlowa and partners in Bacchanale , oil on canvas 1912, two variants, German Dance Archive Cologne and Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne Florida
  • Scheherazade , oil on canvas 1912, Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne Florida
  • Synagogue in Hungary , oil on canvas, Hecht Museum Haifa
  • Anna Pavlova in the Dying Swan , series of oil paintings
  • Strandpromenade (Festivities on the beach with a pier in the distance) , oil on canvas H 38 × W 61.5 cm, 1913.
  • View from the window (possibly the work "at the studio window"), oil on canvas H 61 × W 51 cm, Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover
  • Reading children , oil on canvas 109 × 93.5 cm 1913, ( Great Berlin Art Exhibition Düsseldorf 1917, since 1917 in the National Gallery , Berlin)
  • River bridge in early spring , oil on canvas H 39 × W 44.5 cm
  • Mortar near Tucholka , oil on canvas H 50 × W 65.5 cm, 1915, in the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2015
  • House and gardens (View of a house through a wooded garden) , oil on canvas H 40.5 × W 30.5 cm
  • Boxing match (in the Berlin Sports Palace), oil on canvas H 45 × W 65 cm, Israel Museum Jerusalem
  • Portrait of Karl Schwarz , oil on canvas, 1920
  • Mrs. Marie Luise Brewitt , oil on canvas H 92 × W 74.5 cm, 1920
  • Lady in black in front of a showcase , oil on canvas H 91.5 × W 74 cm 1922 (temporarily in the Ministry of Finance of the GDR, today in the National Gallery, Berlin)
  • Ballet rehearsal / Before the performance , oil on canvas, H 50 × W 38 cm (1929, exhibition "Newer works of art from Dresden's private collection, Art Academy, Brühlsche Terrasse. Saxon Art Association)
  • Chocolate Kiddies in the Berlin Winter Garden , oil on canvas, 50 × 66 cm, 1926.
  • Woman in costume , oil on canvas H 76 × W 102 cm
  • Evening on the Baltic Sea , oil on canvas H 50 × W 65 cm
  • View from the terrace of Dieppe Cathedral , oil on canvas H 47 × W 62 cm
  • Dutch street scene with figures , oil on canvas H 80 × W 64 cm
  • Woman in Orchard Reaching for Fruit , oil on canvas 1923, Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne Florida
  • Rabbi , oil on canvas H 61 × W 46 cm
  • Portrait of Jan Doodt (Man in Hat) , oil on canvas
  • In thoughts (young couple at a table) , oil on canvas H 50 × W 59 cm
  • The painter and Jo , double portrait, oil on canvas, H 64.5 × W 50.3 cm, 1928.
  • Tennis court , painting as a German contribution to the cultural competitions for the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam .
  • Summer bar by the water with numerous guests , oil on canvas H 45 × W 64 cm
  • Still life (tulips) Lower Saxony State Museum for Art and Cultural History , Oldenburg
  • Summer afternoon on the beach at Dieppe in the city of Berlin is missing.
  • Windy morning in the North Sea resort , oil on canvas 38 cm × 60 cm, is considered missing
  • Music , connection for historical art, Berlin

Further works can be found in museums in Venice, Wiesbaden and Mannheim, for example. The works that were in Paul Oppler's villa in the Isar floodplain were donated by him to the city of Munich.


  • Fireworks , watercolor on wove paper, H 24 × W 18.9 cm, 1911.
  • Slide show at the Berlin Secession , watercolor, 1917.
  • The black violinist , watercolor 1926.
  • Spanish dancer , watercolor drawing, H 26.6 × W 37 cm

Etchings, lithographs and drawings

The German Dance Archive Cologne owns more than 1000 sketches and drawings as well as more than 1000 etchings (especially interesting because of the different printing conditions) by Ernst Oppler. The Foosaner Art Museum in Melbourne, Florida also owns several hundred prints by him. Here are a few examples that refer to other public collections.

Anna Pavlova in the Dying Swan , San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Illustrations and commercial art

  • Oppler illustrated a. a. Schiller's Ghost Seer , E. T. A. Hoffmann's Musical Novellas and Oscar Wilde's Florentine Tragedy .
  • In 1904 Ernst Oppler was the winner of the competition for advertising designs for joint advertising by Ludwig Stollwerck and Otto Henkell . Other winners were Julius Diez , Ludwig Hohlwein and 19 other artists.
  • For example, the title pages of the magazine Jugend No. 46/1909 and No. 10/1919 are from Oppler.

Exhibitions (selection)

One of the secessionist exhibitions in the Munich Hofarkaden, where works by Oppler were shown

Since 1892 works by Oppler have been shown in over 100 exhibitions, in addition to the exhibitions of the Munich and Berlin Secession at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th Venice Biennale, as well as u. a. at the following exhibitions:

  • 34th Exhibition of Modern Artists Glasgow , 1895.
  • Joint exhibition of the Bremen Art Association , 1902.
  • Northwest German Art Exhibition, Oldenburg 1905.
  • Ernst Oppler exhibition , Kölnischer Kunstverein 1906.
  • Joint exhibition of the Hamburg Art Association , 1906.
  • Exhibition of Contemporary German Paintings , Art Institute Chicago, 1907.
  • Exhibition of paintings by Adolf Seel, Ernst Oppler's and JG Dreydorff's , Kunstverein Wiesbaden 1907.
  • E. Oppler , Cologne Art Association 1910.
  • Ernst Oppler , Museum Association Aachen 1910.
  • Ernst Oppler: Etchings and lithographs , Kestner Museum Hannover 1916.
  • Graphic sheets by Ernst Oppler , Erfurt 1917.
  • Ernst Oppler: Ballet , exhibition at Fritz Gurlitt , Berlin 1925.
  • Ernst Oppler: Ballet, paintings, pastels and graphics , Hermann Abels Art Salon, Cologne 1925.
  • Ernst Oppler: The ballet. PH Beyer and Son, Leipzig 1925.
  • Ernst Oppler "Dance and Art" , 1926.
  • Ernst Oppler , Cologne Art Association 1927.
  • Ernst Oppler , Hotel Jean Charpentier, Paris 1927.
  • Ernst Oppler memorial exhibition , Berlin Secession 1929 and Neue Pinakothek Munich 1929.
  • Ernst and Alexander Oppler , Jewish Museum Berlin 1937.
  • Ernst Oppler exhibition, ballet on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his death, Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich and Dance Archive Hamburg 1959, as well as the Hannover Art Association in the Hanover Opera House in 1960.
  • Ernst Oppler: Pastels, hand drawings and graphics , Graphisches Kabinett, Galerie Pels-Leusden, Berlin (West) 1977.
  • Ernst Oppler etchings , Galerie Conzen Düsseldorf 1978.
  • Ernst Oppler , Association of City Exhibitions of the Art Association for the Rhineland and Westphalia 1979.
  • Ernst Oppler: (Hanover 1867–1929 Berlin) , Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover, State Gallery 1984.
  • Ernst Oppler. Selected etchings from the permanent collection , Brevard Art Center and Museum, Melbourne / Florida 1989.
  • Ernst Oppler, 1867–1929: Select paintings and graphic works from the Israeli collections , Mishkan Le'Omanut Museum of Art, Ein Harod 1992.
  • The Ballets Russes in Berlin Art , Georg-Kolbe-Museum 1997.
  • Ernst Oppler: German Impressionist , Foosaner Art Museum, Melbourne / Florida 2012.
  • Berlin Impressionism - Works of the Secession from the Berlin National Gallery , 2012–2014.
  • Berlin Secession and Russian Ballet: Ernst Oppler , German Dance Archive Cologne 2017.
  • Berlin Secession and Russian Ballet: Ernst Oppler , German Dance Archive Cologne in the Kunsthaus Stade 2018.


  • Karl Schaefer: The graphic work of Ernst Opplers. Catalog of the artist's etchings and lithographs. L. Möller, Lübeck 1916.
  • Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler 1867–1929. Select Paintings and Graphic Works from the Israeli Collections. Mishkan Le'Omanut Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel 1992.
  • Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler 1867–1929. Life and work with a catalog of his oil paintings and prints. 3 volumes. Lit, Münster 1993, ISBN 3-89473-406-X .
    : German Dance Archive Cologne (ed.). Extended CD-ROM edition. Lit, Münster 1997, ISBN 3-8258-3317-8 .
  • Frank-Manuel Peter : The painter / The Painter Ernst Oppler. Berliner Secession & Russian Ballet / The Berlin Secession & The Russian Ballet. Wienand, Cologne 2017. ISBN 978-3-86832-391-7 .
Essays etc. (selection)
  • Max Osborn : A painter of the North Sea baths. In: Modern Art (in master woodcuts based on paintings and sculptures by famous contemporary masters). Volume 25, 1911, pp. 249-252.
  • Paul Erich Küppers : Ernst Oppler as a graphic artist. In: Art for everyone. 32, 1916/17, pp. 140-149 ( digitized version ).
  • Fritz Stahl : Ernst Oppler. In: Velhagen & Klasings monthly books. 38th year 1923/24, Volume 1, pp. 529-545.
  • Wolfgang Bruhn : Ernst Oppler and the dance. In memory of the dead artist (1867–1929). In: The dance. Vol. 2, H. 11 / September 1929, pp. 5-8.
  • Oppler, Ernst . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 26 : Olivier – Pieris . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1932, p. 34 .
  • Ernst Oppler - pastels, hand drawings and graphics. Graphisches Kabinett of the Pels-Leusden Gallery, Berlin 1977 (directory of the sales exhibition).
  • Joseph Winans: Notes on Whistler Portraits by Ernst Oppler. In: Journal for Art History. 46, 1983, pp. 321-326.

Web links

Commons : Ernst Oppler  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Irmgard Wirth: Berlin painting in the 19th century. 1990, p. 455.
  2. F.-M. Peter: The painter Ernst Oppler (...). Wienand, Cologne 2017, p. 23.
  3. ^ Matriculation book of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts from 1884 , entry No. 342: Oppler Ernst, from Hanover (Prussia), whose father: Baurat †, religion: Israelite, age: 19, art subject: I. Curs preschool, day of admission: October 18, 1886 ( digitized version ).
  4. German Biographical Encyclopedia. Volume 7: Menghin - Pötel. Saur, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-598-25037-8 , p. 596.
  5. ^ Art and antiquity on the Rhine. 14, 1956, p. 26.
  6. ^ Correspondances of James McNeill Whistler, University Glasgow , accessed February 3, 2016.
  7. a b Börsenblatt for the German book trade. No. 43, 1987, p. 2798.
  8. ^ Paul Erich Küppers: Ernst Oppler as a graphic artist. In: Art for everyone. 32, 1916/17, p. 148 f. ( Digitized version ).
  9. ^ Profile of the artist on , accessed on February 3, 2016.
  10. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 16, 1900, p. 268 ( digitized version ).
  11. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 18, 1902, SC ( digitized version ).
  12. onbekend & Monnom [veuve]: Exposition des peintres impressionnistes, Bruxelles, 1904. Europeana, accessed on December 12, 2015 .
  13. ^ Karl Scheffler: Art and artist: Illustrated monthly for fine arts and applied arts. Volume 2, Bruno Cassirer, 1904, p. 206
  14. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture 20, 1904, p. 40 ( digitized version ).
  15. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 19, 1903, p. 488 ( digitized version ); Exhibition catalog X. Exhibition of the Munich Secession: The German Association of Artists (in connection with an exhibition of exquisite products of the arts in the craft). Publishing house F. Bruckmann, Munich 1904 (p. 28: Oppler, Ernst, Sluis (Holland). No. 118: On the terrace (portrait of Miss B.) ).
  16. ^ Hans Hertzfeld: History of Brandenburg and Berlin. Volume 3, de Gruyter, p. 590.
  17. website, accessed December 20, 2013.
  18. Landesmuseum Oldenburg ( Memento of the original from December 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Website accessed December 17, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 22, 1906, p. 494 ( digitized version ).
  20. Emuna Horizons. P. 34 No. 9, 1974 Emuna Publishing Association.
  21. See e.g. B. his painting Lady in Black in front of a showcase .
  22. German Biographical Encyclopedia. Volume 7, 2007, p. 596.
  23. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 25, 1909, p. 437 ( digitized version ).
  24. Irmgard Wirth: Berlin Painting in the 19th Century: From the Time of Frederick the Great to the First World War. 1990, p. 455.
  25. ^ Karl Schwarz (ed.): Jewish art, Jewish artists. Memories of the first director of the Berlin Jewish Museum. Hentrich and Hentrich, Teetz 2001, ISBN 3-933471-05-2 , p. 227.
  26. In the struggle for art: the answer to the “protest of German artists”: with contributions from German artists, gallery managers, collectors and writers. Piper, Munich 1911, p. 158 digitized .
  27. Tanzarchiv Köln shows Ernst Oppler's works - Berlin Secession and Russian Ballet. Interview Frank-Manuel Peter on report-K , accessed on May 8, 2017 .
  28. ^ Paul Erich Küppers: Ernst Oppler as a graphic artist. In: Art for everyone. 32, 1916/17, p. 146 ( digitized version ).
  29. Art for everyone: painting, sculpture, graphics, architecture. 68, 1928, p. 102 ( digitized version ).
  30. Kunstaust. Berlin. gettyimages, accessed February 6, 2017 .
  31. a b Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler (1867–1929); Life and work; with a catalog of his oil paintings and prints. Volume 1, Chapter V.
  32. ^ First German war museum. In: Frankfurter Zeitung. January 10, 1916 ( ).
  33. Art Chronicle. Weekly for arts and crafts. 27, 1916, column 175 ( digitized version ).
  34. Art Chronicle. Weekly for arts and crafts. 28, 1917, col. 461 ( digitized version ).
  35. ^ The agitation against the Blüthner Orchestra. In: Forward . February 18, 1919.
  36. Michael Walter: Hitler in the opera. German musical life 1919–1945. Metzler, Stuttgart 2000, p. 23. (Also published in: Political Art. In: Frankfurter Zeitung. April 22, 1919.)
  37. Eduard Plietzsch: … art is serene. Gütersloh 1955, p. 103, quoted from Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler , Volume 1, p. 142.
  38. Joachim Hans Seyppel: Lesser Ury: the painter of the old city . 1987, p. 81.
  39. Description of Ernst Oppler's grave with a short biography on .
  40. Ernst Oppler estate, Berlin. French and Dutch furniture from the 18th century, oriental knotted carpets and Aubussons from the 17th and 18th centuries, paintings by old masters, ceramics from Persia and China; from German and Italian collections: applied arts in silver, wood and metal, furniture from the Italian Renaissance and German Baroque ...; [Auctioned May 28, 1929]. Jacob Hecht, Art and Auction House, Charlottenburg . Berlin 1929 ( digitized ).
  41. Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler. Dissertation. CD-ROM. G-192 Portrait of a woman in black.
  42. Jochen Bruns: Ernst Oppler (1867–1929); Life and work ; with a catalog of his oil paintings and prints. Volume 1 Chapter VI.
  43. ^ Full members of the German Association of Artists since it was founded in 1903 / Oppler, Ernst , accessed on April 14, 2018.
  44. ^ Horst Ludwig: Art, money and politics around 1900 in Munich. Forms and goals of art financing and art policy during the Prince Regent era (1886–1912). P. 163.
  45. ^ Kristina Kratz-Kessemeier: Art for the Republic: The Art Policy of the Prussian Ministry of Culture. 2008, p. 504.
  46. ^ NN: Public. In: Das Kunstblatt, 1st year 1917, no. 11, p. 350.
  47. ^ Rahel E. Feilchenfeldt-Steiner, Thomas Raff: A festival of the arts: Paul Cassirer - the art dealer as publisher. P. 130.
  48. Irene Harand: His Struggle: (an Answer to Hitler). 1937, p. 225.
  49. Ruth Herskovits-Gutmann: Emigration not possible for the time being: the story of the Herskovits family. P. 67.
  50. ^ German graphics from the last hundred years from the Karl August Reiser collection, Bonn. Exhibition in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum. Bonn, April 3–26. May 1968. Rheinland-Verlag, Düsseldorf 1968, p. 22.
  51. ^ Ernst Oppler (Hanover 1867 - 1929 Berlin). Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover, State Gallery, January - April 1984. Hanover 1984.
  52. ^ Cecil Roth: Jewish Art. An Illustrated History. Tel Aviv 1961, p. 221.
  53. ^ Ines Katenhusen: Art and Politics: Hanover's confrontations with modernity in the Weimar Republic. Hanover 1998, p. 192.
  54. a b auction catalog (PDF).
  55. ^ Preference for sports motifs - The German impressionist Ernst Oppler. In: Dorothee Hansen, Martin Faass (eds.): Max Liebermann. From leisure time to modern sport. Hirmer Verlag, Munich 2016 (Kunsthalle Bremen 2016, Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee 2017), pp. 119–121, here 120, 121.
  56. Cf. F.-M.Peter: Ernst Oppler (...). Cologne 2017, p. 41.
  57. Catalog of the 30th exhibition of the Berlin Secession, spring 1917, no.274.
  58. ^ Art and artists. Illustrated monthly for fine arts and applied arts 21, 1923, p. 247 ( digitized version ).
  59. Collection of Dipl.-Ing. Leo Nachtlicht and contributions from other possessions: books from the 16th to 20th centuries, graphics, paintings, hand drawings, Japanese and Chinese woodcuts, applied arts, textiles; Saturday, February 6, 1932 (= catalog no. 170). Max Perl, Berlin 1932 ( digitized ).
  60. Kunsthandel Liedigk on web.artendung, accessed on December 16, 2013.
  61. ^ Villa Grisebach, auction May 2014, No. 549.
  62. ^ Emil Heilbut, Caesar Flaischlen: Art and Artists. 22, 1923, p. 155.
  63. p. 1009 of a newspaper on: (PDF).
  64. a b c d Description ( Memento of the original from December 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at, accessed February 3, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  65. ^ Fritz Stahl: Ernst Oppler. In: Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte, Volume 38, 1923/24, Volume 1, pp. 529–545, illus. P. 530.
  66. Michael Dorrmann: Eduard Arnhold (1849-1925). A biographical study. 2002, p. 355.
  67. Description on ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed February 3, 2016 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  68. ^ G. Stilke: World Exhibition Brussels 1910: German Reich official catalog. P. 50.
  69. ^ The oil painting in the collection of the Neue Pinakothek, accessed April 12, 2018.
  70. ^ Yearbook of the Provincial Museum in Hanover covering the period April 1, 1901–1904  - Internet Archive
  71. a b ( Memento of the original from December 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) Accessed December 14, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  72. Michael Dorrmann: Eduard Arnhold (1849-1925): A biographical study, 2002. S. 355
  73. ^ Photo Marburg, archive search online, accessed on December 15, 2013.
  74. The Lübeckers in Portrait, 1780-1930: on the fiftieth anniversary of the Behnhaus as a museum of modern art, p. 10
  75. ^ Photo Marburg, archive search online, accessed on December 15, 2013.
  76. Entry on , accessed on May 17, 2020 (archive link)
  77. Entry on , accessed on February 3, 2016
  78. Entry on , accessed on February 3, 2016
  79. ^ Alfred Neumeyer, Alexander Karl Neumeyer, Roberto Schopflocher, Imanuel Noy-Meir, Rainer Traub: "We want to turn the curse into a blessing": three generations of the Jewish Neumeier family: an autobiographical trilogy. P. 22
  80. Catalog of the 30th exhibition of the Berlin Secession, spring 1917, No. 273 (price: 500 marks).
  81. F.-M. Peter: The painter Ernst Oppler. Wienand Verlag Cologne 2017, pp. 20 and 21.
  82. access on 14 December, 2013.
  83. The etching in the Beethoven-Haus catalog, accessed April 12, 2018.
  84., accessed on December 17, 2013.
  85. a b Accessed December 14, 2013.
  86., accessed on December 14, 2013.
  87., accessed April 15, 2018.
  88. ^ Ernst Oppler - From the collections of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
  89. Catalog interministériel des Dépôts d'Oeuvres d'Art de l'Etat, accessed on September 19, 2015.
  90. ^ Karl Hofacker: Kunstgewerbeblatt. 16th year, Leipzig 1905, no. 1, p. 19.
  91. Listed on ( accessed on February 6, 2017).
  92. Description in Art for All 22, 1906, p. 29. ( digitized version ).
  93. ( ) (.pdf) Accessed December 14, 2013
  94. ^ Catalog of paintings by Adolf Seel, Ernst Oppler, J [ohann] G [eorg] Dreydorff. Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, May to June 1907.
  95. ^ Website of the Kölnischer Kunstverein , accessed April 12, 2018.
  96., accessed on December 14, 2013.
  97. ^ Art and Art Market. S. viii, 1925.