Julius Meier-Graefe

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lovis Corinth : Portrait of Julius Meier-Graefe , 1912–1914

Julius Meier-Graefe (born June 10, 1867 in Resicabánya ( German  Reschitz ), Kingdom of Hungary , Austria-Hungary , † June 5, 1935 in Vevey , Switzerland ) was a German art historian and writer . He is considered an important champion of impressionism .


After studying engineering in Munich , Meier-Graefe, son of the engineer Eduard Meier and brother of the entrepreneur Max Meier , has devoted himself to historical and art-historical studies since he moved to Berlin in 1890. He wrote his first art critical work in 1894 on Edvard Munch . In 1895 he was one of the founders of the magazine " Pan ".

Together with Siegfried Bing he visited Henry van de Velde on a tour in 1895 . Meier-Graefe wanted to ask, on behalf of the editorial committee to which he belonged, for van de Velde's consent that his name can be put on the list of foreign employees. Meier-Graefe had tried in vain to convince his editorial friends of the need to set up a company similar to that of Siegfried Bing 'Maison de l'Art nouveau'. Because of a revealing lithograph by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec , which led to a rift between the supervisory board of the cooperative Pan and the editors, Meier-Graefe left the editorial office after only one year.

In 1898 Meier-Graefe opened 'La Maison Moderne' in Paris, the interior of which van de Velde had designed for him. The year before, he founded the magazine 'Dekorative Kunst' together with the Munich publisher Hugo Bruckmann . After a year the editors and publishers dared to publish an edition in French. This first appeared in 1899 under the title 'L'Art Décoratif' and contains images of almost all of the major works that van de Velde had created up to then.

Mostly living in Paris , Meier-Graefe developed into one of the best experts on 19th-century French painting . In his history of the development of modern art (3 volumes, 1904 and 1914–24), he gave French impressionism a prominent position. This work and his subsequent pamphlet Der Fall Böcklin (1905) brought him the charge of polemicising against “German art” . Meier-Graefe wrote monographs on almost all of the important Impressionist artists. The centenary exhibition of German art in the Berlin National Gallery in 1906 was inspired by the presentation of previously little-known works. In particular, the works of Caspar David Friedrich were presented to a larger audience for the first time.

Meier-Graefe house in Berlin-Nikolassee

Meier-Graefe wrote important biographies of numerous artists, including Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh . With a sharp pen and lively language, he wrote numerous other treatises on art.

In 1930 Meier-Graefe rented the La Banette estate in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer with his partner Anne-Marie Epstein and two years later persuaded the landscape painter Walter Bondy and the writer René Schickele to move to the local area. Meier-Graefe thus gave a decisive impetus to the emergence of the large refugee colony from the German Reich in neighboring Sanary-sur-Mer during the following years ( Thomas Mann , Lion Feuchtwanger , Ludwig Marcuse and others).



Art history writings

  • Contribution. In: Stanislaw Przybyszewski (Hrsg.): The work of Edvard Munch : four contributions. S. Fischer, Berlin 1894, pp. 75-95. ( Online ).
  • Felix Vallotton : biography of the artist along with the most important part of his previously published work & a number of unedited original records = biography de cet artiste avec la partie la plus importante de son œuvre editee et differentes gravures originales & nouvelles. Stargardt, Berlin; Sagot, Paris 1898.
  • The world exhibition in Paris 1900: with numerous photographs, colored art supplements and plans. Krüger, Paris / Leipzig 1900. ( Online ).
  • Manet and his circle. Bard, Marquardt, Berlin 1902. ( The art: Collection of illustrated monographs. 7).
  • Modern impressionism: with a colored art insert and 7 full pictures in tone etching. Bard, Berlin 1903. ( The art: Collection of illustrated monographs. 11).
  • Development history of modern art: comparative considerations of the fine arts, as a contribution to a new aesthetic. Verlag Jul. Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1904. ( Online, Volume 1 ), ( Online, Volume 2 ), ( Online, Volume 3 ). (English translation: Modern Art: being a contribution to a new system of aesthetics. 3 volumes. Heinemann, London; Putnam, New York 1908. Translator: Florence Simmonds, George W. Chrystal).
  • The Böcklin case and the doctrine of units. Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart 1905. ( digitized version ).
  • Corot and Courbet : a contribution to the history of the development of modern painting. Insel, Leipzig 1905. ( Online ).
  • The young Menzel : a problem in Germany's art economy. Piper, Leipzig 1906.
  • Impressionists: Guys , Manet, Van Gogh , Pissarro , Cézanne , with an introduction to the value of French art and sixty illustrations. Piper, Munich 1907. ( Online ).
  • William Hogarth : with 47 illustrations after paintings, drawings and engravings. Piper, Munich / Leipzig 1907.
  • La Collection Cheramy: catalog raisonné. Piper, Munich 1908. (French, authors: J. Meier-Graefe and Erich Klossowski).
  • The great English: with 66 illustrations. 2nd Edition. Piper, Munich / Leipzig 1908.
  • Hans von Marées : his life and work. 3 volumes. Piper, Munich 1909/10. Volume 1: History of Life and Work. 1910. Volume 2: Catalog. 1909 (with 1000 illustrations). Volume 3: Letters and Documents. 1910
  • Vincent van Gogh. Piper, Munich, 3rd through Edition 1910; 4th-6th Th. 1912 Frequent later reprints
  • Paul Cézanne : with fifty-four illustrations. Piper, Munich 1910. (4th to 6th thousand, 1913: online ).
  • Auguste Renoir : with a hundred illustrations. Piper, Munich 1911. (2nd edition, 1920)
  • Édouard Manet : with 197 illustrations. Piper, Munich 1912. ( Online )
  • Where are we drifting Two speeches on culture and art. Fischer, Berlin 1913.
  • Eugène Delacroix : Contributions to an Analysis, with one hundred and forty-five illustrations, two facsimiles and a number of unpublished letters. Piper, Munich 1913. ( Online ).
  • Camille Corot. Piper, Munich 1913.
  • Cézanne and his circle: a contribution to the history of development. Piper, Munich 1918.
  • Vincent van Gogh: with forty illustrations and a facsimile of a letter. Piper, Munich 1918. (Several editions; with fifty illustrations). ( Online (4th edition 1918) )
  • Degas : a contribution to the history of the development of modern painting. Piper, Munich 1920.
  • Courbet: with 8 collotype plates and 106 mesh etchings. Piper, Munich 1921.
  • Max Beckmann : with 1 etching, 52 collotype prints, 16 text images. By Curt Glaser , Julius Meier-Graefe, Wilhelm Fraenger and Wilhelm Hausenstein . Piper, Munich 1924. (illustrated book).
  • The double curve: essays. P. Zsolnay, Vienna 1924.
  • The draftsman Hans von Marées . Piper, Munich 1925.
  • Vincent van Gogh, the draftsman. O. Wacker, Berlin 1928.
  • Renoir. Klinkhardt & Biermann, Berlin 1929.
  • Corot. Bruno Cassirer, Berlin; Klinkhardt & Biermann, Berlin 1930.

Literary works

  • "An evening with Excellenz Laura", novella (Westermanns Monatshefte 1892)
  • To the north - an episode (Berlin 1893)
  • Die Keuschen, I Fürst Lichtenarm, II Der Prinz, “A series of novels about love life in the nineteenth century” (Berlin 1897)
  • Spanish trip (Berlin 1910)
  • Orlando and Angelica, a puppet show (with lithographs by Erich Klossowski) (Berlin 1912)
  • The Tscheinik (S. Fischer, Berlin 1918)
  • Heinrich the Happy, Comedy (Berlin 1918)
  • The pure color (new version of Adam and Eve, which flopped in the Berlin Hebbel Theater in 1909, Berlin 1919) First performance Dresden 1920
  • Spanish Journey (New Version) (Berlin 1922)
  • "The Division" in The Daily Book. Confessions of my cousin, short stories (Berlin 1923)
  • Dostoevsky the Poet (E. Rowohlt, Berlin 1926)
  • Pyramid and Temple: Notes during e. Trip to Egypt, Palestine, Greece and Stambul. (E. Rowohlt, Berlin 1926)
  • The father (S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin 1932)
  • Stories alongside art (S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin 1933)

Collective editions

  • Art is not there for art history. Letters and documents . Edited and commented by Catherine Krahmer with the assistance of Ingrid Grüninger. (= Publications of the German Academy for Language and Poetry 77). Wallstein, Göttingen 2001 ISBN 978-3-89244-412-1 .
  • Diary 1903–1917 and other documents . Edited and commented by Catherine Krahmer with the participation of Ingrid Grüninger and Jeanne Helsbourg, Wallstein, Göttingen 2009 ISBN 978-3-8353-0426-0 .
  • Endzeit Europa , a collective diary of German-speaking writers, artists and scholars during the First World War . Edited by Peter Walther. Wallstein, Göttingen 2008 ISBN 978-3-8353-0347-8 .


  • Julius Meier-Graefe. Dedications for his sixtieth birthday. Piper et al., Munich et al. 1927 (Festschrift).
  • Andreas BeyerMeier-Graefe, Julius. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 16, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-428-00197-4 , p. 646 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Ingeborg Becker and Stephanie Marchal (eds.): Julius Meier-Graefe. Border crosser of the arts. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2017, ISBN 3-422073-55-8 .
  • Stefan Koldehoff : Meier-Graefes van Gogh: how fictions become facts . Lindenau Museum Altenburg. Volume 9 of the series "Writings on Art Criticism". Steinmeier, Nördlingen 2002, ISBN 3-936363-05-6 .
  • Ron Manheim: Julius Meier-Graefe (1867-1935). 'Art writer' between awareness of tradition and modernity. In: Heinrich Dilly (ed.): Old masters of modern art history. 2nd edition, Dietrich-Reimer-Verlag, Berlin 1999, pp. 95-116.
  • Kenworth Moffett: Meier-Graefe as an art critic. Prestel, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-7913-0351-1 , ( Studies on the Art of the Nineteenth Century 19), (Also: Boston, Harvard Univ., Diss., 1969).
  • Ursula Renner (ed.): Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Correspondence with Julius Meier-Graefe. 1905-1929. Rombach, Freiburg i. Br. 1998, ISBN 3-7930-9181-3 . ( Rombach Sciences ).
  • Wolfgang Ullrich: The art writer - saving honor of a species. Essay as broadcast manuscript of SWR2 from May 14, 2012. (Online) (PDF file, 164 kB.)

Web links

Wikisource: Julius Meier-Graefe  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Julius Meier-Graefe  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Henry van de Velde: 1895 visit to Henry van de Velde, pp. 102-103. Retrieved April 18, 2020 .
  2. Entry in the Berlin State Monument Office
  3. daughter of Walther Epstein . Common name: Anne-Marie Meier-Graefe. She later married Hermann Broch; the published correspondence between the couple separated by the Atlantic from 1950/1951 illuminates the immediate post-war period in France and the USA.
  4. The villa later became a trap for (Fritz) Friedrich Epstein , his niece Anne-Marie let him live there. The Vichy regime and the Germans deported him, together with Else Weil , to Auschwitz in September 1942, where he was murdered.
  5. 82 pages. Like other individual editions for Guys, Manet, Pissarro, Cezanne, this was a partial print from the Impressionist book (210 pages), whereby Piper counted this complete work as 1st and 2nd ed. 1907 and referred to the partial prints as 3rd edition . That would not be correct by today's standards. - 5th verb. Edition ibid. 1922, of which the 5th – 7th Th. 1925.