Rudolf Schlichter

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Rudolf Schlichter (born December 6, 1890 in Calw , † May 3, 1955 in Munich ) was a German artist and writer. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New Objectivity .

life and work

Rudolf Schlichter, who lost his father at an early age, grew up as the youngest of six siblings. He attended the Latin school in Calw up to sixth grade. From 1904 he did an apprenticeship as a porcelain painter in Pforzheim . His assertion, handed down to Carl Zuckmayer , that he worked as a lift boy in a grand hotel from the age of twelve to fourteen and stole his collection of pointed women's shoes in the process, is nowhere proven.

From 1907 to 1909 Schlichter attended the arts and crafts school in Stuttgart . From 1910 he studied at the art academy in Karlsruhe . Schlichter's teachers included Wilhelm Trübner and Hans Thoma . Here Schlichter developed already in rebellion against traditional bourgeois values ​​to an artist who saw himself connected to the contemporary bohème ideals. He undertook various study trips to Italy and France and came into contact with the underworld through his painter colleague Julius Kaspar .

After living with relatives in Karlsruhe at the beginning of the years, the masochist Schlichter, whose sexuality was characterized by shoe fetishism , strangulation and violence, later lived with the occasional prostitute Fanny Hablützel and sold pornographic graphics under the pseudonym Udor Rétyl .

During the First World War , Schlichter was drafted into the military in 1916, but returned from the Western Front the following year after a hunger strike . In 1918 he became a member of a soldiers' council .

Rudolf Schlichter had his first exhibition in Karlsruhe in 1919 with Vladimir von Zabotin . He was one of the founders of the Rih group . In the same year he moved to Berlin , where he joined the Novembergruppe , the Berlin Secession , the Berlin Dadaists and the KPD .

In 1920 he had his first solo exhibition in the Berlin gallery Burchard and he took part in the First International Dada Fair . Here the object of a soldier's doll with a pig's head hanging from the ceiling caused a scandal. Arbitrators, George Grosz , Wieland Herzfelde , John Heartfield and the gallery owner Otto Burchard were charged with insulting the Reichswehr .

From around 1922 he lived with a prostitute again. Many book illustrations that Schlichter created with a personal soft spot for Karl May date from the early 1920s . Illustrations have appeared in the journals Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung , Die Rote Fahne , Eulenspiegel , Der Cross section and The enemy (founded by Franz Jung )

Schlichter's circle of friends and acquaintances ranged from Bertolt Brecht , Fritz Sternberg , Alfred Döblin and Grosz to Carl Zuckmayer , whom he had already met in Karlsruhe. After the rift with the November Group , he was one of the founders of the Red Group in 1924 , which was in opposition to it. In the same year he took part in the first German art exhibition in the USSR .

In 1925 works by Schlichter were shown in the exhibition Neue Sachlichkeit in Mannheim . In 1927 he met his future wife Elfriede Elisabeth Koehler, whom he married in 1929 and who, through alternating, financially paying liaisons, provided for the couple's livelihood, which led to feelings of guilt and outbursts of jealousy. He began to turn away from communism and the Berlin avant-garde and towards Catholicism. His circle of friends included Ernst von Salomon , the brothers Ernst Jünger and Friedrich Georg Jünger and Ernst Niekisch .

With the inner turn came the plan of an autobiographical “confession” and accounting for previous life. In 1931/1932 the autobiographical books Zwischenwelt and Das stubborn meat appeared . In these, Schlichter draws an illusion-free, sometimes cruel picture of childhood and adolescence. In doing so, he developed a time show that unites almost all elements of conservative criticism of civilization . Shortly after its publication, the next volume, Tönerne Feet , was listed on the National Socialists' index as a "perverse-erotic self-portrayal".

In 1935 Schlichter, who meanwhile lived in Rottenburg, was expelled from the Reich Chamber of Literature and the "Reich Association of German Writers". A more or less secret exhibition at his new place of residence, Stuttgart, was made possible in 1936 with the support of Hugo Borst . Shortly afterwards, seventeen works by Schlichter were removed from museums and exhibitions. Four works were part of the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. At the beginning of 1938 he was temporarily excluded from the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts and shortly afterwards, denounced for “unnational socialist lifestyle”, he was in custody for three months. He moved to Munich in 1939, where he was in contact with Hans Scholl , among others , and joined the Catholic magazine Hochland around Karl Muth, Theodor Haecker and Alois Dempf . In 1942, Schlichter was bombed out and lost some of his works.

After the war he took part in the First German Art Exhibition in Dresden and founded the New Group in Munich . Occasionally he worked for the satirical magazine Der Simpl . Schlichter turned to the at that time Surrealism to. In 1950 he joined the re-founded German Artists Association in 1950 , to whose first exhibition in Berlin in 1951 he contributed the oil paintings Barbelohymne (80 × 60 cm) and Early Period (62 × 51 cm), painted in 1948 . In 1953 and 1955, a few weeks before his death, he had one more solo exhibitions in Munich. Schlichter died of uremia and was buried in the Munich forest cemetery.


Book publications

  • The brother-in-law. In: moonstone. Magical stories. With a foreword by Franz Schauwecker. Frundsberg Verlag, Berlin 1930, pp. 161-184.
  • Between world. An interlude. Pollak Verlag, Berlin-Charlottenburg [1931].
  • The stubborn meat. Binding drawing by Hans Bohn . Ernst Rowohlt Publishing House, Berlin 1932.
  • Clay feet. Ernst Rowohlt Publishing House, Berlin 1933.
    • Reprinted by Curt Grützmacher with a contribution by Günter Metken . With 10 drawings by Rudolf Schlichter. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-017-2 .
  • The life of the Empress Theodora. Lorch 1943.
  • The adventure of art. Rowohlt, Stuttgart 1949.
  • Thousand and one Night. Pen drawings from 1940–1945. Edited and provided with a selection of texts by Günter Metken. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-89468-038-5 .
  • Impending disaster. Poems 1931–1936 . With seven drawings. Ulrich Keicher Verlag, Warmbronn 1997, ISBN 3-924316-99-0 .

Pictures and paintings (selection)

  • Acquisitions in the 1950s and 1960s brought the portrait of Bertolt Brecht (around 1926) and the drawings A Horrible Face (1949), Self-Portrait , the illustration for 1001 Nights: Der Vogel Rukh (1945) and Der Freudenräuber (1949) to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich and have since supplemented the diverse collection of the house.
  • Portrait of Helene Weigel , 1928, on permanent loan from the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation in the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich, owned by Alexander Granach before 1933
  • Portrait of Ernst Jünger , 1929
  • Blind power , oil on canvas, 179 × 100 cm, 1937
  • Hausvogteiplatz , watercolor on paper, 66.5 × 51.5 cm, 1926


  • 1984: Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin : Rudolf Schlichter 1890–1955 , April 1 - May 16, 1984; Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, May 23 - July 1, 1984, catalog ISBN 3-88725-069-9 .
  • 1997: Kunsthalle Tübingen : Rudolf Schlichter. Paintings, watercolors, drawings. September 13 - November 23, 1997.
  • 1998: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich: Rudolf Schlichter - A fear of citizens between the province and the metropolis , March 11th - May 10th 1998
  • 2015: Middle Rhine Museum Koblenz : Rudolf Schlichter. Eros and Apocalypse. November 14, 2015 - February 14, 2016.
  • 2019: Hohenkarpfen Art Museum: Idyll and apocalypse - Rudolf Schlichter's landscapes. April 14 - July 21, 2019.


Individual evidence

  1. a b Katja Förster: Rudolf Schlichter. In: City of Karlsruhe, 2016, accessed on September 2, 2019 .
  2. Sound and smoke. Book publisher der Morgen, Berlin, 1985; P. 21 of the booklet with reviews by Kurt Wafner
  3. ^ Wieland Schmid: The bourgeois adventure heart. In: ZEIT Online. October 24, 1997, accessed September 2, 2019 .
  4. ^ Catalog of the Deutscher Künstlerbund 1950. First exhibition in Berlin 1951, in the rooms of the Bild University. Arts, Hardenbergstr. 33. Hartmann Brothers, Berlin 1951. (no page numbers)
  5. The tomb has now been re-occupied.
  6. list. Retrieved April 10, 2019 .
  7. FAZ, November 25, 2017, p. 15.
  8. Männerfreunde im Bildersturm (accessed on January 20, 2016)
  9. Irene Netta, Ursula Keltz: 75 years of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau Munich . Ed .: Helmut Friedel. Self-published by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-88645-157-7 , p. 229 .

See also

Web links