Werner Graeff

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Werner Graeff (1927)

Werner Graeff (also Gräff , born August 24, 1901 in Vohwinkel - Sonnborn ; died August 29, 1978 in Blacksburg , Virginia ) was a German sculptor, painter, graphic artist, photographer and inventor.

Live and act

Graeff passed his Abitur in Berlin-Tegel . His first pictures were made in the Impressionist style. Around 1919 he turned to cubist forms. This style also influenced his early sculptures.

From 1921 he was a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar . In the same year he became a member of the De Stijl group and from 1922 worked for the magazine of the same name. He took a Stijl course with Theo van Doesburg . Also in 1922 he was a participant in the First International Congress of Progressive Artists from May 29th to 31st in Düsseldorf .

1924 Graeff was together with Hans Richter and Piet Mondriaan , the Journal of Basic design abbreviated G out. In 1927 his first book about Willi Baumeister was published .

In the winter semester of 1924/1925 Graeff began studying at the Technical University in Berlin-Charlottenburg , which he broke off for economic reasons. In the following years he turned more to writing, his artistic ambitions receded. Mies van der Rohe made him head of propaganda for the exhibition The Apartment in the Weißenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart in 1928 . On behalf of the Deutscher Werkbund, he published the volumes Construction and Apartments and Interiors for the exhibition .

In 1931/1932 Graeff was a photography teacher at the Reimann School in Berlin. In 1934 he emigrated via Spain to Switzerland . Graeff lived as a teacher and writer in Switzerland during the Second World War and the immediate post-war period. From 1946 he developed one of the world's first mini cameras there.

From 1950 he turned back to painting. From 1951 to 1958 he was a teacher at the Folkwang School in Essen . Graeff died on August 29, 1978 in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. The artist's estate, administered by his second wife Ursula Graeff-Hirsch , was bequeathed to the Wiesbaden Museum in 2009 .



  • 1979/1980: Werner Graeff: A pioneer of the twenties , Marl glass box . (Catalog.)
  • 2010: Werner Graeff. Hurdles through the 20th century , Museum Wiesbaden . (Catalog.)
  • 2011: The Bauhaus and afterwards - Werner Graeff and post-war modernism , Mülheim an der Ruhr art museum.


  • Willi Baumeister . Academic publishing house Wedekind, Stuttgart 1927
  • Inside rooms. Academic publishing house Wedekind, Stuttgart 1928.
  • The new photographer comes. (With the collaboration of Hans Richter). Hermann Reckendorf Publishing House, Berlin 1929.
  • Film opponents of today - film lovers of tomorrow. Hans Richter (with the assistance of Werner Graeff). Hermann Reckendorf Publishing House, Berlin 1929.
  • The book from the film. K. Thienemann Verlag, Stuttgart 1931.
  • The Book of the Railroad . Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1931
  • The book from the car . Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1931
  • Otto photos . Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1932
  • Camera and eye. Urs-Graf-Verlag, Basel 1942.


  • Ursula Hirsch (ed.): Hurdles through the 20th century. Museum Wiesbaden, 2010, ISBN 978-3-89258-086-7 .
  • Gerd Breuer (Ed.): Werner Graeff 1901–1978: The artist engineer. Jovis, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86859-057-9 .
  • Art Museum Mülheim an der Ruhr (ed.): The Bauhaus and afterwards. Werner Graeff and post-war modernism. Wienand Verlag, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-86832-070-1 .
  • Karin Fest, Sabrina Rahman, Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah (eds.): Mies van der Rohe, Richter, Graeff & Co. Everyday life and design in the avant-garde magazine G. Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-85132- 736-6 .
  • Evelyn Bergner / Roman Zieglgänsberger (eds.): Werner Graeff. A Bauhaus artist reports . Museum Wiesbaden and Hirmer, Munich 2017.

Web links

Commons : Werner Graeff  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Graeff - biography . kunstgebiet.ruhr. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  2. An artist engineer without a connection. In: FAZ . August 19, 2011, p. 34.