MoMA
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Dunes and Pier (Dünen und Mole). (1917), published 1923
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Dunes and Pier (Dünen und Mole)

(1917), published 1923
Not on view
Medium
Woodcut
Dimensions
composition (irreg.): 11 7/16 x 13 5/16" (29 x 33.8 cm); sheet: 18 1/8 x 20 1/16" (46 x 51 cm)
Publisher
Hyperion Verlag, Munich
Printer
Fritz Voigt, Berlin
Edition
Proof before the edition of 100; plus unknown number of proofs printed by the artist
Credit
Gift of Mrs. Heinz Schulz
Object number
290.1955
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was one of the most important progenitors of German Expressionism. In 1905 he moved to Dresden to study architecture and began experimenting with the woodcut technique the same year. Dropping out of school after one semester, he formed the Brücke (Bridge) group with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Fritz Bleyl, both of whom he had met through his childhood friend, artist Erich Heckel, also a founder. During his career as a painter and printmaker, Schmidt-Rottluff made more than six hundred printed images in woodcut, lithography, and etching.

The woodcut technique dominated Schmidt-Rottluff's printed work from approximately 1909 to 1920. By 1911 he had moved to Berlin, where, increasingly exposed to Cubism and African and Oceanic art, his work grew more abstract, with angular lines and flattened shapes. In 1915 he was conscripted into the army and served for three years in Russia and Lithuania before returning to Berlin in 1918. These prints were made during the war years when, traumatized by the brutality he witnessed, Schmidt-Rottluff suffered such extreme anxiety that he was unable to paint and devoted himself to the more therapeutic practice of carving woodblocks and wooden sculpture. Between 1917 and 1919, he devoted himself primarily to religious subjects, including The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, taken from a portfolio of woodcuts depicting scenes from the life of Christ.

Other themes also appear in the artist's work. In Dunes and Pier, a depiction of Nidden, the village in East Prussia (Lithuania) on the Baltic where Schmidt-Rottluff vacationed, he expresses his belief in the enduring timelessness of nature, while Mother is typical of his monumental and direct treatment of figures at this time. In both works he took advantage of the qualities particular to woodcut, integrating the irregularity of the block, its natural grain and flat, smooth surfaces, into his compositions.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 64
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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource