Rosa Schapire, an art historian, and Wilhelm Niemeyer, a docent at Hamburg’s school of arts and crafts, founded Die Kündung in 1921 as the organ of the Kunstbund Hamburg, an art association that promoted modern art through lectures and events. Meant to serve as a herald (one meaning of its title) of new art, the journal promoted Expressionism in both artistic and literary forms.
Schapire and Niemeyer both had close ties to Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, a former member of the Brücke. Schmidt-Rottluff was a decisive influence on the journal’s style and was responsible for the cover, a woodcut that was printed in a different color for each issue. Die Kündung also featured original prints by Franz Radziwill, Siegfried Schott, Lasar Segall, and others, as well as woodcut illustrations of poems in which rough, crude lettering reflected the ecstatic tone and primitivist language of the texts. In addition, the publication included short stories and critical essays on art and literature, printed in a wide variety of typefaces and with ornamental initials by Schmidt-Rottluff. The journal’s experimental use of typography, a special interest of Niemeyer’s, distinguished it from other Expressionist periodicals. One issue also included six photographs of African masks and sculptures—important sources for the Expressionist aesthetic. Die Kündung, published monthly, folded after twelve issues.
Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.