The first and only volume of Das graphische Jahrbuch (The print yearbook), published by Karl Lang Verlag, presented an idiosyncratic selection of postwar German printmakers chosen by its editor, Hans Theodor Joel, who believed in the revolutionary potential of art to transform society. Rather than offering a comprehensive overview—and although it included short essays on major Expressionists ranging from Max Beckmann, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, and Oskar Kokoschka—Das graphische Jahrbuch primarily highlighted younger artists who were not well known, including now mostly forgotten figures such as Otto Gleichmann, Walter Gramatté, and Richard Seewald. Contributors included critics and art historians such as Julius Meier-Graefe, Rosa Schapire, Gustav Schiefler, and Paul Westheim. The book featured three original prints: one woodcut by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and another by Gottfried Graf and a lithograph by Walter Ruttmann. The rest of the images were reproductions, which helped make the book affordable.
After the collapse of the communist government in Munich in 1919, Karl Lang Verlag had moved its operations to Darmstadt, where Joel edited this collection as well as other periodicals and portfolios of Expressionist prints, and in addition published original prints through his own Verlag für Neue Graphik.
Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.