Ludwig Meidner O Moon Above So Clear! 1912

  • Not on view

Here Ludwig Meidner, seen in a self-portrait in the foreground, beholds the city with wide-eyed glee. A radiant moon illuminates blocky apartment buildings and outlines smoking factory chimneys, while structures with jagged, crystalline roofs rise from the earth below. Meidner highlights the anonymous and utilitarian aspects of the city, the very aspects that distinguished it from the small town where he grew up. Later recalling the hours he spent with friends wandering Berlin at night, he wrote, "We were 28 years old then and had a lot of endurance, which had not even run out by the time the sun came up. . . . We were so much in love with the city."

This drawing dates from 1912, when Meidner enjoyed his first successes in Berlin. At this time, he made a series of pictures chronicling his experiences of the city, some of which became known as "apocalyptic paintings."

Publication excerpt from Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
Ink, charcoal and opaque watercolor on paper
17 3/4 x 22 1/4" (45.1 x 56.5 cm)
The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection
Object number
© Ludwig-Meidner-Archiv, Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Drawings and Prints
Provenance Research Project

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

The artist; Galleria del Levante, Milan [1]; acquired by Joan and Lester Avnet, New York, 1967 [2]; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (The Joan and Lester Avnet Collection), 1978.

[1] Collection files, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Included in the exhibition "Disegni Di Ludwig Meidner," Galleria del Levante, Milan, October 1965 (no. 3: Alta, tu, più limpida luna).
[2] Ibid. Included in the circulating exhibition "Figures and Faces: 19th and 20th Century European Master Drawings from the Lester and Joan Avnet Collection" organized by the American Federation of Arts (no. 27: Oh Moon Above So Clear). On extended loan to The Museum of Modern Art, New York since 1970.

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