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German Expressionism

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THE COLLECTION

Karl Nierendorf


Starr Figura, German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 2011

Instrumental dealer and promoter of German Expressionist and especially post-Expressionist artists in the 1920s and 1930s. Founded his gallery and publishing house in Cologne in 1920. Championed Otto Dix, who was under exclusive contract from 1922 to 1927; published about twenty individual prints as well as three portfolios: Death and Resurrection and Circus, in 1922, and his print magnum opus, The War, in 1924. Also published prints by Lovis Corinth, Otto Freundlich, George Grosz, F. M. Jansen, and Franz Seiwert. Moved to Berlin in 1923 to become director of Graphisches Kabinett J.B. Neumann after Neumann emigrated to New York. Relocated to a bigger gallery space under the name Galerie Neumann–Nierendorf in 1925, in vicinity of prominent dealers Alfred Flechtheim, Wolfgang Gurlitt, and Paul Cassirer. In 1927 organized first exhibition of New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) artists in Berlin, including works by Dix, Grosz, Franz Radziwill, and Georg Scholz, among others. Neumann and Nierendorf dissolved their association in 1933, and the gallery was renamed Galerie Nierendorf. Facing increasing difficulties in exhibiting contemporary German art in the Nazi era, Nierendorf emigrated to New York and operated a branch of gallery there from 1937 until his death in 1947. His brother Josef maintained the Berlin branch until 1939, when it closed. The Berlin gallery was reestablished in 1955 and is still active today.

Selected Bibliography

Kriebel, Susanne. "Cologne." In Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris, edited by Leah Dickerman and Brigid Doherty, pp. 214–37. Exh. cat. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2005.

Walter-Ris, Anja. Kunstleidenschaft im Dienst der Moderne: Die Geschichte der Galerie Nierendorf Berlin/New York 1920–1995. Zurich: Zurich InterPublishers, 2003.

Iris Schmeisser

Works by Karl Nierendorf

  • Otto Dix, Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. The Outposts in the Trenches Must Maintain the Bombardment at Night (Die Sappenposten haben nachts das Feuer zu unterhalten) from The War (Der Krieg). (1924)
    Otto Dix, Karl Nierendorf, Berlin
    The Outposts in the Trenches Must Maintain the...
    (1924)
    Otto Dix, Karl Nierendorf, Berlin. The Outposts in the Trenches Must Maintain the Bombardment at Night (Die Sappenposten haben nachts das Feuer zu unterhalten) from The War (Der Krieg). (1924)
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