German Expressionism

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Werbedienst der deutschen Republik

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

"Publicity office of the German Republic." Established by the provisional German government during the November Revolution of 1918. Headed by Expressionist writer Paul Zech. Its primary aims were to call for a return to order amid the civil strife and violence of the immediate postwar period and to advocate for democratic elections for a national assembly. Commissioned graphic designers and artists to design posters and pamphlets conveying such messages. Called particularly on members of the revolutionary artists' groups Novembergruppe, which included Max Pechstein, César Klein, and Heinz Fuchs, among many others, and the Workers' Council for the Arts (Arbeitsrat für Kunst), which also comprised politically active artists, including many Expressionists. Werbedienst posters were typically executed in bold colors with heavy black lines and usually bear the signet of a flaming torch, expressing the combined idealistic forces of political and artistic modernity. Dissolved in March 1919, following the successful elections that took place on January 19, 1919.

Selected Bibliography

Rigby, Ida Katherine. "German Expressionist Political Posters 1918–1919: Art and Politics, a Failed Alliance." Art Journal 44, no. 1 (Spring 1984): 33–39.

Vogel, Christian. Werben für Weimar: Der "Werbedienst der deutschen sozialistischen Republik" in der Novemberrevolution 1918–19. Berichte aus der Kunstgeschichte. Aachen: Shaker, 2008.

Iris Schmeisser

Published by Werbedienst der deutschen Republik

  • Max Pechstein. Title page from the pamphlet An alle Künstler! (To All Artists!). 1919
    Max Pechstein
    Title page from the pamphlet An alle...
    Max Pechstein. Title page from the pamphlet An alle Künstler! (To All Artists!). 1919
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