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German Expressionist prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery

Lady Lever Art Gallery is hosting a thought-provoking new exhibition of striking expressionist prints this autumn.

German Revolution Expressionist Prints draws together a host of powerful artistic responses to the political, social and economic turmoil in the country during the early 20th century – before, during and after the First World War.

The show, a version of which was previously staged at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow from where most of the works on paper come, features leading international figures including Picasso, Munch, Goya and Schiele as well as German artists like Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel and Otto Dix.

German Revolution refers to both political unrest and the revolution in art which took place at the same time.

The exhibition juxtaposes different responses from artists to the turmoil in Germany in the period 1900 to 1925.

Some turned their backs on the destruction around them and instead explored human stories as an antidote to the disaster of the war.

Others encapsulated the hunger and misery that enveloped Berlin which had been the German world’s international centre for the production and exhibition of art.

It also looks at the range of different printmaking methods used by the artists including woodcut, etching and lithography, and the various artistic influences from Gothic art and the Old Masters to Fauvism, and African and Oceanic objects to almost cinematic or cartoon styles.

The show is divided in to three sections – Love and Anxiety, A Bridge to Utopia and Conflict and Despair.

Ann Bukantas, Head of Fine Art for National Museums Liverpool, said: “This exhibition looks deep into the heart of a very dark time in Germany’s history when artists were rejecting French Impressionism as superficial and bourgeois.

"They were witnessing terrible suffering among the poor and vulnerable in their country and sought a way to represent this.

“They created radical and diverse works – some were a bid to escape the turmoil of the German revolution while others were a desperate cry for change.

"Even today, these visceral images still possess a universal power to stir the emotions.”

German Revolution Expressionist Prints is at the Lady Lever Art Gallery from October 2 to February 2021 and is free.

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