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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / German Expressionism / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Georg Tappert (German, 1880-1957).

German Expressionism: Survey I / Survey II / Survey III

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth, Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger,
Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel, Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer, Wassily Kandinsky,
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner, Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen,
Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault, Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott,
Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Although Tappert is probably most closely identified with the style that came to be called Neue Sachlichket (the New Objectivity), he played an important role before the first World War in creating a space in which the new artistic movements could flourish and find audiences. Through his efforts, the Brucke artists and the Blue Reiter movement found venues to show their works and led to the first international exhibitions of new French, Austrian, and German art before the war put on a temporary hold on the growth of what we now call German Expressionism. Like his better-known colleagues George Grosz and Otto Dix, he was also involved with various revolutionary political organizations after World War I, although his work tends toward social, rather than political, criticism. Tappert discovered fine art after an apprenticeship as a tailor and two years spent working for different tailor's businesses, when Max Liebermann, the president of the 'Berliner Sezession' acknowledged that he "possessed a talent which was worth developing." The young Tappert took this letter of recommendation to Ludwig Schmitt-Reutte at the Academy in Karlsruhe. When Tappert went to Saaleck Castle near Weimar for two years in 1903 to work as Paul Schultze-Naumburg's assistant he missed the liberal atmosphere of the Karlsruhe Akademie. Tappert joined the 'Deutscher Künstlerbund' when it was founded in 1904 by merging all the German Secession groups. The artist's early works from this period are influenced by Gauguin, Cezanne and Munch. Before moving to Worpswede in 1906 he spent one year in Berlin as an independent painter and graphic artist, exhibiting his works in his first one-man exhibition at Paul Cassirer's gallery.

In Worpswede, where he met Paula Modersohn-Becker, who influenced his own work considerably, Tappert founded his own art school in 1907. One of this school's most famous pupils was Wilhelm Morgner. When Tappert moved back to Berlin in 1909, he resumed his contact with the 'Berliner Sezession' and exhibited works at the association's exhibitions. He continued teaching art together with Moritz Melzer at the newly founded 'Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst' (School of fine and applied arts). The rejection of works by 27 artists - including Georg Tappert - submitted to the 20th 'Sezession' exhibition led to the foundation of the 'Neue Sezession 1910' by Tappert, Kirchner, Pechstein, Heckel, and Schmidt-Rottluff and its first exhibition in May of the same year, largely organized by Tappert. Also in 1910, Tappert co-founded the School for Visual and Applied Arts in Berlin. He was appointed “first executive officer” of the Neue Sezession and invited Kandinsky, Marc and other Blue Rider painters to participate in the 3rd Exhibition of the Neue Sezession. The association's survival until 1914 is largely owed to Tappert's commitment in this function. A demand for free and varied art resulted in the Berlin exhibition of the 'Juryfreien' in 1911. In 1912, Kandinsky and Marc invited Tappert to exhibit in the 2nd Blue Rider exhibition in Munich. He was also invited to show in the great international Sonderbund Exhibition in Cologne in 1912 and the International exhibition of the Neue Kunst in Vienna in 1913. Tappert taught at the Königliche Kunstschule and the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin-Wilmersdorf until 1915 when he was drafted into the war.

After the war, in 1918, Tappert, Max Pechstein, and Cesar Klein founded the 'Novembergruppe' and showed with them until the 'Novembergruppe' was dissolved by the Nazis in 1933. Tappert was also co-founder of the periodical Die Schöne Rarität, a member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst. Tappert enthusiastically supported the Novembergruppe's call for new art forms and a very close intermingling of art and the ordinary population. The artist resumed his teaching at the Staatliche Kunstschule in 1919 and was appointed professor at the age of 41. He also taught at the Reimann-Schule. In 1922, he was appointed to the national Office for Art Examiner where he served until the National Socialists came to power in 1933. Hitler's rise to success meant a long period of ostracism for the artist. In 1933, while teaching at the United State Schools, Tappert was dragged from his class by Nazi students who demanded his dismissal. He was temporarily ousted and then reinstated the same year. In 1937, Tappert was dismissed from his teaching position and included as an example of “artistic decay” in the pamphlet “The Cleansing of the Temple of Art.” In 1937 Tappert’s works were removed from public collections in Germany. He was dismissed from his teaching post in 1937 and banned from any artistic work, forcing him into an inner emigration. When his house was destroyed only some of his works could be rescued; more than 100 paintings were destroyed. After the destruction by bombing of his Berlin studio in 1944, Tappert decided to stop painting. In 1945, at the age of 65, Tappert dedicated his time to the reconstruction of the Hochschule für Kunsterziehung (drawn from materials on the kettererkunst art site, Peter Selz's Biographical Chronology for a 1964 Tappert retrospective at the Leonard Hutton Galleries in NY City, and Galerie St. Etienne, NY).

Select Bibliography: Gerhard Renda, Georg Tappert 1880-1957: Bilder aus der Frankischen Schweiz., Pottenstein (Frankische-Schweiz-Museum, 1989); Runkel, Hue, Williams Ltd., Georg Tappert 1880-1957 (London: Runkel, Hue, Williams Ltd., 1989); Heinz Spielmann, Georg Tappert Das Vermachtnis: Gemalde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Photographien (Schleswig: Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum Schloss Gottork, 1995); Gerhard Wietek, Georg Tappert 1880-1957: Ein Wegbereiter des Deutschen Moderne (Munich: Verlag Karl Thiemig, 1980); Gerhard Wietek, Georg Tappert Werkverzeichnis der Druckgraphik (Koln: Wienand, 1996); Gerhard Wietek, Graphik Georg Tappert 1880-1957 (Hamburg: Altonaer Museum,1971).
Nude. Original pencil drawing, c. 1923-33. This drawing seems to use the same model who appears in a 1927 etching, "Liegander Mädchenakt auf einem Tuch" (Wietek 228). Our drawing is annotated on the verso and signed by Tappert's widow, Annalise ("von Georg Tappert / Annalise Tappert"). See Wietek's 1980 monograph. Elisabeth was Tappert's second wife; she died in 1929. Image size: 230x150mm. Price: $4750.
Nude with mask. Original pencil drawing, c. 1923-29. This drawing seems to be related to a painting, "Elisabeth mit erhobener Maske" (W. 248). Our drawing is annotated on the verso and signed by Tappert's widow, Annalise ("von Georg Tappert / Annalise Tappert"). See Wietek's 1980 monograph. Image size: 166x140mm. Price: $4250.
Nude with mask II. Original pencil drawing, c. 1923-29. This drawing seems to be related to a painting, "Elisabeth mit erhobener Maske" (W. 248). Our drawing is annotated on the verso and signed by Tappert's widow, Annalise ("von Georg Tappert / Annalise Tappert"). See Wietek's 1980 monograph. Oil stains above head and to the right. Image size: 180x115mm. Price: $3750.
Madchen am Tisch (Wietek Druckgraphik 33, Davis-Rifkin 2891). Original woodcut, 1910. Published in Die Aktion 1916; our impression from a 1963/64 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 2035. One of Tappert's most important prints, it is frequently reproduced in books on German Expressionism. Image size: 216x150mm. Price: $475.
Clown II: Excentric-Kopf (Wietek Druckgraphik 34). Original woodcut, 1910. Published in Der Sturm 1912; our impression from a 1980 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 3000. Image size: 241x191mm. Price: $375.
Zwei sitzende Mädchenakte / Two sitting nude young women (Wietek Druckgraphik 47). Original woodcut, 1911-12. 15 hand-pulled impressions plus an edition for Der sturm published in 1912. In 1963-64 Galerie Nierendorf published an edition of 30. Our impression is annotated I 1/5 in pencil lower left and stamped and signed by Annelise Tappert verso. A very beautiful impression of this very beautiful woodcut. Image size: 314x356mm; mat size: 24x30 inches. Price: $2850.
Landschaft I: Haus mit hohm Baum (Wietek Druckgraphik 102; Davis-Rifkin 2913). Original linocut, 1918. Published in Der Schwartze Turm I in 1918; our impression from a 1963 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 2000. Image size: 183x130mm. Price: $475.
Mädchen mit Hutschleiner (Wietek Druckgraphik 107, Davis-Rifkin 2912). Original linocut, 1918. 40 Hand-colored impressions plus 200 impressions published in Der Schwartze Turm VI in 1918; our impression from a 1963 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 2000. Image size: 147x100mm. Price: $475.
Dame in Café (Wietek Druckgraphik 109, Davis-Rifkin 2909). Original linocut, 1918. 40 Hand-colored impressions plus 200 impressions published in Der Schwartze Turm VI in 1919; 15 impressions pulled from the original block in 1963/64. Our impression from a 1970 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 3000. Image size: 145x100mm. Price: $375.
Dame in Café (Wietek Druckgraphik 109). Original linocut, 1918. Signed in the block lower right. Published in a small edition in 1919 in Die Sichel; 15 impressions pulled from the original block in 1963/64. Our impression from a 1970 restrike published by Galerie Nierendorf in an edition of 3000. Image size: 165x129mm. Price: $375.

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