Des Pudels Kern
Illustrations from 1900 until today
“So that was the poodle’s core!“ Goethe’s Faust exclaims with astonishment, when the animal turns itself into Mephistopheles. That German expression is still used today to refer to the essence or crux of a matter. The features of rendering visible, intensifying or commentating are central to illustration. The collection of Dr. Alfred Gunzenhauser contains numerous prints based on literary models, poems, stories and tales that have never been exhibited to date. These will now be on show for the first time in this special collection exhibition, along with contemporary works.
The focal point, however, are works by Marcus Behmer (1879-1958). The short-sighted perfectionist is also known as the Master of the Small Format. Behmer was self-taught and published his first works in the journal Jugend. Then he worked as a draughtsman and etcher for the weekly Simplicissimus and later became one of the most important illustrators for Insel Verlag. Alongside works inspired by Honoré de Balzac’s Girl with the Golden Eyes and Voltaire‘s Zadig, the exhibition also presents one of Behmer’s most important portfolios: etchings based on Philipp Otto Runge’s Von dem Fischer un syner Frau.
In addition to these, the show also features illustrations by Behmer’s close friend Karl Walser (1877-1943) inspired by Georg Büchner’s Leonce und Lena, illustrations of Leatherstocking by Max Slevogt (1868-1932) from the Kunstsammlungen am Theaterplatz and a portfolio of almost surrealistic etchings of Goethe’s Faust by Karl Hubbuch (1891-1979) dating from the 1920s.
The continued fascination exerted by the tales of the Grimm Brothers and spanning many generations is highlighted by illustrations by Marcus Behmer, Herta Günter (1934-2018) and David Hockiney (*1937), who not only read all 220 fairy tales, but also rendered selected scenes with pointed humour in his cycle Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm.
Also on show in the exhibition will be works by students in the illustration class of Prof. Thomas Matthaeus Müller (*1966) and Katjy Schwalenberg (*1976) at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB) Leipzig that engage with works in the collection.