- Museum number
- Object: Ziegelei bei (Varel)
Brickworks near Varel; abstract composition. 1916
Woodcut on grey paper
- Production date
Height: 296 millimetres
Width: 388 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Frances Carey and Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', BM 1984, no.96
It is a curious fact that Schmidt-Rottluff, who was to become the woodcutter par excellence of the Brücke in terms of the dominant position the medium held in his work, made no woodcuts at all in 1907-8. His seventeen earliest woodcuts of 1905 he had excluded from Schapire's catalogue, despite their quality, since he no longer felt happy with them; the three works of 1906 are minor; and so he made a fresh start in the medium in 1909. His development between 1906 and 1908 as a printmaker has therefore to be described in terms of his lithographs, with the addition of a few etchings.
The subject, a brickworks near the town of Varel just south of Dangast, is one that frequently recurs in the work of Schmidt-Rottluff and Heckel in the years 1907-9. The long low building ending in a chimney is in the background. From the left foreground running to the horizon at the right is a small stream, in which can be seen the distorted reflection of the chimney. The radical simplification of form and suppression of perspective in the interests of surface rhythm makes the group of 1909 woodcuts some of the most abstract, and interesting, images produced by any member of the Brücke. Schiefler was very struck by them and commented that "the division of black and white in the lines and flecks was supported by a strong pressure on the block in the printing, which - by means of a scarcely perceptible creation of half-tones -appears to bring the contrasts into harmony" ('Meine Graphiksammlung', 1974, p. 55).
Schapire records that this woodcut, like all of Schmidt-Rottluff's work between 1906 and 1912, was printed by the artist himself; she further notes that is was rare at this time for the number of impressions of the woodcuts to reach even ten. The burnishing marks on the verso made with some smooth implement show that this print was taken off the block by hand without the use of a printing press.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984/5 Sept.-Jan., BM, 'The Print in Germany 1880-1933', no. 96
1990/91 Nov-Jan, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, German Woodcuts and Carvings
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- From the Rauert collection (sold Hauswedell, Hamburg, 7 June 1969, lot 1)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number