The draughtsman. A well-known political caricaturist for the magazine 'Simplicissimus'. Unlike almost any other artist of his generation, he captured the character and characters of his age in pencil. Curated by Andreas Strobl.
curated by Andreas Strobl
Karl Arnold (1883–1953) is a well-known political caricaturist for the magazine “Simplicissimus”. Unlike almost any other artist of his generation, he captured the character and characters of his age in pencil.
To date, however, there has never been a retrospective on Arnold’s oeuvre as a whole – covering its early beginnings during the Jugendstil period up until 1942, those working for “Simplicissimus” and magazine illustrators. This overview of his work includes more than 200 original drawings and early paintings in oil by the artist from the holdings of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München and private collections.
The picture we have of life in the 1920s and 30s has been moulded not least of all by Arnold’s observations and compositional ideas, his depictions of glamour and the depths of social despair. Nevertheless, Karl Arnold is no longer as prominent today as his slightly younger contemporaries, Otto Dix and George Grosz.
After studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Arnold’s first drawings appeared in “Simplicissimus” and “Die Jugend” in 1907. From 1917 onwards, he was one of the illustrators contributing regularly to “Simplicissimus” together with Olaf Gulbransson and Thomas Theodor Heine. He introduced a new contemporary element to the magazine in the 1920s with his precise, linear illustrative style. In these very years he also developed a new form of pictorial story-telling and illustrated reportage. With the character “Mr. Xaver Hintermaier” he created the figure of the “typical man from Munich” for the first time with his own special view of the world.
Although he was one of Adolf Hitler’s fiercest critics, Arnold was allowed to continue working during the Nazi dictatorship. In addition to caricatures on political events outside Germany in the 1930s, his drawings took a less controversial, humorous look at everyday life in particular. The exhibition however also examines whether subversive criticism was possible during the dictatorship. In 1942 severe illness forced him to stop his artistic work two years before “Simplicissimus” was discontinued.
An in-depth monograph to accompany the exhibition is being published by Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich/Berlin, c. 360 pages, c. 220 illustrations, made possible thanks to the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.
A parallel exhibition is being held at the Olaf Gulbransson Museum in Tegernsee:
“Karl Arnold – Illustrations from Ringelnatz to Valentin“ (10 June-16 September, 2012)
Image: Karl Arnold, Drawing Sheet, 1920s, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012
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Press preview 06.06.2012, 11.00
Opening 06.06.2012, 18.30
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