About This Artwork

Ludwig Meidner
German, 1884–1966

Max Herrmann-Neisse, 1913

Oil on canvas
35 1/4 x 29 3/4 in. (89.5 x 75.6 cm)
Signed, u.l.: "L Meidner/ Jan 1913"

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold X. Weinstein, 1959.215

Though perhaps best known for his visionary, apocalyptic landscapes, Ludwig Meidner, like many German Expressionists, used portraiture to explore the inner emotional life of his subjects. "Do not be afraid of the face of a human being," Meidner once said. "Don’t let your pen stop until the soul of that one opposite you is wedded to yours in a covenant of pathos." In addition to making self-portraits, Meidner painted many of Berlin’s literati, including the Expressionist poet and theater critic Max Herrmann-Neisse. The artist used the thick paint, energetic brushwork, and distorted form characteristic of Expressionist painting to communicate his subject’s inner vitality and psychological life.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, Ludwig Meidner: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, February 1–February 28, 1918, cat. no. 33, as Bildnis H.N.

Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Cesar Klein, Ludwig Meidner: Gemälde Graphik, Julu 28–August 24, cat. no. 68, as Bildnis H.M.

New York, World House Galleries, The Richard L. Feigen Collection: A Selection of Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings, September 18–November 2, 1957, no. 17, as Portrait of Neisse.

Chicago, Richard L. Feigen & Company, Masterpieces of Twentieth Century German Art, April 14–June 7, 1958, no. 16, as Bildnis Max Herrmann-Neisse.

Recklinghausen, Germany, Kunsthalle, Ludwig Meidner, October 27–December 8, 1963, no. 18; traveled to Berlin, Haus am Waldsee, December 14, 1963–January 26, 1964, and Darmstadt, Kunsthalle, February 15–March 28, 1964, as Porträt des Schriftstellers Max Hermann-Neisse.

South Bend, University of Notre Dame Art Gallery, German Expressionists, December 7, 1969–February 15, 1970, no. 71.

New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Expressionism: A German Intuition, November 14, 1980–January 18, 1981, no.301; traveled to San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art, February 19–April 26, 1981, as Portrait of Herman-Neisse.

Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Martin Gropius Bau, Ich und die Stadt, August 15–November 22, 1987, no. 133.

Darmstadt, Matildenhöhe, Ludwig Meidner. Zeichner, Maler, Literat 1884-1966, September 15–December 1, 1991, as Bildnis Max Herrmann-Neiße.

Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, O Mensch! Das Bildnis des Expressionismus, November 29, 1992–February 14, 1993, no. 110, as Portrait Max Herrmann-Neisse.

Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, George Grosz: Berlin–New York, December 21, 1994–April 17, 1995, no. 25; travelled to Düsseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, May 6–July 30, 1995, as Portrait Max Herrmann-Neisse.

Publication History

Ludwig Meidner, “Dankgebet, daß ich lebe,” Das Kunstblatt (1918), pp. 297–301 (ill.).

Lothar Brieger, “Ludwig Meidner,” Junge Kunst 4 (Leipzig, 1919) p. 25 (ill.), as Bildnis Herm. Neiße.

Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Ludwig Meidner (Recklinghausen, 1963).

Thomas Grochowiak, Ludwig Meidner (Recklinghausen, 1966).

Ludwig Kunz, Ludwig Meidner: Dichter, Maler und Cafés (Zurich, 1973).
V. H. Miesel, Ludwig Meidner, an Expressionist Master: Drawings and Prints from the D. Thomas Bergen Collection (Ann Arbor, 1978).

Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, Expressionism: A German Intuition 1905-1920 (New York, 1980), p. 274 (ill.).

Berlinische Galerie, Ich und die Stadt (Berlin, 1987), p. 291 (ill.).

Gerda Breuer and Ines Wagemann, Ludwig Meidner. Zeichner, Maler, Literat 1884-1966, vol. 1 (Stuttgart, 1991), p. 71 (ill).

Gerda Beuer, Ludwig Meidner. Zeichner, Maler, Literat 1884-1966, vol. 2 (Stuttgart, 1991), p. 207 (ill.).

Jutta Hülsewig-Johnen, ed., O Mensch! Das Bildnis des Expressionismus (Bielefeld, 1993), p. 229 (ill.).

Peter-Klaus Schuster, ed., George Grosz: Berlin–New York (Berlin, 1995), p. 65 (ill.).

Horst Richter, Geschichte der Malerei im 20. Jahrhundert: Stile und Künstler (Cologne, 1998), p. 34 (ill), as Porträt Herrmann Neisse, 1920.

Maria Makela, “‘A Clear and Simple Style’: Tradition and Typology in New Objectivity,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 28, 1 (2002), pp. 38-51, fig. 7.

Ownership History

The artist until at least July 1, 1916 [diary entry by Meidner with inventory list published in Kunz 1973]. Hugo Simon Collection, Zehlendorf, by 1918–September 1957 [Kunstblatt 1918 and documents in curatorial file]. Richard L. Feigen & Co., Chicago, by September 1957 [letter April 12, 2001 from Richard Feigen in curatorial file and New York 1957]; sold to Mr. and Mrs. Harold X. Weinstein, Chicago, 1959; given to the Art Institute, 1959.

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