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Nuances

OTTO MEYER-AMDEN at 125
14 February to 30 May 2010

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A key figure of modernism

Oskar Schlemmer and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner praised him; the Swiss art world celebrates him as a key figure of modernism: Otto Meyer-Amden (Bern 1885–1933 Zurich). His subtle œuvre is barely known in Germany; the last solo exhibition here was forty years ago. On the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth the Ernst Barlach Haus now presents the first showing of Meyer-Amden’s work in Hamburg.

There will be around 70 figure paintings, portraits, still lifes, landscapes and pages from the artist’s diary on view. At their heart are the “boarding school pictures”, in which the former orphanage boy condenses everyday scenes into existential allegories. Meyer-Amden’s compositions are both figurative and abstract, organic and geometric, precise and diffuse, concrete and yet ethereal. His visual language holds meaning in a balance that – according to the artist – “is intended to do justice to the cosmos and the square.”  

Otto Meyer-Amden: Self-portrait in Orphanage Uniform, c. 1918/19, <br />Photo: Kunstmuseum Basel / Martin P. Bühler
Otto Meyer-Amden: Self-portrait in Orphanage Uniform, c. 1918/19,
Photo: Kunstmuseum Basel / Martin P. Bühler

The exhibition, which will only be shown in Hamburg, has essentially been made possible through loans from the Kunstmuseum Basel and is supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. It will be accompanied by a catalogue in which important works will be published for the first time in colour (128 pages with 80 colour plates, hardcover, museum edition €25).