Heinrich Hoerle, who died at an early age, was one of the Cologne Progressives, a group of artists who turned against bourgeois-capitalist society in the 1920s and early 1930s, but also distanced themselves from the social criticism of New Objectivity. Its founding members – Heinrich Hoerle, Franz Wilhelm Seiwert, and Gerd Arntz – wanted to change society and therefore opted for a reduced, clear language of form which, in its simplicity and unambiguity, was intended to be generally understandable.
The drawing “Vordermann” (literally, the man or person in front) by Heinrich Hoerle is also based on this principle. We see the brightly coloured back of the head of a male figure, the titular “man in front”. Hoerle rendered him as a type-like abbreviation and geometric abstraction – broken down into luminous colour surfaces, just as the composition as a whole, including the landscape with trees in the background, is composed of individual colourful segments of form that are colour-coordinated and richly structured. Hoerle, who, as a self-taught artist, demonstrated a great passion for experimentation throughout his life, discovered wax crayons for himself around 1931/32, which he applied in some segments in long, drawn-out lines, in others with dashed, then again in circular movements, and into the layers of which he scratched in various ways in order to expose the colour tones or the paper underneath. All this lends the drawing, which is, in principle, so strictly constructed, a surprisingly haptic and, above all, lively effect – despite its primarily surface-bound nature. In his own unique way, Hoerle incorporated influences from Pittura Metafisica, Cubism, and Constructivism.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
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