Person in Front, Heinrich Hoerle
Heinrich Hoerle
Person in Front
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Heinrich Hoerle

Person in Front, 1932

425 x 355 mm
Physical Description
Inventory Number
Object Number
17946 Z
Not on display


About the Work

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.

Work Data

Basic Information

Person in Front
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert, datiert und nummeriert oben rechts (geritzt): 19h32 / 3
Captions Added Later
Verso unten mittig bezeichnet (mit Bleistift): A738/821 // M82 SPS
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • Backes 1981, II: Wachsbilder, Nr. 3

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Eigentum des Städelschen Museums-Vereins e.V.
Picture Copyright
Public Domain

Work Content

Motifs and References



Research and Discussion


Object History
Heinrich Hoerle (1895–1936)
verkauft an Alexe Altenkirch (1871–1943), Köln/Kreuznach, vor 1937
Privatbesitz Bayern
Verst. durch Auktionshaus Lempertz, Köln, vermutlich an Gerd Sander (1940–2021), 7. Dezember 1996 (Los 821)
Verst. durch Auktionshaus Grisebach, Berlin, an den Städelschen Museums-Verein e. V., Frankfurt am Main, 10. Juni 2021 (Los 662).


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