"So we paint"

September, 14th - November, 24th 2019


Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop
Weg zum Hohen Ufer 36, Ostseebad Ahrenshoop

In the 100th anniversary year of the Bauhaus, the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop is showing an exhibition on the life's work of Fritz Kuhr (1899-1975). Born in Liège (Belgium), he was a student at the Bauhaus from 1923. He was one of those young artists who enthusiastically embraced the avant-garde ideas of the new art school after the catastrophe of the First World War and combined them with the hope of transforming society. Kuhr was a contemporary of Dörte Helm (1898-1941), who was one of the first students at the Bauhaus to the close co-worker of the founder Walter Gropius and later in Ahrenshoop to the close circle of friends of the publisher and patron Peter Erichson. Helm had participated in the design of the legendary exhibition of the year 1923, with which the Bauhaus wanted to prove its existence and the Kuhr moved to study there, and both artists must have met in Weimar.


Helm left the Bauhaus in 1924. Kuhr, however, completed the change of location to Dessau - still as a student - in 1925, without the associated paradigm shift of the school from the model of the medieval Bauhütte to an orientation towards industrial design having significantly influenced his artistic thinking. From the beginning Kuhr understood himself as a painter. Like many others who came from the Bauhaus, he clung to the self-image of the artist as a loner in an anti-art society and sought an individual mode of development on the path of the then relevant "abstraction" between geometric condensation, color systematics and surrealist fantasy.


Art was for Kuhr an independent path of knowledge. His great example for this was Paul Klee (1879-1940), from 1921 to 1931 teacher for free painterly figures at the Bauhaus. In the last years of Klee's work in Dessau, Kuhr's first teaching took place as a colleague of Hinnerk Schepers in the mural painting workshop. In 1929-30 he was a teacher of figurative drawing at the Bauhaus, but left the school in late 1930 and moved to Berlin. Here he survived the Nazi dictatorship and the war as a decorative painter, was bombed out and came in 1944 in Soviet captivity.


Artistically, the 1930s meant for Kuhr an objectification, as befitted the zeitgeist. His drawings of those years can be interpreted as visual inventories. Every now and then an expressive style breaks through and testifies to the hunger for life of the prisoner in the circumstances. When Kuhr was appointed to the West Berlin School of Art Education in 1948, this gave him the opportunity to re-establish his roots in classical modernism. His life's work today exemplifies the search for meaning in his generation, which was struck by two world wars and a criminal dictatorship.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog of numerous illustrations containing a compilation of authentic texts by Fritz Kuhr, which will give an insight into his artistic thinking and promote access to the work.

Site Plan Ahrenshoop