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Usedom in the mirror of painting and graphics (1936-1981) – From the Niemeyer-Holstein Collection

Heikendorf, GER
9.3. - 26.5.2024

Usedom in the mirror of painting and graphics (1936-1981) – From the Niemeyer-Holstein Collection / Usedom im Spiegel der Malerei und Grafik (1936-1981) – Aus der Sammlung Niemeyer-Holsteins

The extensive collection of the artist Otto Niemeyer-Holstein (ONH) consists of more than 700 paintings and prints as well as sculptures by important contemporaries. ONH was friends with over 200 artists and exchanged works of art with them or received them as gifts. Later, he also bought works by artists he admired and supported young artists through acquisitions. The works of the Usedom artist friends form a focal point of this collection. Franka Keil, director of the museum Atelier ONH in Lüttenort/Usedom, has selected almost 50 works by 24 artist personalities from this wealth of artworks. In addition to ONH, Otto Manigk, Karen Schacht and Herbert Wegehaupt were also among the artists who settled on the island of Usedom with their families in the mid-1930s as friends and like-minded people.

This group was later labelled the “Usedom School of Painting”. In their works, its members primarily focussed on the island’s landscape. They were not united by a style, but by a common artistic attitude. This friendly group of painters expanded from the mid-1950s onwards. Painters such as Rosa Kühn and Vera Kopetz came to Usedom, as did the young artists Oskar Manigk, Matthias Wegehaupt and Joachim John. They all sought critical dialogue and artistic exchange with ONH. Lüttenort was a meeting place where a free and productive exchange of ideas could take place. ONH, represented in the exhibition with nine works, is no stranger to Heikendorf. He was born in Kiel in 1896, the son of the international lawyer Theodor Niemeyer. In 1907, the family moved into their “Villa Niemeyer” in Kitzeberg, which was destroyed in 1944.

ONH’s paintings have landscape, sea, people and still life as their theme. He was particularly challenged by the sea, which always offered new impressions in the interplay of light, wind and clouds, and by the edge of the sea, the threshold where the elements meet. His paintings show us nature as it is familiar to us. But on closer inspection, something enigmatic and mysterious can be discovered in the works, for they are not so much pure depictions of nature as symbols of it.
The Usedom painters have worked together for almost 30 years, developing an unmistakable style of painting with an unshakeable belief in nature and the dignity of mankind, which still unfolds its magic today. See for yourself.