Otto Neumann (1895-1975) born, Heidelberg, Germany, expressionist painter and printmaker. One of the most versatile and original artists of the twentieth century, Otto Neumann created works of stark brutality, sumptuous beauty, and sleek simplicity in an array of media oils, watercolors, chalk, graphite, lithographs, woodcuts, and monotypes, among others. He lived through revolutionary changes in the art world of prewar and postwar Germany, and drew inspiration from his contemporaries and predecessors, as well as from sources literary and deeply personal. Today, Neumann is best known for his subtly hued woodcuts and monotypes of human, animal, and abstract forms, created in the last twenty-five years of his life. Institutions owning works by Otto Neumann, Art Institute of Chicago, Detroit Institute of Art, Goethe Institute, Museum of Modern Art New York, Portland Art Museum, Rose Art Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Gibbes Museum of Fine Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art.
Otto Neumann’s immersive work in a variety of mediums and styles defines his distinguished oeuvre. Neumann was a prolific artist born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1895 in a time of the country’s unprecedented academic and intellectual growth.
The son of a renowned professor at the University of Heidelberg, Neumann grew up surrounded by his father’s friends including brilliant German philosophers and scholars Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch. These academic influencers of thought shaped Neumann’s perspective in art and literature.
George Braque, founder of Cubism with Pablo Picasso, was inspired by Neumann’s work, and sought to add his paintings to his collection. Many noted artists influenced Neumann including Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka, British sculptor Henry Moore, and the group of German expressionist artists of Die Brücke (The Bridge). Neumann admired works by painters Henry Moore, Hans von Marées, and Oskar Schlemmer.
The magnum opus of his career was the detailed graphite drawings based on each of the 34 cantos of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. Neumann also created prints of many of Dante’s subjects, though almost always one of a kind, and set up his lifelong practice of sometimes signing the prints but never utilizing edition numbers.
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