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10 Years Galerie Hochdruck

The „Roaring“ Twenties 1918—1933
Printed art between euphoria and disaster


online catalogue

Location: Galerie Hochdruck, Friedmanngasse 12/5, 1160 Wien
Period: 4 May to 9 September
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Mon/Sat by appointment
Phone: +4369911506010

4.5. - 9.9.2022

Galerie Hochdruck is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an overview of prints, periodicals and illustrated books from the 1920s. The years from 1918 to 1933 were marked not only by the politically and socially troubled Weimar Republic in Germany, but also by numerous interlinked avant-garde currents throughout Central and Eastern Europe. “The avant-garde,” writes Timothy O. Benson, was “at the apex of its heroic phase” in May 1922 at the congress of the Union of International Progressive Artists in Düsseldorf. It “had become pluralistic, with a number of often ephemeral centers of development, each blending sophisticated tendencies from abroad with regional traditions and priorities.”(1) The November Revolution in Germany in 1918 gave rise to the Novembergruppe, the largest of the numerous, sometimes short-lived artists’ associations of the interwar period. At times it was a gathering of over 120 artists from all over Europe, many of whom also belonged to the circle around Herwarth Walden’s Berlin Sturm Gallery. In 1928, Will Grohmann looked back on the initially low social acceptance of some of the “scandalous” exhibitions: “Expressionist, as all modern artists were commonly called, became as much a swear word as Communist.”(2) While the title pages of the Sturm catalogues up to 1920 simply proclaimed the triumvirate “Expressionists – Futurists – Cubists”, Hans Arp and El Lissitzky named a total of sixteen different art “isms” in their half-serious, half-ironic 1925 book Die Kunst-ismen. In retrospect, Kinetism, the special Viennese form of Futurism, for example, could easily be added to this compilation. At one extreme we find the “anarchist-nihilist” (George Grosz) Dadaism, which originated in Zurich and became politicised in Berlin, and at the other Constructivism, which spread from Russia and also found expression in the Dutch De Stijl and in teaching at the Bauhaus. In between, there is the verism of George Grosz, Otto Dix or Karl Rössing, who poked relentlessly at the sociopolitical wounds of the time. But the Paris of the “années folles” was also “still the most important suburb of art”(3), not least in the field of the rapidly spreading media of film and photography. In addition, many technical innovations that only became possible through the widespread use of electricity (e.g. illuminated signs) had a decisive influence on the art of the 1920s, especially where new territories were entered at the interface of “absolute” and “applied” art, as in (graphic) design. Politically, the situation in Germany came to a drastic head in the late 1920s and early 1930s, as illustrated, for example, by John Heartfield’s photomontages, which ceaselessly criticised the rising Nazism.

(1) Timothy O. Benson, “Exchange and Transformation: The Internationalization of the Avant-Garde(s) in Central Europe”, in central European avant-gardes: exchange and transformation, 1910-1930 (Cambridge MA, 2002), pp. 35, 42.

(2) Will Grohmann, “Zehn Jahre Novembergruppe”, in Konstanze Rudert, Volkmar Billig, eds., Will Grohmann: Texte zur Kunst der Moderne (Munich, 2021), p. 28.

(3) Will Grohmann, “Neue schöpferische Kräfte in der europäischen Malerei der Gegenwart”, in ibid., p. 38.

Past exhibition:
Engravings and etchings from Francisco Goya to Heinrich Heuer

Online catalogue

Duration: 9 November 2021 to 18 February 2022
Location: Galerie Hochdruck, Friedmanngasse 12/5, 1160 Wien
Opening: 9 November 2021, 6 to 9 pm
Opening hours: Tue – Fri 11 am –  6 pm or by appointment
Phone: +4369911506010

until 18 February 2022

This time, in contrast to the name of the gallery, we are focusing on intaglio printing in its various forms and sometimes very demanding techniques. “Intaglio” comes from the Italian intagliare, which means “to notch” or “to scratch” and refers to the treatment of the plate by the artist, who cuts or carves the image out of or into the metal plate – directly or through an etching ground. The German word Tiefdruck again refers to the way the plate is printed. In intaglio printing, in contrast to relief printing, where the parts left standing during cutting (i.e. webs or contiguous areas) print, the ink lies in the recessed parts of the plate – engraved, scratched or treated by other techniques – and is transferred from these to the paper by high pressure. There are cold processes such as copperplate engraving or drypoint, in which the plate is treated purely mechanically, and processes in which the plate is additionally etched in order to deepen or widen the areas to be printed, which also always involves a change in the light-dark values.

Etching was invented just before 1500 by Daniel Hopfer, who derived the imaging process on paper from his practice of decorating weapons by etching. For a long time, a particular difficulty in etching was the production of larger contiguous dark surfaces, as the metal had to be sufficiently rough or have numerous closely spaced depressions in order to hold a lot of ink. For a long time, this was only possible with particularly narrow line or cross hatching. It was not until the middle of the eighteenth century, with the invention of the aquatint technique, that a tried and tested surface etching process could be applied on a large scale. In Goya’s experimental etching work, this technique in combination with line etching achieved its first great technical and artistic highpoint.

In our exhibition, Heinrich Heuer (b. 1934) is the brilliant culmination of a 500-year exploration of the various possibilities of artistic metal etching in printmaking. We are fortunate to be able to show not only a selection of his large-format etchings, which were created only this year, but also the corresponding printing plates. Also on display will be examples of all stages of the development of etching, including early examples of surface etching processes, as well as colour etchings, from Hopfer and Goya to examples from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We have selected prints that reflect as many different intaglio techniques as possible: from simple line etching to mezzotint and the sugar lift technique, from “à la poupée” printing in the second half of the eighteenth century to the viscosity printing used by Stanley William Hayter, from soft sground etching to “nature printing”.

Artists: Daniel and Hieronymus Hopfer, Hans Sebald Beham, Hendrik Goltzius, Adriaen Brouwer, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Wenzel Hollar, Nicholas Cochin, William Hogarth, Francesco Bartolozzi, Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Francisco Goya, Camille Corot, Edgar Degas, James Ensor, Odilon Redon, Arthur Illies, Käthe Kollwitz, Max Slevogt, Walter Gramatté, Georg Ehrlich, Georges Rouault, Henri Matisse, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Bellmer, Arnulf Rainer, Florentina Pakosta, Felix Waske, Antoni Tàpies, Daniel Pizani, Heinrich Heuer