Gert Heinrich Wollheim - Porträt Heinrich George
Gert Heinrich Wollheim
Porträt Heinrich George
Oil on canvas 130 x 100,7 cm Framed under glass. Titled, signed, and dated 'Heinrich George Wollheim 28' in blue lower left. - Partially with fine craquelure.
Gert Heinrich Wollheim possessed a wealth of talents: he wrote poems, played the violin, drew, painted, modelled sculptures, organised exhibitions, wrote plays and also liked to perform as an actor himself. Along with all of this, Wollheim gave lectures and also wrote essays and polemics in journals like “Das Ey” or “Das Junge Rheinland”. Regardless of his medium, Wollheim's contributions are distinguished by their deep interest in human existence, they possess an unbridled force and delicate fragility and are, at the same time, rarely free of humour or irony. Like few others, Wollheim was able to artistically assimilate the Roaring Twenties - with all their glamour and depths.
It seems safe to assume that the highly individual artistic personality Gert Wollheim and the elemental theatrical force Heinrich George had plenty to talk about; in any case, it does not seem surprising that the two came together in the Berlin of the 1920s. At a time when the George portraits by Erfurt, Dix and Beckmann had yet to be made, the story goes that our large-format likeness was created during a single night in 1928. In a 1971 interview, the artist matter-of-factly recalls: “[…] and then the actors came. In the depths of the night, after the performance, Heinrich George appeared armed with bottles of sparkling wine, stood in his place and was painted in life-size.” (cited in: Stephan von Wiese (ed.), Gert H. Wollheim. Monographie und Werkverzeichnis, Cologne 1993).
Berta Drews-George, Berlin; Private collection, Berlin
Hanover 1928 (Kunstverein) Deutscher Künstlerbund, p. 42; Berlin 1977 (Walther-Rathenau-Saal, Rathaus Wedding), 15. Europäische Kunstausstellung Berlin. Tendenzen der zwanziger Jahre. Die Novembergruppe. Teil I: Die Maler. cat no. 67 with illus. p. 147; Düsseldorf 1993 (Kunstmuseum im Ehrenhof) Gert H. Wollheim 1894–1974. Eine Retrospektive, cat. no. 34 with illus. p. 143