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Live-in studio of Ludwig Thormaehlen (1927–1933)

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“[The writer] Ernst Morwitz promptly brought me into this circle. From that moment on, I became friends with Erich Heckel, who captivated me with his intelligence, indeed almost wisdom. This was followed by endless art discussions, some of a theoretical nature and others concerning very tangible and immediate questions.”

From: Ludwig Thormaehlen, Erinnerungen an Stefan George, Hamburg 1962

Erich Heckel, L. Th., 1930,  Brücke-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

After the First World War, followers of the poet Stefan George met regularly in Berlin for intellectual discussions. It was through the writer Ernst Morwitz, whom the literature-loving Erich Heckel had met during his medical service in Flanders, that the Brücke artist became involved with the elite group. There he met the national-conservative art historian and sculptor Ludwig Thormaehlen, a colleague of Ludwig Justi, then director of the National Gallery in Berlin. A life-long friendship developed between the two.

Thormaehlen had arrived in Berlin before the start of the war. In 1927, he moved into a bright new flat on Albrecht-Achilles-Straße in Halensee. His studio at this address, the “Achilleion”, became one of the most important meeting places for the George Circle. In addition to being a regular guest at Thormaehlen’s, Heckel was also present through works on his friend’s walls. The relationship between the two men was marked by profound mutual esteem, as evidenced not least by the fact that they portrayed each other. Thormaehlen wrote the first monograph on Heckel in 1931.

Valentina Bay

Ludwig Thormaehlen, 1929/30, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv, Sammlung Personen, Thormahlen, Ludwig

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