* 27 July 1892 in Dresden; † 21 October 1970 in Birkenwerder (near Berlin)
German painter, graphic artist and photographer
Edmund Kesting plays an active part in the new artistic developments at the beginning of the twentieth century. After World War II he is one of the important East German representatives of Art Informel. Kesting, who trained in Dresden at the School of Applied Arts at and the Academy of Arts, has his first exhibition in 1916 at Kunsthandlung Emil Richter. After deployment in the Great War, in 1918 he becomes master pupil of both Richard Müller and Otto Gußmann When he exhibits his water colours at Gallery Arnold in Dresden he makes contact with Herwarth Walden and subsequently exhibits at Walden’s Berlin Sturm-Gallery in 1923. Around 1925 he begins to experiment with photography – among other things with double exposure. The National Socialists ban him from teaching, painting and exhibiting his works. He makes his living from photography. Twelve of his works are denounced as ‘degenerate’ and removed from German museums. In 1946 Kesting is appointed to the position of lecturer for photography and film at Dresden State Academy of Applied Art. With the beginning of the formalism debate he loses his teaching position in 1948. He subsequently receives a teaching assignment at the Berlin-Weißensee School of Art. His contract is terminated without notice in 1953 as a result of the intensified debate on formalism. From 1955 to 1960 he teaches the subject, Camera, at the new Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg.
With the advent of the 1980s Kesting’s works find official recognition in the GDR, although museums and galleries abroad and in West Germany have been exhibiting Kesting’s work since the 1960s. These include, among others, the Bern Art Museum, the Munich Lenbach House, Tate Gallery London, the Country Museum of Art in Los Angeles and the Vienna Museum of the Twentieth Century.