* 11 September 1894 in Loschwitz n. Dresden; † 22 April 1974 in New York
German painter and graphic artist
Gert Heinrich Wollheim is one of the great solitary figures in the art of the 20th century. His œuvre is positioned between Expressionism, Surrealism, and Realism. Versatile and highly talented, the artist championed the modern art, as painter, author, and orator.
Wollheim studies for a short-time at the art academy in Weimar. As a soldier, he witnesses the cruelty of the World War One. And these experiences will, until his old age, remain a topic of his art. In 1918, the artist has his first solo exhibition in Berlin. Here, he establishes a first contact with the November Group. Together with Otto Pankok, a fellow-student from Weimar, he in 1919 founds an artists’ colony in East Frisia. In the late autumn of 1919, the painter returns to Düsseldorf, where an extremely prolific stage of his artistic work begins. He meets the art dealer Johanna Ey, and in 1920 he becomes a member of the artists’ group Das Junge Rheinland, a group that will become just as prominent as Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter. Together with Das Junge Rheinland, Wollheim exhibits in 1920 at the Große Kunstausstellung Düsseldorf. In those years, he also takes an active part in the publishing of progressive art publications. In 1922, he is among the organizers of the I. Internationale Kunstausstellung Düsseldorf – an event that, for the first time, brings modern European art to the Rhineland. When Wollheim returns to Berlin in the autumn of 1925 he has already made a name for himself as an artist. In the following years, his works are present in all major exhibitions; the Nationalgalerie acquires a painting. In 1926, Wollheim joins the November Group and takes part in their exhibitions. In Berlin, he continues to cultivate his friendship with Otto Dix, George Grosz and Max Ernst. With the beginning of the National-Socialist rule, the artist emigrates to France in the spring of 1933. In Germany, his artistic works are removed from museums and defamed as ‘degenerate art’. From 1939 to 1944, he is interned in various detention camps. In Paris, in March 1947, Wollheim is granted permission to go to the United States, where he has his first solo exhibition in 1950. In Germany, his works are shown i.a. in exhibitions in Düsseldorf and Berlin.