* 17 January 1881 in Mengen; † 20 September 1938 in Stuttgart
German painter, wood-engraver, and art historian
As a member of the avant-garde art scene around Adolf Hölzel, Gottfried Graf ranks among the trailblazers of Modern art. At the same time, he is also considered as pioneer of modern wood carving.
After taking his degree as art teacher at the Stuttgart art academy, Graf goes on a study tour to Italy. From 1910 to 1913, he continues his studies under Christian Landenberger and Adolf Hölzel. In Cologne he visits the International Sonderbund-Exhibition, where he, for the first time, sees paintings by van Gogh, Cezanne, the Cubists, Futurists, and artists of the Brücke. These impressions result in a change of his pictorial notions, up to a dissection of representativeness. In 1917, Graf takes part in the ‘Sturm-Gesamtschau’ in Berlin. In the following year he continues his studies at the Stuttgart art academy, where he pleads for a fundamental reform of the academy. In the summer of 1919, Oskar Schlemmer, Graf, Willi Baumeister and others found a local branch of the November Group in Stuttgart, the Uecht Group, in order to implement their desires of a reform. From 1921 on, he is in charge of the wood carving class at the Stuttgart art academy, and in 1925 he is offered professorship for the graphic-art class. He takes part in the Great Berlibn Art Exhibition in 1922, 1923 and 1924, as a member of the November Group. From 1922 on, he turns again to representational motifs. To celebrate his 50th birthday a great show of his œuvre is an acknowledgment for his work. Exhibitions in Vienna, Berlin and Chicago follow. During the time of National Socialism his art is defamed as ‘degenerate’. Many of his works are removed from public collections. In 1938, Graf is dismissed from his teaching job. He dies in the same year.