until 07.11. | #2817ARTatBerlin | Salongalerie Die Möwe presents from 10th September 2020 the exhibition Raumkaskaden with works by the artist Erich Franke – for the first time in Berlin.
In its new exhibition “Raumkaskaden” (Space Cascades) from September 10 to November 7, 2020, the Berlin salon gallery “Die Möwe” (The Seagull) is presenting works by the painter and stage designer Erich Franke (1911-2008) for the first time in Berlin. Gouaches, watercolours, drawings, collages, paracollages and froissages convey an encounter with an artist whose work was influenced by avant-garde art movements of the 1920s and 30s such as Cubism and abstraction. His affinity for music and theatre – Franke worked successfully as a stage designer from 1939 to 1958 – also had an impact on his free artistic work. Inspiration from the stage gave his works additional spatial depth and dance-like dynamics. After the end of the Nazi dictatorship, Franke was one of those artists who creatively took up international artistic trends. Thus, immediately after 1945, he incorporated everyday materials into his paintings and achieved a surprising aesthetic effect through the multi-layered, often three-dimensional and relief-like surface. His works contributed to establishing abstract-experimental modernism in Germany. After moving from Wiesbaden to Uelzen and later to Bielefeld, the painter became known through numerous exhibitions, especially in northwest Germany. In Berlin’s “Möwe”, around 30 works from the 1930s to 70s now convey an impression of Franke’s preference for playing with space and line and his great pleasure in experimenting.
Erich Franke, born in Offenbach am Main, already designed his first abstract collages as a high school student and successfully applied with them to the progressive arts and crafts school in Wiesbaden, which was oriented on the principles of the Bauhaus. Here he attended the artistic classes of painting, interior design, commercial art and fashion from 1930 onwards, with the focus of his training on applied and free painting.
After completing his studies, he trained as a set and costume designer at the city’s state theatre from 1934. It was during this period that he created the watercolour “Tanztriole” (Dance Triole), which is shown in the exhibition and is reminiscent of Franke’s attachment to the theatre and figurines in the tradition of the Bauhaus. During his employment at renowned stages in southern Germany, painting and artistic experimentation remained his great passion.
After his return from war captivity in 1946, Franke continued his earlier experimental work. The first presentation of his abstract works opened in Heidelberg in 1949 – parallel to the premiere of works by the avant-garde composer Hans-Werner Henze, with whom Franke was friends. The tempera work “Raumkaskade” (Space Cascade) from 1947, represented in the “Möwe” (Seagull), and the first assemblages that the artist created with everyday materials were also on display in that exhibition. From 1954 Franke further deepened his relationship to the fine arts and their contemporary international developments by again studying painting at the Karlsruhe Art Academy.
After finishing his work for the theater, he moved from Wiesbaden to Uelzen in 1958, where he worked as a freelance artist from then on. The construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961 coincided with the artist’s 50th birthday. This event occupied Franke deeply, so that in 1963 he became co-founder of “Gruppe G”, whose members dealt with the Berlin Wall and the inner-German border in a visual way. As examples of this, the exhibition includes the expressive ink and reed pen drawings “Zerstörung” and “Grenze”. In 1972, the painter travelled to Cyprus, where he witnessed the division of the island and processed his experiences in a cycle of Cyprus pictures.
Salongalerie Die Möwe cordially invites you to the opening of the exhibition on Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 6 p.m. Thilo Herrmann, Erich Franke’s long-time friend and companion, will give the laudatory speech. A preview of the exhibition is possible by appointment.
Opening for the Gallery Weekend: Thursday, 10 September 2020, 2:00 – 8:00 pm, Laudation: Thilo Herrmann (friend and companion of Erich Franke)
Exhibition dates: Thursday, 10 September to Saturday, 7. November 2020To the Gallery
Exhibition Erich Franke – Salongalerie Die Möwe | Moderne Kunst – Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin