drei Personen inmitten einer abstrakten Feuersbrunst
© bei den Erben/ Rechtsnachfolgern, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski

The I in the We: Artists Portraits in the GDR

The New Masters Picture Gallery presents alternating exhibitions of its holdings in its “Schaukabinett”. In the 4th part of the series, the presentations directs its focus to artists portraits in the GDR.

The exhibition assembles eleven works by artists such as Erich Gerlach, Peter Graf, Ernst Hassebrauk, Bernhard Heisig, Siegfried Klotz, Arno Rink, Wolfram Adalbert Scheffler, and Willy Wolff.

  • DATES 05/07/2011—30/10/2011


Artist portraits promise exclusive insights into the special role and the self-conception of the depicted person. Following the slogan “From the I to the We”, the East German painters were to contribute to the development of the socialist society. This order often juxtaposed claims for autonomy, which were historically developed and in which artists felt free from outside forces and only obliged to themselves. In this field, painters positioned differently.

drei Personen inmitten einer abstrakten Feuersbrunst
© bei den Erben/ Rechtsnachfolgern, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
Ernst Hassebrauk, Flucht aus dem brennenden Dresden (Selbstbildnis mit Maske), 1957 Öl auf Leinwand, 160 x 95 cm


In this exhibition, traditional ways of artist depictions can be found just as new and unique pictorial inventions. The work by Eva Schulze-Knabe, for instance, shows the typical frontal view of the self-confident artist. However, Peter Graf’s self-portrait is hidden in the background of an allegorical scene and Ernst Hassebrauk stages himself masked in front of the burning city of Dresden.

Additionally to the depiction of the respective person, the artists asked existential questions, commented on their own stories and on the social environment. The diversity of the portraits is mirrored in their stylistic variety.

Selbstbildnis einer Künstlerin im weißen Mantel
© bei den Erben/ Rechtsnachfolgern, Foto: Estel/Klut
Eva Schulze-Knabe, Selbstbildnis, 1957 Öl auf Leinwand, 65 x 55,5 cm


The exhibition was curated within the realms of the project “Bildatlas: Kunst in der DDR”, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and which is devoted to the refurbishment and documentation of the painting from the GDR. The project is a shared venture by Technical University Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam, and the Art Archive Beeskow.

weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions
15.12.2017 —15.04.2018
Portrait eines Mannes mit kantigem und unnatürlich gefärbtem Gesicht
15.07.2017 —19.11.2017

Geniale Dilletanten

im Albertinum

Foto von A. R. Penck am Schlagzeug
28.04.2018 —04.11.2018
Titelbild der Modezeitschrift mit dem Portrait einer Frau
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