Artist Couple in the Modern Movement
Emil Maetzel and Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen
23 November 2018 – 24 March 201

Emil Maetzel (1877-1955) and Dorothea Maetzel Johannsen (1886-1930) were important representatives of the artistic avant-garde in Hamburg in the first years of the Weimar Republic when the spirit of renewal resounded through German society. With the founding of the Hamburg Secession in 1919, the city experienced a second important phase of Expressionism, one in which the Maetzels played a decisive role. 

Emil Maetzel studied architecture and was a self-taught painter. Although Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen attended drawing school, she too was not professionally trained as an artist. In Berlin, where Emil Maetzel was stationed during the First World War, the couple benefited from opportunities to visit important exhibitions such as the Berlin Secession and Herwarth Walden's "Der Sturm" Gallery. A decisive event for the artists was their discovery of African art, which they began to collect and whose figures they integrated into their works.

1919 to 1923 were the years of Hamburg's first artist festivals, which ignited a veritable firework of racy performances by dancers, singers and actors and provided the outlet for a more permissive societal cohesion. The festivities helped bring staid citizens together with members of the artistic Bohème. The ever exotic settings and costumes were the results of the fantasy of artists, among whom Emil Maetzel played a prominent role as painter. Artistic freedom found its intellectual expression in the emancipation of living styles from conventional ideas of morality.

The Maetzels followed diverging artistic paths in the 1920s. With visits to Paris (1925) and Gotland (1929) Dorothea Maetzel-Johannsen underlined her increasing independence before she died of heart problems in 1930 at the age of only 44. Emil survived her by 25 years. In 1933 he was dismissed from the civil service by the National Socialists. In his house in Volksdorf he then spent lonely years, although taking advantage of the opportunity for painting excursions in northern Germany. After 1945 he started out on a new and voluminous productive phase.

With more than 150 paintings, sculptures, print graphics, and photos, the Exhibition, which was prepared and shown for the first time in 2017 by the Kunstmuseum Stade, gives visitors the most comprehensive look to date at both the work of this artist couple and a momentous chapter in Hamburg's Expressionism. The show is based on the holdings of Hamburg collector Tim Tobeler who has explored the work of Emil Maetzel and Dorothea Maetzel-Johansen for many years. Besides the artistic estate of the Maetzel family, the Tobeler collection boasts the largest holding of works by the artist couple. The show in the August Macke House has been supplemented by additional important loans from public and private collections, as well as from the artistic estate of the Maetzel family.

A catalogue is available at the Exhibition.

Cut-outs and Silhouettes in Dialogue

6 July – 3 November 2018

The Exhibition that has been chosen to build a bridge into the world of contem-porary art at the August Macke House Museum places a traditional medium side by side with striking new interpretations by 16 contemporary artists. The new horizons charted by contemporary artists extend from tiny miniatures to room-filling installations, from simple black-white contrasts to color variation, from vegetal ornamentation to political statement. 

An opening prologue sets the spotlight on silhouette master and shadow artist Ernst Moritz Engert (1892–1986) and on animated-film pioneer Lotte Reiniger (1899–1981). Starting with the stark imagery of selected Expressionist works, including a never-before-shown collage by August Macke (1887–1914), the Exhibition becomes an exciting expedition into contemporary art.

With Felix Droese, Annette Schröter, Tobias Gerber, Anett Frontzek, Lena von Goedeke, Zipora Rafaelov, Marion Eichmann, Volker Saul, Andreas Kocks, Heike Weber, Cornelia Genschow, Gabriele Basch, Hans Lankes, Martin Noël, Katharina Hinsberg, Charlotte McGowan-Griffin.

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the Exhibition.

In Dialogue with His 
Expressionist Artist Friends

18 March –17 June 2018

The 125th birthday and 80th anniversary of the death of Expressionist Helmuth Macke (1891–1936) offer us an occasion to take a new look at his life's work. Born in Krefeld in 1891, the artist drowned tragically in 1936 during a boat excursion on Lake Constance. Our exhibition treats Macke for the first time in the context of his Expressionist artist friends and highlights his role as one of the players on the contemporary avant-garde scene. The show in the August Macke House Museum is the final lap of a travelling exhibition that began in Constance in the autumn of 2016.

The Exhibition takes a fresh look at the artist and offers insights into his personality and development in creative dialogue with friends such as Heinrich Campendonk, Wilhelm Wieger, Heinrich und Marie Nauen, as August Macke, Franz and Maria Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein und Hans Thuar. A richly illustrated book edited by Ina Ewers-Schultz documents the lifework of the artist.


3 December 2017 – 4 March 2018

With »August Macke and Friends – Encounters in an Image World« the August Macke House Museum is inaugurating its spacious new exhibition rooms while honoring the great Expressionist on the 130th anniversary of his birth. As a tribute to Macke‘s outstanding importance in the avant-garde movement before the First World War, the show is also intended to complement for a limited time the newly installed permanent exhibition in August Macke‘s former home and studio in Bonn, onto which an extensive addition has now been built.

Significant works focusing on themes of central importance are presented in the chronological order of their appearance in the artist‘s oeuvre and, for the first time, against the background of the fruitful interaction between Macke and his artist colleagues. Tracing this dialogue reveals the range of contacts, networks, and friends cultivated by August Macke in the few years during which he was able to create such an extraordinary corpus of works. Juxtaposition of pictures within the individual themes will underscore similarities as well as the different accents set by the various artists and the ideas that motivated them.

The exhibition brings together some 150 works by August Macke and artist colleagues such as Heinrich Campendonk, Claus Cito, Robert Delaunay, Max Ernst, Alexej Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Helmuth Macke, Walter Macke, Franz und Maria Marc, Carlo Mense, Marie von Malachowski-Nauen, Louis Moilliet, Gabriele Münter, Heinrich Nauen, Paul A. Seehaus, Hans Thuar, and Marianne von Werefkin. A catalogue has been published in conjunction with the exhibition.