Rottluff, Germany 1884 – 1976 Berlin (German)

Title: Russian Forest | Russisches Wald, 1918

Technique: Original Hand Signed Woodcut on Wove Paper

Paper size: 35.5 x 53.1 cm. / 14 x 20.9 in.
Image size: 20.1 x 26.1 cm. / 7.9 x 10.3 in.

Additional Information: This original woodcut is hand signed in pencil by the artist “S. Rottluff” at the lower right margin.
The printer was Fritz Voigt, Berlin.
The sheet bears the work number [Werknummer] 1829.

It was in 1905, whilst in Dresden and enrolled on an architecture course that Karl Schmidt-Rottluff began to experiment with the woodcut technique. The technique itself is synonymous with Germanic artistic traditions. The tactile essence and fragility of the medium as well as the reductive nature of carving in relief was likely a habitual calm for the artist’s nerves during his time on the Eastern front and following his return to Berlin. Whilst the material may be soft and conquerable, the stark black inked images are robust, sharp and dominant. The artist’s own response to the war can be seen clearly even in mundane scenes of civilian life. Schmidt-Rottluff proclaimed, “I really feel pressure to create something that is as strong as possible. The war has really swept away everything from the past.” His woodcuts embody this resilient spirit.

Literature: Schapire, R. & Rathenau, E. (1987). Karl Schmidt-Rottluff: Das Graphische Werk Bis 1923. Berlin: Vormals Euphorion Verlag.
Reference: Schapire H. 230.

Condition: Very good condition. Pinpoint foxing across the sheet. Soft creasing across the sheet. Some tape remains, verso.