Albert WeisgerberGerman, 1878-1915
German painter and printmaker. He studied decoration at the Kreisbaugewerksschule in Kaiserlautern (1891-3) and began work in a decorator studio in Frankfurt am Main. However, in 1894 he moved to Munich to resume his studies, first at the Kunstgewerbeschule and later under Franz von Stuck at the Akademie der Bildenden Kenste (1897-1901). For some years he concentrated on poster design and book illustration, contributing a total of 500 drawings to Jungend: Illustrierte Wochenschrift for Kunst und Leben from 1899. His early paintings such as the portrait of Ludwig Scharf II (c. 1905; Munich, Staatsgal. Mod. Kst) were executed in dark-toned academic style, but an exhibition of French Impressionism in Berlin in 1905 so impressed him that he went to Paris for nearly a year (until May 1906). Despite his association with the circle of artists around Matisse, he was more influenced by the work of Cezanne. In 1907 he made a second visit to Paris and joined Phalanx in 1909. In the latter year he was visited by Hans Purrmann and Matisse. By 1911 with a third visit to Paris and travels to Rome and Naples, he had established himself as one of the foremost German Impressionists. As well as such lyrical scenes as Munich Hofgarten (1911; Munich, Lenbachhaus), in common with many of his German contemporaries, Weisgerber reconceived classical scenes in an energetic style, for example in Amazon Camp (1910; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.). In 1912 he had a one-man show in the Kunsthaus, Zurich, and a year later participated in the annual Kunstausstellung in Munich. Although using an Impressionist style, he was equally at home in Expressionist circles, and this undoubtedly influenced his election to the presidency of the Neuen Menchner Sezession (1913). In the last four years of his career he was obsessed with sacrificial subject-matter from the Old and New Testaments, which he had originated in the theme of St Sebastian (e.g. St Sebastian Felled by Arrows, 1910; Munich, Staatsgal. Mod. Kst). While not exclusively tragic (e.g. David and Goliath, 1914; Saarbrecken, Saarland-Mus.), these final works strip away historical references to concentrate upon the fate of the isolated individual, as in Absalom (1914; Hamburg, Ksthalle).