The Sea of Stars at My Back
The Jewish Museum shows works from the expressionist artist Ludwig Meidner (1884 - 1966) in its summer exhibition. Its almost 80 exhibits originate from the Dr. Hans-Joachim and Elisabeth Bönsch Art Foundation.
Due to his persecution and outlawry destiny under the National Socialist regime – as a Jew and also a so-called “degenerate” artist – Meidner’s public sustainability was very sustainably stolen. He was only rediscovered during the 1980s as one of the most significant representatives of urban expressionism and one of the most interesting double talents of his time.
Ludwig Meidner occupied himself with the war both as a visual artist and an author and poet. From 1916 to 1918, he served as an interpreter in a prisoner of war camp and processed his experiences intensely – primarily in images which nowadays appear surprisingly modern and caricature-like.
Ludwig Meidner published two volumes of expressionist prose directly after the war. The lithographs with which he illustrated these publications – “The Sea of Stars at My Back” (1918) and “September Cry” (1920) – form the focus of the exhibition.
Beyond this, it shows the captivating, apocalyptic works from the time of World War 1, self-portraits as well as portraits of artist friends from the Weimar Republic. Further topics include the religious works and works from his time in English exile.
The Dr. Hans-Joachim and Elisabeth Bönsch Art Foundation was founded in Wolfsburg in 2001 from a private art collection started during the 1960s. Schloss Gottorf and the Foundation have been connected since 2016.
The extent to which art exhibitions fit-in with a Jewish Museum and what specific contribution they can make to the understanding of Jewish culture and history – is repeatedly a matter of contention.
Ludwig Meidner is one of the few artists for whom such questions are practically irrelevant. We are absolutely justified in describing him as a “Jewish artist” without making a third-party ascription or cutting short his work.