Abstract female figure on a blue ground. Monogrammed and dated in the lower centre. Josef Steiner (1899 Munich - 1977 ibid.) lived through a Germany in all its facets as an artist. As a young talented student of the Munich trade school he was drafted into the First World War as a 19-year-old soldier. From 1920 he lived in Berlin with his wife Gertrud Schaefer (1882-1969) and experienced the Roaring Twenties there. From then on, the capital and the leading Expressionist movement left their mark on him, and artistic success was not lacking. Josef Steiner's name was mentioned in Berlin exhibitions and reviews at the same time as names such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Max Pechstein and many other well-known greats. Especially because of his expressionist nude prints, he was branded a "degenerate artist" after Hitler's seizure of power. He began to document his work photographically at an early stage, as the National Socialist regime's crackdown came to fruition and many of his large-scale works are now lost. As a critic of the regime, he was persecuted and suffered a difficult period between 1936 and 1939 with cruel political imprisonment for eight months in 1937. Impoverished and in poor health, Steiner was finally banned from working in 1939 and then moved back to Munich. After soon entering the Second World War as a soldier and subsequently being wounded, he was discharged from the Wehrmacht in 1944. To help himself out of a hopeless situation, he created the infamous "Kinderköpfchen", which he sent to Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels as a portrait of the Holde Goebbels. In fact, this drew benevolent effects without his having to ingratiate himself to the regime through Nazi motifs and "blood and soil painting". He was thus able to resume work as an artist in 1943 and devoted himself to depicting nature as a graphic artist. In private, however, he continued to live out his life in nude prints. From the 1960s onwards and after a good 20 years of impoverishment, things started to look up again for Steiner and his success slowly returned. Mainly devoted to Expressionism, he created a comprehensive oeuvre even after the war and was honoured by exhibitions, especially at the "Haus der Kunst", Munich. Lit: Rainer Haaff: Josef Steiner - Leben und Graphisches Werk. Leopoldshafen 2019.
Height: 62.0 cm | 24.41 in.
Width: 47.0 cm | 18.5 in.