Wilhelm Morgner


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German painter, printmaker, and draughtsman, born in Soest, where he spent most of his short career. He was an Expressionist artist of outstanding promise, but he died in the First World War when he was only 26. From 1908 to 1910 he trained in Worpswede (see Modersohn-Becker) with the painter Georg Tappert (1880–1957), who moved to Berlin in 1910 and encouraged Morgner to exhibit there. His work was shown not only in Berlin, but also at the second Blaue Reiter exhibition in Munich in 1912 and in the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne in 1913. By this time Morgner had moved from vigorous scenes of country life, with fiery, spiralling brushwork recalling van Gogh, to pure abstracts such as Astral Composition (1913, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster). He was beginning to make a name for himself among his fellow artists when he was called up for military service in 1913, the year before the war started. From this point he produced only drawings and watercolours. He fought at the front from the beginning of the war and was reported missing at the Battle of Langemarck in France. Morgner said that ‘Every picture should be a life symphony. I don't mean by this an allegorical symphony to life or something similar; but that the lust for life should ring through in the colours and lines.’

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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