HAP Grieshaber
Ich - im Atelier, 1960

After the war, HAP Grieshaber contributed more than almost any other artist to perfecting woodcut technique and giving it painterly qualities. In formal terms, Grieshaber draws on Expressionist woodcuts for this work, mainly the Brücke artists, but also on the black-outlined figures of the German proto-Renaissance. Grieshaber’s work Ich – im Atelier [Myself – in the studio] – though not a woodcut – clearly emphasizes his artistic view of figures, aiming to show man’s alienated relationship with his environment. Between 1955 and 1960 Grieshaber was a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, a post which became increasingly bureaucratic, and was rendered distasteful to him by conservative opposition. Grieshaber was unable to realize his pedagogical aspirations, based around an education in life through art rather than an education in art, and at the beginning of 1960 he gave up his post, disenchanted. The self-portrait created in the same year Ich – im Atelier [Myself—in the studio] may be seen as documenting this time, in which the artist began to release himself from the pressures of the academy and to concentrate anew on his artistic work.

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