Erich Buchholz. Art History is One Big Forgery

His abstract reliefs are considered icons of the 20th century, his graphic designs are avant-garde and his building designs are visionary.

Fragile spatial objects made of glass and plexiglass and gilded abstract reliefs by Erich Buchholz have arrived at the National Museum in Szczecin. The facility at Wały Chrobrego is now also housing a reconstruction of his atelier designed in 1922.

Born in Bydgoszcz, Erich Buchhholz was one of the most interesting artists of the German avant-garde. Almost completely unknown in Poland, he not only functioned on the international art scene, but was also appreciated by it from the early 1920s. Being related to Berlin, the cultural melting pot of Europe at the time, he had the opportunity to make friends with representatives of modern trends in art, coming from all parts of the continent. Buchholz's studio would be visited by the protagonist of Soviet Constructivism El Lissitzjky, precursors of experimental film: Hungarian Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and Swede Viking Eggeling, a pioneer of functionalist architecture in the Netherlands Jacobus J.P. Oud, Romanian Dadaist painter Arthur Segal and a leading Polish representative of geometric abstraction Henryk Berlewi.

On the 50th anniversary of Buchholz's death and the 100th anniversary of the creation of his Berlin studio – total work of art  the National Museum in Szczecin and the Kunsthaus Dahlem in Berlin, in cooperation with the administrator of the artist's legacy and the Foundation for Concrete Art and Design in Ingolstadt, are presenting an exhibition dedicated to the versatile painter, architect, sculptor, graphic artist and product designer. Its title refers to his artistic autobiography published in 1972. Buchholz, unable to accept the marginalisation of 'official art history' after the Second World War, thus expressed his opposition to the one-dimensionality of the written history of the avant-garde. The exhibition restores the voice of this non-conformist artist and confronts his output with the current canon. With the Polish viewer in mind, it also uncovers the non-artistic sources of ideas particularly characteristic of German modernism.


Erich Buchholz. Art History is One Big Forgery
Erich Buchholz: Die Kunstgeschichte ist eine einzige Fälschung

Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin: November 26th 2022 - April 2nd.2023
The National Museum in Szczecin: April 20th - October 1st 2023

Curators: Dr Dorothea Schöne and Dr Szymon Piotr Kubiak

Exhibition info on the exhibition at Kunsthaus Dahlem may be found HERE

Erich Buchholz bio:

1891 born in Bydgoszcz on January 31st

1908 teachers' college in Bydgoszcz

1911 employed as a primary school teacher in Czarnków (Wielkopolska)

1915 moving to Berlin and beginning his artistic career; brief apprenticeship with Lovis Corinth; compulsory military service

work as a stage designer under Karl Voigt in Bamberg and, from 1920, for the Albert Theatre in Dresden

1921 exhibition of 46 works in Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm gallery

1922 creation of his studio-apartment at Herkulesufer 15 in Berlin; display of five works at the First International Art Exhibition in Düsseldorf

1923 show of four works as a guest of the Novembergruppe at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition; regular participation in this annual exhibition until 1931

1925 moving to Germendorf in Brandenburg

1933–1945 (according to Buchholz's daughter) banned from painting and arrested on charges of spreading communist propaganda 

1947 solo exhibition Werden über 30 Jahre: Erich Buchholz [Thirty Years' Work. Erich Buchholz] at Berlin's Tempelhof gallery, curated by William Wauer

1951 return to Berlin

1953 publication of the text Die große Zäsur [The great caesura]

1956 exhibition of his works at Rose Fried Gallery in New York; purchase of the painting Forces (1921) by Herbert and Nanette Rothschild; its transfer to the Museum of Modern Art and presentation at 1956/1957 Recent European Acquisitions exhibition

1957 solo exhibition at the Gerd Rosen Gallery, Berlin; publication of the text Die abstrakte Bewegung [The Abstract Movement]

1969 publication of the text An meinem Fall scheitert die offizielle Kunstgeschichte [In My Case the Official Art History Fails]

1972 publication of the text Die Kunstgeschichte ist eine einzige Fälschung [Art History Is One Big Forgery]; death on December 29th in Berlin

1978 retrospective exhibition at several institutions, including the Art Museum (now the Sprengl Museum) in Hanover and the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen

  • Erich Buchholz, Sąd Ostateczny // Das Jüngste Gericht, 1920/1921, Galerie Berinson, Berlin
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  • Erich Buchholz, Otwarta księga // Aufgeschlagenes Buch, 1922, Galerie Berinson, Berlin
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  • Erich Buchholz, Kiosk z reklamą świetlną, MUSKO // Kiosk mit Lichtreklame, MUSKO, 1923, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg – depozyt Arenda Ebelta // Leihgabe Arend Ebelt
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  • Erich Buchholz, Rzeźba z szyb // Glasscheibenplastik, 1957, Stiftung für Konkrete Kunst und Design Ingolstadt
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  • Erich Buchholz, Moment równowagi, Obiekt z pleksi (2. wersja) // Gleichgewichtsmoment, Plexiglasobjekt (2. Fassung), 1971, Stiftung für Konkrete Kunst und Design Ingolstadt
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