Hans Klemke, German (1892 - 1960)

Hans Klemke

In April, Galerie Adlung & Kaiser will present the works of a forgotten Kreuzberg artist in a "special show": Hans Klemke, who was born in 1892 in the Wedding, in his work with the "Sites of Work".

He sought his motifs in the German industrial areas, especially at the Rhine and Ruhr. In doing so, he also created the testimonies of a world that has already disappeared: the steel crisis has not only been an issue today. Klemke did not have "proper" artistic training; He spent his childhood in England and the Netherlands. In 1907 he returned to Berlin to be trained as a lithographer at a plant in Schönhauser Allee. He followed the training until the intaglio, while at the same time he took private lessons in painting, erasing and masticatory techniques. After the First World War, in which he was severely wounded in 1915, he took over the artistic direction in his old company, the art print Carl Sabo. Here he also met his later wife, with whom he moved to Reichenberger Strasse 72 in 1922, where both lived until death. He first published his first etchings in 1920. In 1927 he bought a motorcycle and, together with his wife, spent a lot of study trips in the Ruhr area and the German coasts, where photographs, sketches and watercolors emerged as models for his oil paintings and etchings.

Klemke was known throughout Germany, his representational style kept him from persecution by the Nazis: in 1941 he took part in the "Great German Art Exhibition" in Munich. After the Second World War, in which many of its eroded erasers were lost, the situation was initially difficult for artists. There was scarcely any demand for a man of good spirits in this time of great need. His wife, Gertrud, took care of the livelihood, thus enabling her husband to continue his artistic activities. On April 4, 1960 Hans Klemke died in Kreuzberg.

Despite his success during his lifetime, Klemke's work has largely disappeared. His depictions are fascinating about the working world and architecture of the heavy industry without transfiguring them into an idyll, can now be rediscovered in Kreuzberg, the place where he spent most of his life.

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