Des Moines Art Center explores anti-Fascist art of German artist Lea Grundig

Posted on Friday, April 26, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith
Tel: 515.271.0343

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Des Moines Art Center explores anti-Fascist art of German artist Lea Grundig

DES MOINES, IOWA (April 2019) – 

On Friday, May 10 the Des Moines Art Center will open Lea Grundig’s Anti-Fascist Art, which will be on view through August 4, 2019 in the John Brady Print Gallery. Director of Curatorial Affairs/Senior Curator Alison Ferris is organizing the exhibition.

This exhibition features remarkable prints and one drawing by German artist Lea Grundig (1906-1977), who was virtually the only artist, between 1933 and 1938, who dared disseminate a substantial body of anti-Nazi art while still living in Hitler’s Germany.

Born in Dresden and raised as an Orthodox Jew, Grundig rejected her orthodox roots when she began her education at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. There she met and fell in love with her husband, Hans Grundig, a militant Communist. The two artists became members of the German Association of Revolutionary Artists, a group that regarded art as their weapon in the class struggle, and later against the Nazis who preached virulent hatred of Jews and Marxists.

Following Hitler’s 1933 election as Chancellor of Germany, Grundig courted her own death by acquiring a small etching press and pulling editions that never exceeded five impressions; ultimately circulating hundreds of drypoints that broadcast the truth about Nazi Germany. Grundig managed to survive the war after two arrests by escaping to Palestine.

This exhibition will feature Grundig’s works from the 1930s, and will be accompanied by works in the Art Center’s collections by artists such as Ernst Barlach, Max Beckman, Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, and others who inspired her when she began studying art in the 1920s.

About the Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velásquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect – Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have provided funding for and donated 28 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Ellsworth Kelly, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Mark di Suvero, is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park was created in collaboration with the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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