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A Year: Day to Day Men: 5th of October, Solar Year 2018

The Garden Brocade

October 5, 1887 was the birthdate of German painter and graphic artist Max Ackermann.

Max Ackermann studied under Henry van de Velde, one of the main founders of the Art Nouveau movement in Belgium, at his studio in Weimar and at the Deresden studio of Impressionist Gotthardt Kuehl. In 1912, at the age of twenty five, Ackermann attended the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, under an apprenticeship of Adolf Hölzel, who introduced Ackermann to non-representational painting.

In 1921, Ackermann met pioneer of abstract dance Rudolf von Laban who inspired Ackermann to try rhythmic blind paintings. Throughout the 1920s, Ackermann worked as an artist in Stuttgart and had his first show of figurative and abstract paintings, pastels, and drawings. In 1926 he spent time in Paris, where he became friends with Piet Mondrian and Adolf Loos, an Austrian architect and influential theorist of modern architecture. Ackermann met Wassily Kandinsky at this time and was encouraged in his quest for absolute painting.

Ackermann set up a training workshop for new artists in his studio and hosted seminars for young art teachers. In 1930 , he introduced a seminar on “Absolute Painting”, giving lectures in 1933 on this topic at Stuttgart’s Valentien Gallery. Ackermann was considered degenerate by the new Nazi authorities and was forbidden from exhibiting in 1933, and from teaching in 1936, both by decrees. His graphics and paintings displayed in the state gallery of Stuttgart were confiscated. Leaving Stuttgart, Ackermann continued his abstract painting at an artist colony at Hornstaad on Lake Constance near the Swiss border.

Many of Ackermann’s early works were destroyed when his studio was bombed during a Second World War air raid. After the war Ackermann had one-man shows in West German cities and collective shows in Paris and Zurich. With German composer and conductor Wolfgang Fortner, Ackermann held a seminar on music and painting in 1952. A year later he took part in an event with “organic” architect Hugo Häring and Kurt Leonhart on the subject of painting and architecture.

Max Ackermann was appointed Professor by the German Ministry of Culture in 1957; and in 1964, he was honored by the German Academy. He died in the spa town of Bad Liebenzell in the Black Forest of Germany on November 14, 1975, at the age of 88.