Oskar Schlemmer and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner praised him, the Swiss art world celebrates him as a key figure in Modernism: painter and draughtsman Otto Meyer-Amden. His subtle work is scarcely known in Germany; his last solo exhibition was forty years ago. Now, Hamburg’s Ernst Barlach Haus is commemorating the 125th anniversary of the birth of the master of nuance with an exhibition of his work.
Both the exhibition and the catalogue feature approximately eighty major works including figure paintings, pages from the artist’s diary, portraits, still lifes and landscapes. At the heart of the exhibition are his ‘boarding school pictures’ in which the former orphanage pupil condenses scenes of everyday life into existential allegories. Meyer-Amden’s compositions are both figurative and abstract, organic and geometric, precise and vague, specific yet ethereal. His visual language holds meaning in a balance that is “intended to do justice to the cosmos and the square”.