Cologne Progressives

Last updated

The Cologne Progressives was an art movement and were an informal group of artists based in the Cologne and Düsseldorf area of Germany. They came together following the First World War and participated in the radical workers' movement.



Heinrich Hoerle, Monument to the Unknown Protheses (1930) Hoerle Denkmal der unbekannten Prothesen 1930.jpg
Heinrich Hoerle, Monument to the Unknown Protheses (1930)

The group was founded by Gerd Arntz, Heinrich Hoerle and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert. [1] The group related their attitude to art to their political activism. As Wieland Schmied put it, they "sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement, and which perhaps approximated most to the forward looking of New Objectivity [...] ". [2] They originated Figurative Constructivism.

Other artists and designers associated with this group include Wilhelm Kleinert, Marta Hegemann, Angelika Hoerle, Anton Räderscheidt, and Gottfried Brockmann. [3] Many members had come from the Stupid (art movement). [3]

Key concepts


This concept comes from their concern not merely to communicate social and political necessities, but also to ensure that their artworks could be turned toward the viewers sensible reality and become tenable as an argument. This is tied to their political commitment to proletarian culture in the specific context of the Rhineland during the tumults of the 1920s. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

New Objectivity 1920s German art movement against expressionism

The New Objectivity was a movement in German art that arose during the 1920s as a reaction against expressionism. The term was coined by Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub, the director of the Kunsthalle in Mannheim, who used it as the title of an art exhibition staged in 1925 to showcase artists who were working in a post-expressionist spirit. As these artists—who included Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter and Jeanne Mammen—rejected the self-involvement and romantic longings of the expressionists, Weimar intellectuals in general made a call to arms for public collaboration, engagement, and rejection of romantic idealism.

August Sander

August Sander was a German portrait and documentary photographer. Sander's first book Face of our Time was published in 1929. Sander has been described as "the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century".

Constructivism (art) Artistic and architectural philosophy originating in Russia

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1915 by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko. Abstract and austere, constructivist art aimed to reflect modern industrial society and urban space. The movement rejected decorative stylization in favor of the industrial assemblage of materials. Constructivists were in favour of art for propaganda and social purposes, and were associated with Soviet socialism, the Bolsheviks and the Russian avant-garde.

Georg Schrimpf German painter and artist (1889-1938)

Georg Schrimpf was a German painter and graphic artist. Along with Otto Dix, George Grosz and Christian Schad, Schrimpf is broadly acknowledged as a main representative of the art movement Neue Sachlichkeit, which developed, in Weimar Germany, from 1919 to 1933, as an outgrowth of Expressionism. Schrimpf was listed as a producer of Degenerate Art by the German National Socialist government in the 1930s.

Gerd Arntz German artist

Gerd Arntz was a German Modernist artist renowned for his black and white woodcuts. A core member of the Cologne Progressives he was also a council communist. The Cologne Progressives participated in the revolutionary unions AAUD (KAPD) and its offshoot the AAUE in the 1920s. In 1928 Arntz contributed prints to the AAUE paper Die Proletarische Revolution, calling for workers to abandon parliament and form and participate in worker's councils. These woodcut prints feature recurring themes of class.

Anton Räderscheidt was a German painter who was a leading figure of the New Objectivity.

Stupid was a short-lived grouping of constructivist artists, formed in Cologne in 1919. The founding members were Willy Fick, Heinrich Hoerle, Angelika Hoerle, Anton Räderscheidt, Marta Hegemann, and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert.

Franz Wilhelm Seiwert

Franz Wilhelm Seiwert was a German painter and sculptor in a constructivist style. He was also politically active as a communist making significant contributions, both graphic and theoretical to Die Aktion.

Georg Scholz German painter

Georg Scholz was a German realist painter.

Heinrich Hoerle German constructivist artist

Heinrich Hoerle was a German constructivist artist of the New Objectivity movement.

Jankel Adler

Jankel Adler was a Polish painter and printmaker.

Marta Hegemann was a German artist associated with the Dada movement and with the Cologne Progressives. She was a founding member of the Cologne art group Stupid.

Willy Fick

Wilhelm Peter Hubert Fick, called Willy Fick, was a German graphic artist born in Cologne. He belonged to the Dada movement, and in 1919 became a founding member of the artist circle called Stupid, together with Heinrich Hoerle, Angelika Hoerle (1899–1923), who was the sister of Willy Fick and the wife of Heinrich Hoerle, Anton Räderscheidt, his wife Marta Hegemann, and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert. Fick was a Cologne dadaist from 1916 until 1923 and a scholarship student of Jan Thorn-Prikker at the Cologne School of Applied Arts /Kölner Werkschulen from 1928 until 1931. Duesseldorf art agent Johanna Ey represented his Weimar period works. Many works were destroyed by bombing in World War II but preserved in archival photographs in the Rheinisches Bildarchiv / Rhineland Picture Archive. Fick painted and cartooned until his death in Canada in 1967.

The Association of Revolutionary Visual Artists of Germany was an organization of artists who were members of the Communist Party of Germany. Known primarily by its shortened name, "Asso", it was founded in March 1928. The organization produced posters, placards, propaganda graphics for Communist organizations.

Angelika Hoerle

Angelika Hoerle was a German Dada artist who was a founding member of the Cologne art group Stupid and the cofounder of a Dadaist publishing house.

Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum

Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum is a museum located in Margareten, Vienna.

Figurative Constructivism is an art movement that arose principally in Germany. The term was introduced by Franz Seiwert in 1929 using the phrase "gegenständlichen constructive", and this was subsequently taken up by Gerd Arntz and then by art historians more generally. It is closely related to the development of the Isotype. As Seiwert wrote "From the expressionist-cubist art-form abstract constructivism was developed, which in turn led into Figurative Constructivism".

Augustin Tschinkel was a Czech artist active with the Figurative Constructivist art movement.

Grethe Jürgens was a German painter associated with the New Objectivity.

Gottfried Waldemar Brockmann was a German artist, educator, publisher, and served as a cultural advisor for the city of Kiel, Germany. He taught at Muthesius Academy of Art in Kiel.


  1. Everett, Martin. "Art as a weapon: Franz Seiwert and the Cologne progressives". Lib Com. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  2. Wieland Schmied: "Neue Sachlichkeit. Der deutsche Realismus der zwanziger Jahre", in: Kritische Grafik in der Weimarer Zeit, Op. cit., p. 21. As cited in: August Sander 1876–1964. Lange, Susanne, p. 108. ISBN   3-8228-7179-6
  3. 1 2 "Brockmann, Gottfried". Museum der verlorenen Generation. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  4. Roth, Lynette (2008). Painting as a weapon : progressive Cologne 1920-1933 : Siewert, Hoerle, Arntz (translation, Uta Hoffman ed.). Köln: Walther König. ISBN   9783865603982.