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Curt Ehrhardt

Biographies
Curt Ehrhardt

*  1895 Ziesar/Kreis Jerichow
† 1972 Schwarz/Hessen


Curt Ehrhardt was born on 29 June 1895 as the son of the teacher and organist Friedrich Otto Ehrhardt in Saxony. After attending the "Gymnasium" (high school) in Brandenburg Ehrhardt began studying law in Berlin in 1916. In the same year he visited the touring exhibition of the group "Sturm" in Berlin where he saw works by Picasso, Schwitters and Franz Marc for the first time. This exhibition was a key experience to Ehrhardt and made him contact Herwarth Walden, the director of the Sturm Gallery, and his circle. He became convinced that he was destined "to dedicate his life to painting from new idealistic and social points of view". This resulted in his giving up his studies and joining the "Novembergruppe" which had been founded in 1918. Stylistically Ehrhardt was influenced by the avant-garde of the "Sturm" group, the "Blauer Reiter", Futurism and not least Robert Delaunay's Orphism. At the beginning of the 1920s Ehrhardt participated in important exhibitions such as the Dresden Secession (1919), the "Große Kunstausstellung" in Berlin (1920), the exhibition of Munich Expressionists in Chicago (1921) and the "Internationale Kunstausstellung" in Düsseldorf (1922). In these years the artist also liberated himself from the early Expressionist avant-garde and produced explicitly un-coloured works. A focal point of his works was the painful destruction of the human figure, which is documented in numerous watercolour sketches. Curt Ehrhardt left the "Novembergruppe" in 1926 and continued working as an independent painter. During the Third Reich he was able to continue working in-spite of the ban on modern art, but he was drafted into the armed forces in 1939. After the end of the war, in 1947, he was recognised by the Brandenburg provincial government as a "renowned artist", but in the 1950s he was not allowed to join the "Verband Bildender Künstler Deutschlands" (German Artist Association) so that he could only work privately. He left the GDR in order to flee this inner emigration in 1966 and moved to Schwarz in Hessen, taking 2000 works with him. Today important works by Curt Ehrhardt are owned by the Museum in Wiesbaden, the city of Marburg and in the Städtische Galerie Darmstadt, in the Berlinischen Galerie and Märkischen Museum and in the Museum Brandenburg.