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Schule der Neuen Prächtigkeit (School of the New Magnificence)

Manfred Bluth (1926-2002), Johannes Grützke (born in 1937), Matthias Koeppel (born in 1937) and Karlheinz Ziegler (1935-2008) formed the "School of New Splendor" in Berlin in January 1973 and presented their group to the public in May the same year with the "Aufruf als Vorwort zu den Manifesten der Schule der Neuen Prächtigkeit" (Invocation as a Foreword to the Manifesto of the School of New Splendor), accompanied by a theatre performance. The aim of the school, according to their "invocation" was to rediscover splendor, but not in the sense of the pomp of past epochs, but as an expression of an "elevated perception", as it can also be found in austerity and scantiness.
In terms of style, the "School of New Splendor" had committed itself to a realistic-figurative, at times also surrealist style, and also made winking references to former periods in art history. Connections with "Critical Realism" can be observed in the work of Johannes Grützke.
Among the most relevant works of the "School of New Splendor" are, for example, the allegoric-austere, ironic "Besuch bei Ingres" (Visit to Ingres), made by Manfred Bluth in 1974, showing artists and the "director" of the "School of New Splendor", Gisela Pulß, in the studio of the French classicist. The caricaturing "Theater der Freundschaft" (Theatre of Friendship, 1974) by Johannes Grützke is not less ironic, in a manner that calls reminiscence of the old masters, showing voluptuous ladies ensnarled in confusing motions. The work "Jüngste Gericht des Lucas van Leyden, nachgestellt durch die Schule der Neuen Prächtigkeit am Anhalter Bahnhof" (Last Judgement of Lucas van Leyden, re-enacted by the School of New Splendor at the Anhalter Bahnhof) by Matthias Koeppel, is an exaggerated reference to Surrealism.


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