Woodcuts on display April 7-May 25
Over the course of World War II, thousands of valuable artworks were lost, either through willful destruction or as collateral damage. Many works were lost even through the oppression of artists. However, those artists and works that survived were only that much more capable of contributing to the idea of a culture's suffering.
An exhibit titled "Gerhard Marcks: Woodcuts from the Fine Arts Collection," featuring works created by Gerhard Marcks, an artist living in Germany at the time of the Nazi regime, will be on display April 7-May 25 in Preus Library on the Luther College campus.
Marcks suffered heavy losses in WWII, both personally and artistically. After being declared a "degenerate" and given limited opportunities to display his works, Marcks's studio was bombed in an Allied run and his own son died while fighting on the front.
Marcks continued to create works in the wake of these tragedies. The themes that developed out of his experiences – of death, life and loss – continued to inform his artistic production until his death. Marcks passed away in 1981 with thousands of sketches, woodcuts and sculptures to his name.
Luther College holds the largest collection of Marcks's works outside of Germany. Distinguished potter Marguerite Wildenhain, who holds an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Luther, donated the majority of these pieces.
Noting the importance of Marcks's works, Luther seniors Hans Becklin and Aaron Zauner prepared the exhibit featuring 15 woodcuts spanning the length of his career with a focus on his response to WWII.
Becklin is a Luther senior majoring in history. He has taken extensive coursework in art history with a historical research focus on religious art. After graduation, Becklin will attend the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, preparing for ordained ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Zauner is a Luther senior majoring in music. His interest in the history of the arts led him to an intensive study of art history while at Luther. His research deals primarily with 20th century art, particularly German art and the history of photography. After graduation, Zauner will pursue graduate work in art history.
The Luther College Fine Arts Collection is supervised by Kate Elliott, Luther assistant professor of art, with assistance from David Kamm, art gallery coordinator. Numbering over 1,600 works, the collection contains art dating from circa 500 BCE to the present, with a focus on art produced in the 20th century.