Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund

Date:16. February 1910 – 28. March 1910

Place: Prague, Rudolfinum

Exhibition design:Julius Schmiedl

Organizer:Fine Arts Association


The exhibition, organized by the Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund (German-Bohemian Artists’ Association), took place in February and March 1910 in Prague’s Rudolfinum. The participating artists and general atmosphere reflected the situation in the Czech-German art world: in the previous years, the Verein Deutscher bildender Künstler in Böhmen(Association of German Artists in Bohemia) saw a split between the younger and the older artistic generations. As a result, the older artists left the association and formed their own organization in 1909. In 1910, it was headed by Franz Metzner as chairman, Karl Krattner as deputy chairman, August Brömse as managing director, and Josef Zasche as treasurer. The other members of the immediate leadership included Emanuel Hegenbarth, Wenzel Franz Jäger, Rudolf Jettmar, Emil Orlik, and Franz Thiele [catalogue 1910], i.e., mainly those who had been active in the Verein since 1895.

The 1910 exhibition catalogue allows us to reconstruct not only the exhibition, but also the situation in both associations. The exhibition featured 269 works – paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, applied art objects, designs, sketches, and studies. The names of the exhibiting artists were followed by either the letter B  (Künstlerund) or V (Verein) indicating the artist’s affiliation with one or the other association. Some of the names were left without an affiliation. The Künstlerund was represented by the following artists: Carl Otto Czeska, Lilli Gödl-Brandhuber, Emil Orlik, Franz Metzner, Heinrich Hönich, Wenzel Franz Jäger, Eduard Ameseder, Ferdinand Michl, Richard Müller, Wenzel Wirkner, Walther Klemm, Konstantin Korzendörfer, Franz Thiele, Rudolf Jettmar, Emanuel Hegenbarth, Adalbert Martinka, Karl Krattner, August Roth, Karl Schade, Richard Teschner, Ludwig Hujer, Arnold Hartig, Karl Thiemann, Rudolf Bitzan, the duo Michael Powolny, and Berthold Löffler. 

The Verein artists included Georg Kars, Paul Lumnitzer, Fritz Lederer, Willi Nowak, Fritz Gärtner, Robert Knoebel, Marie Waltl, Karl Wilfert, Georg Jilovsky, Otty Schneider, Sidonie Stäger-Springer, Anna Schrutz, Moriz Melzer, Alois Rieber, Fritz Kraus, and Adolf Mayerl.

The following artists were unaffiliated: Ferdinand Opitz, Erzsi Szegfy-Koppe, Ernst Paul, Anton Schück, Georg Koppe, Gustav Klimt, Emanuela Šedivy, Fides Karny, Rudolf Prade, Josef Krombholz, Julius Singer, Johanna Meier-Michl, Julius Schmiedl in collaboration with K. H. Göttlich, the architectural duo Max Kühn and Heinrich Fanta, and the sculptors Emil Meier and Adolf Henke.

Although the fragmentation of the Prague art world and the older generation’s aversion to the stylistic expressions of emerging artists led to the 1908 split, the two camps were eventually forced to cooperate for representational and financial reasons. By inviting unaffiliated artists, especially women, the organizers may have signalled openness, but also an effort to fill the exhibition space in a meaningful way.

The show was discussed in the press even before its opening, as five nudes by Carl Otto Czeschka were taken down under police supervision and banned from display. The press paid particular attention to the sculptor Franz Metzner, the chairman of the Künstlerund, whose works filled two separate exhibition halls. Metzner presented a design for a monumental figure and other parts of the monument to Battle of the Nations (Battle of Leipzig). Emil Utitz, who wrote the most extensive review of the exhibition, highly appreciated the work: “[...] the figures for the Monument of the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig depicted here represent something very unique and admirable in the field of contemporary sculpture.” Another separate room was dedicated to Emil Orlik, who earned Utitz’s praise for “excellent new etchings and some flowers and fruit, two portraits, a large female nude, some landscapes, etc.” Utitz also paid attention to the younger artists, such as Georg Kars and Willi Nowak [Utitz 1909-1910]. 

While Utitz writes that “we can therefore welcome this exhibition with great, joyful satisfaction as a sure sign of our blossoming and strengthening artistic life” [ibid], the contributor to the fortnightly Rozkvět opens his review with the following words: “The exhibition in the Rudolfinum features many artists (269 catalogue entries) who have nothing in common except perhaps the brand, which, however, again breaks down into V (Verein) аnd В (Bund). It seems to have been put together out of necessity and on the spur of the moment, without any internal foundations and relationships, as if the only aim was to exhibit a certain number of works by a certain number of artists. The complete lack of discipline, of a common program, which we would expect from groups exhibiting together, gave the impression of total fragmentation, which was reinforced by the differences in the artistic potency of the individual artists [...]. Metzner, Emil Orlik, Aug. Brömse, Walter Klemm, and Jiří Kars dominated the show.” [Sp. 1910]

Orlik and Metzner caught the attention of Karel Čapek, who did not criticize the fragmentation but argued that the exhibition “lacked serious items” [Bratři Čapkové 1910]. Čapek saw Orlik as an artist with “the talent of an arranger, […] who wants to entertain the viewer with a charming idea, a flirtatious taste [...] he is generally appealing, often superficial and always light.” Czeschka, says Čapek, is “a spirited ornamentalist and stylist” whose works show original stylization and decorative wit. Metzner, on the other hand, “sticks to his sculptural canon, substituting robustness for monumentality. His figures are sculpted in a hard and rough manner, with muscles bulging dutifully even under the drapery – the butcher-like charm of athleticism so dear to Metzner; but the final impression is one of violence, brutality, and a noxious force that has become a mannerism.” 

Edvard Bém, a reviewer for Venkov magazine praised the works of Georg Kars, suggesting that “the exhibition jury did not know what to make of them.” Like other reviewers, Bém also paid attention to Emil Orlik and Franz Metzner. His evaluations are preceded by a sharply critical paragraph commenting on the situation in the Bohemian-German art world. “The association […] suffering from a lack of inner cohesion and artistic necessity, was created artificially. It has no roots or tradition in Bohemia, and most of its members have matured artistically outside Bohemia, living abroad. It is difficult to imagine an artistic culture in the German enclaves near the border area, where one lives in a spiritual dependence on either Vienna or Berlin. [...] The Emperor’s million-crown donation to the Bohemian Modern Gallery, of which the Germans cleverly obtained a half for their German art from Bohemia, is the sole basis and fuel for this association.” [Bém 1910]

Like other exhibitions of German-Bohemian art, the 1910 show received diametrically different reviews from the Czech and German press, a disparity that can be interpreted as evidence of the increasing polarization in the art world and beyond.

Anna Glaserová

Works Cited

Bém 1910: Edvard Bém, Výstava Němců z Čech, Venkov V, 1910, 17. 3., pp. 9–10

Bratři Čapkové 1910: B. Č. [Karel Čapek – Josef Čapek], Deutsch-böhmischer Künstlerbund. (Rudolfinum.), Stopa I, 1910, no. 8, p. 250, in: Karel Čapek, Spisy: O umění a kultuře, Praha 1984, pp. 119–120

catalogue 1910: Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund: výstava pořádaná Krasoumnou jednotou pro Čechy (exh. cat.),Rudolfinum, February – March 1910, Krasoumná jednota pro Čechy 1910

Sp. 1910: Jaroslav Sp., Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund, Rozkvět: obrázkový čtrnáctideník III, 1910, no. 8, pp. 250–251

Utitz 1909–1910: Emil Utitz, Von Ausstellungen und Sammlungen, Prag, Die Kunst für alle: Malerei, Plastik, Graphik, Architektur XXV, 1909–1910, pp. 333–334

Exhibiting authors
Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund
Technique: lithograph, 73,7 x 100,4 cm
Owner: Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund

Publisher: Fine Arts Association
Place and year of publication: Praha 1910

Reviews in the press
Bém Edvard

Edvard Bém, Výstava Němců z Čech, Venkov V, 1910, 17. 3., pp. 9–10 


B. Č. [Karel Čapek – Josef Čapek], Deutsch-böhmischer Künstlerbund. (Rudolfinum.), Stopa I, 1910 – 1911, no. 8, 18. 3., p. 250, in: Karel Čapek, Spisy: O umění a kultuře, Praha 1984, pp. 119–120

Sp. Jaroslav

Jaroslav Sp., Jaroslav, Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund, Rozkvět: obrázkový čtrnáctideník III, no. 8, pp. 250–251

Utitz Emil

Emil Utitz, Von Ausstellungen und Sammlungen, Prag, Die Kunst für alle: Malerei, Plastik, Graphik, Architektur XXV, 1909–1910, pp. 333–334

Views of the exhibition

View of the exhibition Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund


In the foreground Sleeping by Karel Wilfert (top) and view of the sculptures by Franz Metzner (bottom)


Reproduction: Český svět VI, 1909–1910

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, Ausstellung des deutschböhmischen Künstlerbundes, Prager Tagblatt XXXIV, 11. 2. 1910, no. 42, p. 9

Anonymous author, Verbotene Ausstellung von Bildern, Prager Tagblatt XXXIV, 15. 2. 1910, no. 46 (evening edition), p. 2

Anonymous author, Ausstellung deutschböhmischer Künstler, Prager Tagblatt XXXIV, 16. 2. 1910, no. 47 (evening edition), p. 2

Anonymous author, Die Ausstellung des Deutschböhmischen Künstlerbundes, Prager Tagblatt XXXIV, 20. 2. 1910, no. 51, p. 15

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