Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Metznerbund 1920

Date:15. August 1920 – 30. September 1920

Place: Liberec, Metznerbund exhibition hall

Organizer:the Liberec Metznerbund [Metznerbund Reichenberg]


When the art association Metznerbund was established in Teplice in March 1920, its goals included organizing and promoting exhibitions, and also acquiring its own exhibition building. The Liberec [Reichenberg] Metznerbund branch was the only one to succeed. Its first independent exhibition was opened in the summer of 1920 in the former garden restaurant on one of Liberec’s busiest streets (today´s Pražská Street), refurbished in the first half of 1920 to accommodate art exhibitions and provide space for the Metznerbund’s organizational structure. Karl Krattner, the Metznerbund’s initiator, built on his previous twenty years of experience with the Verein deutscher bildender Künstler in Böhmen and Deutschböhmischer Künstlerbund and, collaborating with Liberec-based architect Anton Krapf, he set the local German-speaking art scene in motion [Habánová 2016].

Following the establishment of autonomous local branches, the Metznerbund organized exhibitions in several places during the summer of 1920: from July 13 onward in Cheb, between July 25 and August 15 in Teplice and between August 1 and 20 in Jablonec nad Nisou. The Liberec show took place in the aforementioned new exhibition hall which was ceremonially opened on this occasion. The dates overlapped with the Liberec exhibition fair, a fortunate coincidence, as the organizers likely expected this would contribute to a larger attendance. The show appears to have aroused interest in the Liberec public: “The better-than-expected attendance at the exhibition of local artists in the Liberec exhibition hall, Schückerstrasse 21, as well as the numerous purchases are testimony that there is a strong need for art in Liberec” [Krapf 1920b]. 

The exhibition contained 165 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, architectural designs and travel sketches. Of 39 paintings by eleven artists, we can only identify one. Wenzel Franz Jäger sent six paintings to the exhibition and one of them – the oil painting Granit – received a separate column penned by Anton Krapf for Reichenberger Zeitung [Krapf 1920a]. The show also featured works by Franz Plischke, a popular local painter of animal motifs and Josef Pferifer-Fried, a painter focusing primarily on depicting the Frýdlant region. No information can be found about the oil paintings by Josef Stigger, Oskar Rosenberger and A. Auer. Another exhibiting artist, Alfred Kunft, was a native of Ústí nad Labem, who in the 1920s worked for the Stiepl brothers’ Liberec publishing and printing house as an illustrator and subsequently for the Schicht factory in Ústí as a graphic designer. The Liberec exhibition showcased his illustrations and works from the First World War influenced by his service in Siberia and the Far East [Habánová 2015]. Josef Pfeifer-Fried, Wilhelm Koch and Hermina Ginzkey were represented by relatively large collections of drawings and prints. Other women at the exhibition included Tina Pezellen, who worked for the same Liberec printing house as Alfred Kunft, and Liesbeth Walter, author of what were likely applied art objects. The show’s architecture section contained works by Anton Krapf, Ernst Schäfer and R. Scholze. The only extensive review was published in Reichenberger Zeitung on the day of the exhibition’s opening. Its author, publishing under the initials S. M., merely listed the artists and their works, with occasional mentions of works that found buyers (Winter Landscape Hermine Ginzkey) [S. M. 1920].

All of the Metznerbund’s summer exhibitions shared the same spirit. They offered an overview of local fine arts and architecture and featured both older and younger artists. Descriptions and catalogues suggest that these were largely traditional artworks, such as landscapes and portraits in the style of the lingering academic tradition and Vienna-inspired Art Nouveau. The shows were relatively small and summarizing in character. This, however, soon changed. The next exhibition, held before Christmas, showcased almost five hundred artworks. More progressive, second-wave expressionist art was not presented in Liberec until 1922. This year marks the first exhibition of the Oktobergruppe, a small group of artists who emerged from and broke with the Metznerbund. 

Anna Habánová

Works Cited

Habánová 2015: Anna Habánová (ed.), Na Sibiř! Německočeští výtvarní umělci v první světové válce na východní frontě a v sibiřském zajetí (exh. cat), Oblastní galerie Liberec, Liberec 2015

Habánová 2016: Anna Habánová, Dějiny uměleckého spolku Metznerbund 1920–1945, Liberec 2016

Krapf 1920a: Anton Krapf, W. F. Jägers Gemälde „Granit“, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 2. 9., p. 3

Krapf 1920b: Dr. Kr. [Anton Krapf], Reichenberger Kunsthalle, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 19. 9., p. 7

S. M. 1920: S. M., Ausstellung der Kreisgruppe Reichenberg des Metznerbundes, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 18. 8., p. 7

Archival Sources

Metznerbund, Verein deutscher Kunstschaffender in Böhmen, stanovy spolku [the association’s statutes], Archive of NG, fonds Karl Krattner, sign. AA2771.

Exhibiting authors

Verzeichnis der ausgestellten Werke der Kreisgruppe Reichenberg des Metznerbundes 


Publisher: Metznerbund

Place and year of publication: Liberec 1920

Reviews in the press

anonymous author, Eröffnung der Sommerausstellung des Metznerbundes in Gablonz, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 176, 2. 8., p. 3

Krapf Anton

Anton Krapf, W. F. Jägers Gemälde „Granit“, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 2. 9., p. 3

Krapf Anton

Dr. Kr. [Anton Krapf], Reichenberger Kunsthalle, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 19. 9., p. 7


S. M., Ausstellung der Kreisgruppe Reichenberg des Metznerbundes, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no. 203, 18. 8., p. 7

Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonymous author, Kunstschau, Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, no 168, 24. 7., p. 8

Anonymous author, Sommerausstellung des Metznerbundes in Gablonz a. N., Reichenberger Zeitung LXI, 1920, appendix to no. 103 – evening edition, 3. 5., p. 2


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