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Josef Steiner
Expressionist Portrait of a Girl, circa 1968, Josef Steiner (1899-1977) Oil Wood

around 1960/70


Oil/mixed technique on painting cardboard. In the studio frame. Josef Steiner (1899 Munich - 1977 ibid.) lived through a Germany in all its facets as an artist. As a young talented student of the Munich art school he was drafted into the First World War at the age of 19. From 1920 he lived with his wife Gertrud Schaefer (1882-1969) in Berlin, where he experienced the Golden Twenties. From then on, the capital and the leading Expressionism influenced him and his artistic success did not fail to follow. The name Josef Steiner was mentioned at the same time as names such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Max Pechstein and many other famous names in Berlin exhibitions and reviews. Especially because of his expressionistic nude graphics he was branded as a "degenerate artist" after Hitler's seizure of power. He began to document his work photographically at an early stage, as the harsh crackdown of the National Socialist regime was to prove true and many of his large-format works are now lost. As a critic of the regime, he was persecuted and suffered a difficult phase between 1936 and 1939 with cruel political imprisonment for eight months in 1937. Impoverished and in bad health, Steiner was banned from his profession for good in 1939 and subsequently moved back to Munich. After soon being drafted into the Second World War as a soldier and subsequently wounded, he was released from the Wehrmacht in 1944. In order to help himself out of a hopeless situation, he created the notorious "Kinderköpfchen" (children's head), which he sent as a portrait of Goebbel’s daughter Holde to the Reich Minister of Propaganda. In fact, this produced benevolent effects without him having to curry favour with the regime through Nazi motifs and "blood and soil painting". He was thus able to resume work as an artist in 1943 and devoted himself to depictions of nature as a graphic artist. Privately, however, he continued to live out his life in nude graphics. From the 1960s onwards and after 20 years of impoverishment, Steiner's career began to pick up again and success slowly returned. Mainly dedicated to Expressionism, he created a comprehensive oeuvre even after the war and was honoured by exhibitions, especially in the "Haus der Kunst", Munich. Lit: Rainer Haaff: Josef Steiner - life and graphic work. Leopoldshafen 2019, p.160, Fig. 421.


  • Creator
  • Creation Year
    around 1960/70
  • Dimensions
    Height: 29.14 in. (74 cm)Width: 21.07 in. (53.5 cm)Depth: 0.79 in. (2 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Greding, DE
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 084-13251stDibs: LU130425777361

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    Ships From: Greding, Germany
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