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Biographical Information

Ludwig Meidner was a German expressionist painter, printmaker, illustrator, and writer. Born in in Bernstadt, Silesia, he studied at the Royal School of Art in Breslau. In 1905, he moved to Berlin and worked as a fashion illustrator and then in Paris from 1906-1907, studying at the Julien and Cormon Academies. In 1912 he began a series of "apocalyptic landscapes," his best known works. He founded the Expressionist group Die Pathetiker ['The Exponents of Pathos'] with Richard Janthur and Jakob Steinhardt. Though he was against war, he was drafted during World War I and served as a French translator. After the war, he began creating print portraits and increasingly turned to writing. He contributed to a number of left-wing journals and published some of his prose with illustrations. Meidner suffered Nazi persecution—he was fired from his teaching position in Berlin, his artwork was removed from public collections, and was placed on the Nazi's list of banned writers and artists. In 1935, Meidner moved to Cologne, teaching art at a Jewish school . He fled with his family to Great Britian in 1939, where he was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man for three years. He stayed in England, working odd jobs until he returned to Germany in 1953. In response to the horrors of the Holocaust, Meidner created a cycle of drawings he called "Massacres in Poland" or "Suffering of the Jews in Poland". In 1963, he had his first major exhibition since 1918 in Recklinghausen and Berlin. He died in Darmstadt in 1966.

Ludwig Meidner (18 April 1884 – 14 May 1966) was a German expressionist painter and printmaker born in Bernstadt, Silesia. He studied at the Royal School of Art in Breslau and, from 1906-1907 at the Julien and Cormon Academies in Paris. In 1912 he began a series of paintings, the "Apocalyptic Landscapes," which marked a radical departure in style and would make his reputation. After the first world war he began creating religious portraits and increasingly turned to writing—he produced several books of dense expressionist prose and contributed to many newspaper articles. In order to escape antisemitic repressions he moved to Cologne where he became an art teacher at a Jewish School in 1935. In 1939 he fled with his family to England where he was interned as an enemy alien on Isle of Man. He stayed in England working in odd jobs until 1953 when he returned to Germany. In 1963 he had his first major exhibition since 1918 in Recklinghausen and Berlin. He died on 14 May 1966 in Darmstadt, aged 82. Meidner's artistic bequest is now part of the collections of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt.

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Citation

Meidner, Ludwig, 1884-1966: Group of Jewish men praying, Leo Baeck Institute Art and Objects Collection, 2012.001.

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Meidner, Ludwig, 1884-1966

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