Karl Hagedorn remembered in Pallant House Gallery exhibition, Chichester

Karl Hagedorn, Self-portrait with Pipe
Karl Hagedorn, Self-portrait with Pipe

Karl Hagedorn: Rhythmical Expressions promises a reassessment of a forgotten artist at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery until February 3

Gallery spokeswoman Sarah Jackson said: “Karl Hagedorn’s paintings are some of the earliest and boldest examples of Post-Impressionism in Britain. Despite this, his name remains little-known to the wider public.

“A new exhibition at Pallant House Gallery looks to redress this and continues its mission to shine a light on overlooked but deserving figures in British art.

“Karl Hagedorn (1889-1969) was born in Berlin but much of his background is elusive, leading to some speculation that he was an illegitimate child of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He came to England in 1905 and went on to study at the Manchester School of Art and Slade School of Fine Art.

“Hagedorn’s early works baffled art critics of the time with their strange colours and sharp angles. He believed that art did not need to represent its subject in a conventional manner now that photography could fulfill that purpose.

“His paintings, which he called rhythmical expressions in line and colour, were heavily influenced by other European artists such as Picasso, Severini and in particular Matisse, who he met in Paris in 1912.

“This encounter was a defining moment for him, and until the end of his life, he kept the remains of a cigarette Matisse had given him.

“At the beginning of the First World War, Hagedorn became a naturalised British citizen and volunteered for the British army. Like many artists of his generation, once the war was over Hagedorn retreated from his more radical position. His watercolours in the 1920s epitomised the search for solace in the landscape and a return to order that also appeared in the work of artists including Picasso, Duncan Grant and Edward Wadsworth.

“Hagedorn had a flare for design, perhaps due to his earlier training in textile design.

“During the 1920s he produced a series of eye-catching posters, some of which are included in the exhibition, applying his eye for European modernism to commercial advertising.”

Sarah added: “This new exhibition, curated with Liss Llewellyn Fine Art, who worked with Pallant House Gallery on a popular exhibition on Evelyn Dunbar in 2015, seeks to confirm Hagedorn’s place in the story of Modern British art.”

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