Hans Poelzig


EXHIBITION Apr 12 — May 24, 1986

In modern architecture Hans Poelzig is renowned as a "principle exponent of expressionism in architecture" (Hitchcock). His contemporaries acknowledged his stature and influence, although Poelzig constructed only relatively few buildings in his life-time. The economic situation following World War I certainly contributed to this. Since most of his buildings have been destroyed, the remaining sketches and plans form an important part of his architectural legacy. With the forthcoming exhibition the Rudolf Kicken Gallery is proud to present a selection of 30 drawings. Born in 1869, Harns Poelzig studied architecture at the Technical Academy in Berlin. In 1900 he moved to Breslau where he held a chair at the School for Artsand Crafts. In the years 1916 to 1920 he worked as official City Architect in Dresden and in 1919 was elected Chairman of the lnfluentlal "Deutscher Werkbund". From 1920 until his death in 1936 he worked in Berlin, where he taught at the Technical Academy. Functionalistic industrial constructions like the Water Tower in Posen (1911) and a chemical plant in Luban (1911/12) brought him early fame. Here he sought to meet functional demands with formal variety. He thus counterbalanced the overly individualized symbols of the functional style as represented in contemporary buildings like the Fagus plant by Walter Gropius. With the construction of the theater Großes Schauspielhaus in Berlin (1919), Poelzig created one of the best examples of expressionist architecture in Germany. Here and in later designs for a festival theater in Salzburg, Poelzig's interest in floral forms as architectural motifs becomes apparent. Two principle constructions dominated his last creative period around 1930: the administration building for the I.G.Farben in Frankfurt and the main building for Radio Berlin, both of which are characterized by a harmonious simplicity of form-language. Apart from constructions for industry and administration - both functional and representative - Poelzig also worked on several housing projects. A one-family house is located in the Weißenhof- Settlement in Stuttgart (1927). The set for Paul Wegener's "Der Golem" (1920) and a number of stage designs demonstrate Poelzig's immense versatility. Equally influential as his architectural conceptions and form language was his teaching career. Thus far three exhibitions have brought Hans Poelzig's achievements to a larger audience. But since 1965 his work has not been on view. The Rudolf Kicken Gallery is therefore proud to present this comprehensive exhibition of drawings and sketches. With last year's presentation of drawings by the American architect Richard Meier the gallery program, which was exclusively devoted to photography, was extended to a new medium. The forthcoming exhibition gives our activity an even sharper focus: our interest lies in international contemporary architects and the masterbuilders of the beginning of this century whose achievements spurred the development of modern architecture.