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Hermann Struck
The Art of Etching 1876-1944
Apr 11, 2016 - Jul 31, 2016
Hermann Struck
The Art of Etching 1876-1944
April 11 - July 31, 2016

Opening reception: April 11, 2016 6-8pm

Some years ago, I was fortunate to inherit a part of the estate of Hermann Struck, who was my great uncle. Growing up in my parent’s home I was surrounded by his work, which played a large and formative role in my interest in art and aesthetics. It is with great pleasure that I organized this exhibition of works from my personal collection.

Struck’s art manifested itself in an unusual world with a duality between two cultures: German and Israeli/Palestinian. In the course of his artistic career, Struck became involved with the activities of the Zionist movement in Europe in the early 20th century and became one of it’s most active and strongest supporters. In 1903, he took his first trip to Palestine, where he drew and painted the landscape and its people. He continued his artistic activities with great success in Berlin, where he wrote the important and ultimate book “Die Kunst des Radierens” on the art of the etching in 1908. He worked with and formed close friendships with many important artists of his time including: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Lesser Ury, Edward Munch, Marc Chagall, Jacob Steinhardt, Joseph Budko, and Josef Israels. He also corresponded with and drew portraits of the senior Jewish intelligentsia of his time including: Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, Hermann Hesse, Theodor Herzl, and Arnold Zweig.

Struck was very cosmopolitan, traveling extensively, including to the United States. He involved himself in everything important that occurred around him during his lifetime. That is how we find him volunteering for the German army in 1915 during World War I, where he served as an officer in the Eastern front and was awarded the Iron Cross. He later was in charge of Jewish affairs in Eastern Europe, where he took the opportunity to draw and paint the landscape and characters he encountered there. By the time Struck was only 35, his work was very well known in Germany and almost every Jewish house had an etching, lithograph, or reproduction of his work. After his marriage in 1920 to Mally (Malka Streisand), Struck fulfilled his Zionist vision and immigrated to Palestine and settled in Haifa in 1922. Struck was involved in the important artistic events in Palestine: from helping Meir Dizengoff to build a museum in Tel Aviv, to his work at the Bezalel School of the Arts in Jerusalem where he was a Board Member and an artistic advisor. Struck contributed more than any other artist to the advancement of graphic art in the country.

It is with great pride that I see a resurgence of interest in Struck and his work. In 2013, his home designed by Alexander Baerwald in Haifa was refurbished and became the Hermann Struck Museum. It is now a part of the Haifa Municipal Museums. I hope this exhibition and catalog will help contribute to the memory of the artist and his important work.

Nathan A. Bernstein

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