In November 1917, painter and graphic designer Hermann Kätelhön (1884–1940) moved his main home to Essen. In doing so, he followed the recommendation of the then director of Kunstmuseum Essen, Ernst Gosebruch. Kätelhon had previously lived in the Hessen countryside for some years, where in numerous works he had captured a landscape that was still untouched by industrialization.
At the time of his relocation to the Ruhr area, the expansion of the coal and steel industry had reached its first climax. Coal and steel had not only shaped the society but also changed the face of the region. Winding towers, blast furnaces and chimney stacks had become the new landmarks, railway lines for the trucks of ore cut through entire tracts of land, slag heaps grew into hills that could be seen from afar.
Fascinated by this industrial lifeworld, Kätelhön now addressed the world of work above and below the ground – as well as first and foremost else the industrial landscape in all its various manifestations. This cabinet exhibition centres on a selection of his most impressive representations of that landscape. It is part of the collaborative Kunst & Kohle project, initiated for 2018 by the RuhrKunstMuseen museum network on the occasion of the termination of coal mining in the Ruhr area.
In his early industrial landscapes Kätelhön employed traditional forms of composition that had been in use since at least the early 19th century, creating a powerful contrast to the modernity of his visual themes. The comparison with the works of illustrator and printmaker Adrian Zingg (1734–1816), an important proponent of the traditional landscape style, makes this clear. The exhibition further includes some industrial photographs in the style of New Objectivity created at the same time as Kätelhön’s works, such as among others those of Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966). All of the exhibits are part of the Museum Folkwang collection.
In the context of the Kunst & Kohle project organized by RuhrKunstMuseen
Further information (in German) here...