Sims Reed Rare Books×

Das Wielandslied der Aelteren Edda

Marcks, Gerhard

Munchen-Weimar. Bauhaus-Verlag. 1923
Gerhard Marcks' scarce Nordic-inspired Bauhaus portfolio.

From the edition limited to 110 numbered copies, with each print initialled, dated and numbered by Marcks in pencil..

It wasn't until after World War I that Marcks' initial interest in classicism gave way to the influence of Expressionism and of the Sturm artists, as part of a search for a new spirituality. Maintaining this sense of spirituality in his work, Marcks was to establish, in 1919, under the guidance of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus ceramics workshop in the village of Dornburg near Weimar. With his students he set out to create a Bauhaus ceramics ethic of simplicity and honesty of design as determined by the materials used and the function of the object. In stylistic terms he combined geometry with a local pottery tradition.

This sense of simplicity of spirit and design, and the feeling of local tradition manifests itself through Marcks' Wielandslied series of prints produced by the Bauhaus Verlag (it was Lyonel Feiningerwho first inspired Marcks to make woodcuts of simple rural genre themes). These series of 10 woodcuts combine the native German tradition of the simple woodcut, so popular in the early years of Bauhaus, with modern expressionistic tendencies, with the artists' combination of flat surface imagery and dramatic perspective.

Marcks was to leave the Bauhaus in 1925 in protest at Moholy-Nagy’s principle of ‘Art and technology - a new unity’, which became one of the organising policies of the Bauhaus.
[Bifolium + ten leaves of woodcuts]. Small folio. (356 x 295 mm). Bifolium with printed title, list of plates and verse and 10 original woodcuts by Gerhard Marcks, each mounted to a larger sheet of card as issued and initialled and dated in pencil; the colophon is pasted to the interior of the portfolio. Loose as issued in publisher's vellum-backed patterned paper board portfolio with printed titles to front cover in black.