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Johannes Molzahn- Alfred Flechtheim
Art dealer of the Avantgarde

Johannes Molzahn

21.05.1892 Duisburg - 31.12.1965 München
Alfred Flechtheim and Johannes Molzahn

Despite basic tuition in drawing and training as a photographer, Johannes Molzahn is essentially a self-taught artist. After a lengthy stay in Switzerland he returned to Weimar in 1918 and played an active role in founding the Bauhaus. Molzahn was friends with Johannes Itten, Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer and worked primarily as a commercial artist. He taught this subject at the college of applied arts in Magdeburg and at the Staatliche Akademie für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe in Breslau. After being forced to resign his post he emigrated to America and taught in the Art Department at the University of Washington, Seattle, in Chicago and New York. Apart from his work as a commercial artist, Molzahn was also a painter and art theoretician. He believed that the essence of art, whether figurative or abstract, had its roots in the overall effect of natural forces. Decisive changes to his painterly style happened during his time in Breslau. The technical, mechanistic slant in his pictures was replaced by organic and geometrical shapes. In addition to formal influences such as rhythmical colour fields and wavy lines, Molzahn succeeded in combining his figures with typographical elements. Molzahn saw a religious force in art and increasingly shifted his figures into a mythical context.

Six of his works were included in the ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition in 1937.

Between 1917 and 1920 Molzahn exhibited regularly in Herwarth Walden’s gallery ‘Der Sturm’ and in Alfred Flechtheim’s Berlin gallery in 1929. The contact between Flechtheim and Molzahn probably came about as a result of Flechtheim’s efforts to find new German artists connected to the Bauhaus. Works by Baumeister, for example, were shown at the Galerie Flechtheim in April 1929. Despite the exhibition at Flechtheim’s, Molzahn’s success as a painter was quite modest.

Individual exhibitons at the Galerie Flechtheim

Mai 1929

Johannes Molzahn
Berlin, Lützowufer 13

Group exhibitions at the Galerie Flechtheim

November–Dezember 1930

Seit Liebermann in Deutschland. Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Düsseldorf, Königsallee 34