The Great War in Small Format – Graphic Art and Medal Art about World War I
20 October 2017 – 21 January 2018
Opening: Thursday 19 October, 7 p.m.

With its incredible terror World War I has not only shattered politics and society in their foundations, but the graphic art as well. Artists were immediate witnesses to the events. Because of their intimate character especially small-scale graphic and medal art addressed the gruesome events in a rather drastic kind. More than in big-scale paintings they inhere something spontaneous, partly something subersive.
World War I was nevertheless a war of imaginations in word and design. Besides the official propaganda in leaflets there also has been artistic graphics, about which this exhibition gives an insight. While at the beginning of the war many works were still spurred by euphoria, soon skepticism, shock, accusation and sorrow pulled in. In 1918 for many people a whole world, a whole worldview collapsed.
The works out of the portfolio of the LETTER-foundation Cologne are presented in thematic groups, while very famous artists like Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Slevogt, Max Pechstein and Ludwig Meidner stand besides today rather unknown artists on purpose. This especially concerns those artists who never had the chance of a regular artistic career due to their early death in the war.
The exhibition “The Great War in Small Format” has been assembled and curated by Dr, Bernd Ernsting out of the tremendously extensive portfolio of the LETTER-foundation Cologne. After stations in the Bavarian Army Museum Ingolstadt, the Middle Rhine Museum Koblenz and the Museum of the City of Worms the exhibition will leave Zitadelle Berlin in 2018 and move on to the Ernst-Barlach-Foundation Güstrow.

Melchior Grossek „Kampf“, 1923 (Quelle: Letter Stiftung Köln)