September 23 – December 11, 2016
This exhibition presents more than 100 drawings, watercolors, and prints by German artist Otto Neumann (1895-1975).
Neumann, a Gentile who refused to divorce his Jewish wife, Hilde Rothschild, lived with the constant strain of the political climate in Germany in the 1920s to 50s. During this period of oppression, Neumann, by all accounts a ponderous and introverted type, drew strength from his love of family and of literature and was prolific in his art. With the inspiration of Gustav Doré’s illustrations, he too illustrated Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, creating many iterations of sketches and prints of the various cantos. He created many studies of classical mythology, depicting the twelve labors of Hercules, the stories of Io and Argos, Odysseus and the Cyclops, as well as Biblical stories. Not surprisingly given the climate in which Neumann lived, many of the literary works he illustrates speak of conflict, journeys under duress, and personal and ethical crises. Introspective self-portraits and drawings and paintings of his wife and daughter are also on view and show a closely bonded family under strain. This exhibition gives a unique window into the life of a reserved man with a revolutionary spirit.