Jun 27, 2017

Man on a Plain (Self-portrait) (Mann in der Ebene [Selbstbildnis])

Man on a Plain (Self-portrait) (Mann in der Ebene [Selbstbildnis])


Erich Heckel

(German, 1883–1970)

Woodcut on wove paper

Image: 37.8 x 28.3 cm (14 7/8 x 11 1/8 in.); Sheet: 70 x 55.9 cm (27 9/16 x 22 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Davis in memory of Harvey Buchanan and Penelope Draper Buchanan 2016.598

Catalogue raisonné: Dube 305, state II/II [state IIA, outside the edition of 40]

Edition: Proof before the edition of 40 published in Eleven Woodcuts, 1912–1919 (Elf Holzschnitte, 1912–1919)



Erich Heckel made this woodcut while he was working as a wartime ambulance driver in Ostend, Belgium; it portrays his own perception of the oppressiveness of war. Avoiding overt signs of the conflict, Heckel instead depicted himself on the verge of despair, his hands clasped to his head. The jagged lines of the sky relay the weight of the world. He used a gouged woodblock to create a landscape full of movement yet desolate, one that offers no escape from the suffering.

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