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German Expressionism in Darmstadt

Das Tribunal: hessische radikale Blätter [The tribunal: Hessian radical leaves]. Vols. I, nos. 1-12 in 10, and II, nos. 1-4 (all published).

Darmstadt, 1919–1921. Quartos (29 × 24.5 cm). Original staple-stitched pictorial wrappers; 16 pp. per issue (with consecutive pagination: 136 and 68 pp. respectively for years one and two). Occasional old creases and light spotting to issues; overall about very good.

Complete run of a scarce German late expressionist journal published in Darmstadt, Germany, with the slogan “Against hate – for justice – against mediocrity – for renewal – “Weltgefühl“ instead of the party bylaws.” The periodical was issued by a group of students who initially began to meet in 1915 in a friend’s attic, thus coming to refer to themselves as the “Dachstube” (Attic) group, with a short-lived eponymous journal appearing that same year, as well as various books under the same imprint. Following WWI, members of the group, which included Carlo Mierendorff, Joseph Würth, Theodor Haubach, Hans Schiebelhuth, and Fritz Usinger, began to publish the present periodical. They aspired to further their radical political ambitions through cultural activism, and also saw themselves as playing a role in the reconciliation between Germany and France (in line with the Clarté Movement). The journal’s editor, Carlo Mierendorff (1897–1943), was a talented expressionist writer who had fought during the war. In the 1920s, he served as the youngest SPD delegate to the Reichstag and was a highly vocal critic of the conservative and nationalist milieu, which led to his arrest and sentencing to a concentration camp in 1933. He was part of the Kreisau Circle resistance group, but fell victim to a wartime raid on Leipzig in 1943.

The journal is illustrated with expressionist illustrations on front wrappers and thoughout, including full page drawings and original lithographs by H. Engert, Josef Eberz, Edwin Scharff, C. Gunschmann, Max Beckmann, Bernhard Hötger, Ludwig Meidner, and others. The Getty notes at least two parodies of the journal that positioned itself against the „Tribunal“ group. In 1919, the group surrounding “Tribunal”, along with others, was transformed into the Darmstadt Secession. Darmstadt Expressionism is still a relatively understudied phenomenon, and was first the subject of an exhibition in Darmstadt itself in 2015, which was curated by Claus Netuschil. Rare complete and unbound. As of September 2020, KVK and OCLC show only a small number of non-microfilm or reprint holdings in North America.

Book ID: 50849

Price: $7,500.00