Hermann Abeking came from Berlin and, although he created a second centre of life for himself in Ahrenshoop at an early stage, he always maintained professional and private contact with the capital. After studying at the art academies in Dresden and Berlin, he had settled here as a freelance artist and made a living as an illustrator, poster artist and caricaturist, mainly for the Ullstein publishing house. He published in the magazine "Ulk", the "Illustrated Weekly for Humour and Satire", for which artists such as Lyonel Feininger, Heinrich Zille, George Grosz, Albert Schaefer-Ast, Alfred Kubin or Rudolf Schlichter, who became known as a painter of the New Objectivity, also worked. It is little known that Hermann Abeking left behind a body of painterly work. It was created in Althagen, where, after his marriage to the painter Elly Grube, he moved into the Doppelbüdnerei No. 14/15, one half of which he used as a studio. From these early professional days he knew Lyonel Feininger, who was on friendly terms with him. When Feininger visited Ribnitz with a group of other artists in 1905, Abeking was there. The friendship continued and allowed at least one visit by Abeking to Weimar, when Feininger had become Bauhaus master there and emerged with his new, visionary pictorial language. Hermann Abeking's participation in the First World War had plunged him into a serious crisis. Although he returned to humorous forms of expression in the 1920s, which were also characteristic of his children's books, he expressed himself as a painter in an unforgivingly critical manner. The painting "Unter Stiefeln" (Under Boots) is the most important testimony to the artist's passionately reflective, political stance. The graphic conception of the figure, the glazed application of paint and the cool colour atmosphere oriented towards Mannerism identify it as a work of New Objectivity. The contortions of the helpless victim writhing on the ground in the face of a faceless, violent superior force have a highly dramatic effect. With this picture, Abeking has summed up in a gripping formula the signs of the times, in which the Second World War was already looming with the incipient National Socialist division of the German population in the new economic crisis.


  • Title: Under Boots
  • Creator: Hermann Abeking (1882-1939)
  • Date Created: 1928
  • Physical Dimensions: 90 x 120 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Ahrenshoop Art Museum, all rights reserved.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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