Erna Dinklage.................
...Early Period 1920-1940 (Neue Sachlichkeit / New Objektivity) - Late Period 1970-1990 (Arte Cifra).............................



E a r l y P e r i o d: 1918 – 1940
Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity)
Magischer Realismus (Magical Realism)


The following text is based on the essay “Dunkler Traum und Verheißung” by Dr. Armin Zweite, formerly curator of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich, and present director of Munich’s Brandhorst Collection.
Dr. Zweite wrote the essay in 1989 for the catalogue documenting an exhibit of Erna Dinklage’s oil paintings at the Aspekte-Galerie in Gasteig/Munich.
As a frequent visitor to the artist’s studio and to her exhibits, Dr. Zweite was familiar with the different periods of Erna Dinklage’s creative work.
In the above mentioned catalogue one can find an interview with the artist, quoted by Dr. Anna Jutta Pietsch (curator of the Aspekte-Galerie), and also
Erna Dinklage’s recollection of her first encounter with the painter, Georg Schrimpf.

Helga Nitsche, the artist’s daughter, wrote the following text with reference to Dr. Zweite’s essay.
The commentary on Erna Dinklage’s graphic art and works in water colour was also written by Helga Nitsche.



Reviews concerning the early work of Erna Dinklage:


Art historian Hans Eckstein ranked Erna Dinklage’s importance with that of the painters Joseph Scharl and Rudolf Ernst (Zweijahrbuch 1929/30).
In 1930, Dr. Wilhelm Hausenstein, art historian and critic, commented in the Süddeutsche Tagespost: “… I have confidence in this talent … here we find a positive force in young Munich and I am convinced that her future work will keep us under her spell as strongly as does her fascinating presence.”
Dr. Hausenstein wrote again in 1948: „… I have been watching Erna Dinklage’s artistic development for a long time, visiting public showings and also her studio.
I consider Ms. Dinklage to be a very serious painter, an artist of exceptional importance… .”
In a letter to the artist, the poet Hans Carossa remarked in 1930: “… Der Irrenarzt (The Psychiatrist) in the Art Journal Jugend impressed me so deeply, that I am anxious to see more of your work… .”
P.B., art critic for the Münchner Zeitung wrote in the same year: “To see one of Erna Dinklage’s pictures is for me often the crowning event of an entire exhibit. This effect is created especially by her wonderful garden scenes that move us like painted music. The primitivism of the “New Objectivity” movement seems in this case to be so purified and expressive that one surrenders oneself completely to the enjoyment of these paintings.”


Unfortunately, paintings that reflected the style of the “New Objectivity” fell under Hitler’s edict concerning “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art) and disappeared from public view. At the end of World War II, when Russian troops entered Germany, Erna Dinklage lost not only her home but also most of her work.

The paintings Winter Landscape and Shepherdess dated 1925 and 1926 are among the few works saved from this period. Both paintings are now in the Städische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. Three water colours have also survived and are in the artist’s family collection.
Erna Dinklage’s “New Objectivity”- oil paintings mentioned in this article exist only as photographs.

Erna Dinklage’s early years were spent with her mother in Genf, later at the home of her grandparents in Berlin. Encouraged by her father, she began to study art in 1913 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Crafts in Berlin, but, disappointed with the teaching methods there, she soon discontinued her formal studies.
In Munich she met the artist Georg Schrimpf, whose pictures she much admired. Schrimpf introduced her to many contemporary artists and writers, who were to influence her work: Thomas and Klaus Mann, Knut Hamsun, Edzard_Schaper, Joachim Ringelnatz, Oskar Maria Graf and the Swiss philosopher, Max_Picard.

As seen in The Shepherdness, her early paintings manifest a strong sense of form without neglecting the lyrical and naïve.
Her sense of form, her luminous colours invest the motifs with an atmosphere of enchantment, traits especially evident in her many portraits, for example, Edzard Schaper (1930), Dora_König with her Mother, and the double-portrait Oskar_Maria_Graf und Georg_Schrimpf. Three generations are present in an austerely composed group, Triple-Portrait: in the center father Paul Crodel, to the left, the painter Erna Dinklage and at the right, her first son, Gideon. The portrait Gideon with an Apple appeared on the title page of the most important art journal of the time, Jugend. Gideon with Bernhardle Kieser and Gideon with a Cat capture vivid childhood moments.

Commenting on the Munich artists of the “New Objectivity” Franz Roh, an important art historian and critic, coined the phrase “Magical Realism”, and included Erna Dinklage’s paintings under this heading.
Contrary to the “New Objectivity” prevalent in Berlin and Dresden, where artists such as Otto Dix and Conrad Felixmüller used their work to convey social criticism, “Magical Realism” in Munich combined elements of the real and the idyllic.

But Erna Dinklage painted willfully, individualistically, avoiding not only the oppressive visions of Edgar Ende and the social pathos of Joseph Scharl and Conrad Felixmüller, but also the bucolic mannerisms of the Munich “Magical Realism” movement.