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




Works of the Later Years (Arte Cifra)







At the age of 75, living in seclusion and skeptical of contemporary trends, Erna Dinklage created her own unmistakable mode of expression, a style that broke entirely with the “New Objectivity” of the Twenties.
In these later paintings, the obvious fuses with the cryptic, and because of the artist’s lifelong experience with colour and composition, impressive works evolve, documenting the richness of her creativity.
A striking characteristic is now the “headlessness” of her figures. For Erna Dinklage, the “head” signifies the coldness of human intellect, calculating reason. This is no longer the artist’s priority. “Headlessness” is not a negation of reason, but of unfeeling pragmatism, when the balance between heart and head has been disturbed.
Erna Dinklage’s experiments in expressing her conviction of “heart over head” begin with reduced faces, with faces in which only eyes exist, and finally, eyes alone, as the metaphor of an inner vision. Hers is a positive, spirited attitude toward life, springing from man’s core and radiating a subtle inner light.
Erna Dinklage’s art is not, however, a reflection of unbroken serenity: grief, mortality, the unfathomable are seldom absent. These darker visions hover like the shadow of wings across her paintings, a world which unfolds before the viewer’s eyes in dreamlike images and lyrical intimations.
Botanical characteristics appear in her image of human beings; on the other hand, the world of nature is endowed with anthropomorphic elements. In her composition Storm (1976), trees threatened by high winds are given hands and feet, with which to anchor themselves to the protective earth. The Big Fish (1973), one of the most impressive pictures of this period, is rich in colour and complex in its composition: the transition from graphic to almost sculpted shapes, the rhythmic relationship of figures to background and the cryptic gestures of the figures fill the painting with great vitality. Life’s ambiguity is intimated in this painting: one hand of the standing woman is extended to grasp the catch, while the other hand repulses it.
For Erna Dinklage, the body’s bearing, pose, the gestures of its limbs, stemming from the subconscious, are the language of authenticity. The female figures in Two Figures in the Rain are bound by some secret, symbolized by their masks. The figure on the right is naked, defenseless, faltering. She seeks support and direction from the figure ahead. The position of her legs betrays the fact that she has become her own stumbling block. The figure on the left is robust, earthbound. Leaning toward her friend, she coaxes her forward. Her left hand reaches out for the umbrella; with her right hand, she wards off the spying eyes in the windows. At one glance, the carriage of these two figures reveals the relationship between the women.

In her painting The White Rock, Erna Dinklage instills a natural phenomenon with human emotion. Organic shapes pervade one another in The Archaic Fish (1982). This metaphoric composition is full of riddles: is the mythical creature gliding through dim caverns of the sea, or does it penetrate iridescent clouds of mist?
Dark and ancient chords are struck. By conjuring up an archaic universe, the artist reminds us that we are losing sight of essentials in the hectic business of our

Dr. Arnim Zweite remarked: “Considering the entirety of her work, one is continuously amazed at the pains she takes to achieve a complexity of composition.”
Music and Harmony, Music, Garden of Love, Flight, Dancing before the Golden Calf, Young Girl in a Storm, Girl with a Bicycle, Young Boy with a Smiling Cloud, At the Beach, The Poetess, Wandering Rock, Desert, Spring.)

Erna Dinklage’s mystifying compositions seem not to be isolated phenomena
when one considers the stylistic elements used in painting during the early 1980s,
and to some extent in the Arte Cifra movement with its Italian representatives, such as Cucchini, Paladino, Clemente and Chia. Yet her work remains unique, unmistakable and apart from classification within a certain trend or style of painting.