Gerd Arntz

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Gerd Arntz (11 December 1900, Remscheid – 4 December 1988, The Hague) was a German Modernist artist renowned for his black and white woodcuts.

Arntz was born the son of a factory owner. At the art school in Düsseldorf he became involved in revolutionary circles and linked up with a small communist group that advocated forming independent, self-governing councils. As an artist he joined a group that wanted to depict developments in society instead of individual emotions. For Arntz this view led to creating woodcuts and lino-cuts with stylized figures representing social groups and classes. He was influenced by abstract art, but continued to work in a representational way. Arntz's pictures were published in progressive magazines, sometimes in thematic collections.

In 1928 Arntz was invited to work for the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Vienna. This institute developed methods of pictorial statistics to illustrate social and economic processes. Complex problems had to be represented simply and clearly. Arntz's style lent itself to these objectives perfectly. Under his artistic direction, a catalog of visual statistics was published in 1930 under the title Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft.

After working in Moscow for a year, Arntz had to flee to the Netherlands in 1934. There he continued working on pictorial statistics, and published his wood- and lino-cuts in left-wing periodicals. One woodcut was removed from an exhibition in Amsterdam, because its anti-fascist message was found offensive by the German ambassador. After the war, Arntz worked for the Dutch Foundation of Statistics. Late in life, he received artistic recognition in several retrospective exhibitions and prizes. (source)

See also