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Grisebach, Lothar

    Full Name: Grisebach, Lothar

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1910

    Date Died: 1989

    Place Born: Jena, Thuringia, Germany

    Place Died: Hilchenbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): documentaries (documents), documentary (general concept), Expressionist (style), German (culture, style, period), and German Expressionist (movement)


    German Expressionist documentary scholar. Grisebach was the son of Jena professor of philosophy, Eberhard Grisebach (1880-1945), whose art connections laid the groundwork for his son’s interests. His father was a second cousin of the art historian August Grisebach and personal friends with the artists Ferdinand Hodler (who became Lothar’s Godfather) and Edvard Munch. The senior Grisebach organized art exhibitions for Kunstverein Jena, where he met and befriended the German Expressionist (Brücke) artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. His wife (Lothar’s mother), Charlotte Spengler, was daughter of the director of a sanitarium in Davos, Switzerland, where Kirchner was sent to recuperate from metal collapse and drug addiction during World War I. Lothar Grisebach grew up in this household, a talented drawer. During his stays with his grandparents in Davos, his drawings were critiqued by Kirchner. Grisebach studied physics under Peter Pringsheim, brother in law of Thomas Mann, in Berlin. He received his doctorate in 1935 in Berlin. In 1937, however, he gave up physics and started as an painter. He taught art at a school. In the 1960s, Grisebach published two important documentary volumes on Kirchner. The first, his father’s correspondence with Expressionist artists, Maler des Expressionismus im Briefwechsel mit Eberhard Grisebach, in 1962. The second, Kirchner diary during the artist’s years in Davos, Davoser Tagebuch, in 1968. After his retirement in 1975 he lectured “Kunstpädagogik” at the University of Siegen for some years. His son, Lucius Grisebach (q.v.) is also an art historian.Grisebach was not formally trained as an art historian. His importance comes from the important documentary publications in connection with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Der Polarisationsgrad der Fluoreszenz viskoser Farbstofflösungen bei Anregung in verschiedenen Absorptionsgebieten. Berlin, 1935; E. L. Kirschners Davoser Tagebuch: eine Darstellung des Malers und eine Sammlung seiner Schriften. Cologne: M. DuMont Schauberg, 1968; Maler des Expressionismus im Briefwechsel mit Eberhard Grisebach. Hamburg: C. Wegner, 1962; Von Munch bis Kirchner: erlebte Kunstgeschichte in Briefen aus dem Nachlass von Eberhard Grisebach. Munich: Paul List Verlag, 1968.


    [personal correspondence, Lucius Grisebach April 29, 2007]


    "Grisebach, Lothar." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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