Hans Thiemann

1930–1933 Bauhaus student

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Margot Schmidt, Elsa Thiemann Estate
Portrait of Hans Thiemann, photo: Elsa Thiemann, 1929–1931

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Hans Thiemann studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin with Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee from 1930 to 1933. He received his Bauhaus diploma on 1 April 1933, shortly before the Bauhaus was closed, signed by his teachers in the open art classes. He met his later wife (from 1947 on), Elsa Franke, at the Bauhaus and lived with her in Berlin after completing his studies.

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
'yellow forms on blue underground and blue forms on yellow underground', author: Hans Thiemann, 1930

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The couple remained in the capital during the Second World War. Hans Thiemann was associated with the ‘Dreamers’ (Fantasten) group in Berlin, and his painting had Surrealist tendencies and was labeled ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis, so that creative artistic work became impossible for him. While his wife took a post as an editorial assistant at the Berlin office of the publishers Hoffmann and Campe, Hans Thiemann fasted until he weighed just 47 kg (103 pounds) to avoid being conscripted for military service. To ward off isolation and depression, he kept up a lively correspondence with his former teacher Wassily Kandinsky, who was living in Paris at this time.

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Stage Props Scherzo, author: Hans Thiemann, 1931

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After the end of the war, Thiemann began painting again. He presented his work in a one-man exhibition at the Gerd Rosen Gallery in Berlin as early as 1947. In 1953, he received a Paris grant from the City of Berlin, and the following year he received the city’s Art Prize. He also taught as a guest professor at the State Art School in Hamburg in 1953. In 1960, he was finally appointed as a full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, where he gave the foundational course up until 1976, with brief interruptions.

[AG 2015]

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Menagerie, author: Hans Thiemann, 1931
  1. Literatur:
  2. Beutler, Christian (1976): Zwölf Briefe von Wassily Kandinsky an Hans Thiemann 1933–1939, Westdeutsches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, Bd. XXXVIII, Köln.
  3. Grohmann, Will (1948): Hans Thiemann, in: Das Kunstwerk, 2. Jg.
  4. Dokumente des Künstlers im Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin.
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