The Orator

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The Orator

Alternate Title: Der Volksredner
Germany, circa 1920
Paintings
Oil on canvas
65 × 84 3/4 × 1 3/4 in. (165.1 × 215.27 × 4.45 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Charles K. Feldman (86.4)
Currently on public view:
Broad Contemporary Art Museum, floor 3

Since gallery displays may change often, please contact us before you visit to make certain this item is on view.

Label

Magnus Zeller was among the second generation of German Expressionist artists who came of age at the end of World War I....
Magnus Zeller was among the second generation of German Expressionist artists who came of age at the end of World War I. As Germany’s defeat in the war and the subsequent downfall of the monarchy brought on a nationwide revolution, those eager for dramatic political change were optimistic. Artists believed they would play an important role in building a better society and joined together in groups such as the Working Council for Art. Idealism gave way to disillusionment as the revolution grew violent and the new republican government failed to realize its lofty ambitions. In The Orator, Zeller portrays the religious dimension of modern politics, which incites ecstatic devotion in its followers. The charismatic speaker, more preacher than politician, may have been inspired by the Communist leader Karl Liebknecht, who Zeller saw in Berlin before Liebknecht’s murder by right-wing forces in 1919.

Exhibition wall label, 2021.
More...

Bibliography