On 9 April 1933, several months after Hitler's rise to power in Germany, a group of devoted pupils opened the memorial exhibition of Johann(es) Walter-Kurau at Victor Hartberg's in Berlin Charlottenburg. Newspapers published different opinions about the art of the late Baltic painter, but most critics agreed that he has been a beloved and influential teacher. The late, modernist paintings of the 'prodigal son' Johann Walter (1869-1932), usually named Janis Valters by Latvians, are some of the most fascinating exhibits of the State Museum of Art in Riga, although our knowledge about his life and work as Johann(es) Walter-Kurau in Dresden (1906-1916) and Berlin (1917-1932) so far has been very poor. Now much of this blank area may be covered by helpful references to recent publications about his Berlin pupils Otto Manigk (1902-1974), Karen Schacht (1900-1987), Else Lohmann (1897-1984), Hans Zank (1889-1967) and Willy Gericke (1895-1970) by German art historians striving to save several forgotten names from the undue obscurity of the 'lost generation', or art collectors wishing to gain their admission to prominent international sales. Alongside a number of archive materials, catalogues and German press publications, this eclectic, contradictory literature, ranging from fruits of enthusiastic life-long connoisseurship and trustworthy studies on particular women artists to deliberate art-historical fakes, allows us to reconstruct the history of Walter's busy Gervinusstrasse studio in Berlin-Charlottenburg, but a copy of the artist's manuscripts helps to understand the theoretic background of his mature views and creativity. Walter's own much admired authority as a great, generous man and a teacher par excellence was the Russian landscapist, professor Arkhip Kuinji (1841-1910). In his painting and theory, however, Walter drew inspiration from other sources, and his aim in the late 1920s and early 30s was the 'missing link between Impressionism and the abstract art of the day'.
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