Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Paul Westheim:

14) Das Holzschnittbuch.

Potsdam 1921

In his Holzschnittbuch, which can be considered as the bible of German woodblock expressionism, Paul Westheim dignified Linton’s role as a precursor. Linton, he says, “had a clear-sighted view for the situation by coming in his 1889 published history to the conclusion, that the woodcut could only be retrieved by the artist becoming xylographers themselves. A prophetical word, which was confirmed by the development, although in a quite different way, than Linton had expected. The artists turned back to the woodblock at the verge of the century but only to abandon the whole business of woodengraving entirely as a complete aberration.” In fact Westheim did not grasp the specific qualities and the inherent creative possibilities of Bewick’s white line technique. But his theses were in accordance with the modernist doctrines of nativeness. He contrasted the earthy simplicity of the new woodcut with the assumed artificial and decadent approaches of 19th-century graphics. Westheim held the romantic vision, that by going back to the origins of the craft, xylography would become a real people’s art again.


Anon. - T. Bewick


C. Rohlfs - K. Schmidt-Rottluff - P. Gaugin