Wednesday August 10, 2016

Artist and Mystic

Artwork from Hans Friedrich Grohs, a German Expressionist whose pieces were hidden during the Nazi era, is on display through Nov. 13 at the University of Dayton.

“Hans Friedrich Grohs: Artist and Mystic” is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at the Marian Library Gallery on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. 

Grohs (1892-1981) was a versatile artist, who painted in different styles and with different mediums. He is known in part for his woodcuts featuring religious themes, including the life of Christ, said the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., director of research, art and special projects for the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

Roten explains in his book, The Dance of Death: Hans Friedrich Grohs, that Grohs was an educated painter, appointed to a leading faculty position at Nordische Kunsthochschule in Bremen in 1934. Soon after, however, his art was labeled “degenerate” and much of it was destroyed.

“‘Degenerate’ was a term the Nazis coined for art they didn’t like,” Roten said. “But, in part because of the people who had bought his art, Grohs was able to hide it, and then after the war bring it back out into the open again, so we have pieces going back to 1913.”

Some of his surviving works were donated to the Marian Library by his daughter, Frauken Grohs Collinson. She said her father “stands with all his creativity within the Bible and he looks out upon the world… through his very own window of Biblical faith.”

Thirty-two of his woodcuts will be included in the new exhibit. For more information, call 937-229-4214 or visit udayton.edu/imri/art for a schedule, directions and parking details. 

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