13/12/2018 — 10/02/2019
Bernhard Heisig (1925–2011) played an important role in the cultural and social development of the city in his positon as Rector of the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig (HGB) and as a prominent artist. MdbK Leipzig has also been closely associated with Bernhard Heisigs’ art for some time. He had his first exhibition here in 1966. Other individual exhibitions followed in 1973, 1985 and 2005.
Now the Museum of Fine Arts is showcasing its own collection of Heisigs’ art. Comprising 24 paintings, over 30 drawings and more than 600 lithographic works, the museum owns an extensive portfolio of works by the prestigious Leipzig artist. The collection has been gradually built since the 1960s and presents the entire range of Heisigs’ artistic work in all media. Added to the museum’s portfolio are seven paintings that were obtained by MdbK as permanent loans from the GDR artistic heritage, donated by the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation.
The exhibition features selected works from all phases in the creative life of the artist: besides disturbing allegorical imagery full of contemporary criticism, Heisigs’ painting also included still life works and landscapes. Portraits play a central role in his oeuvre. Important figures from the cultural scene in Leipzig, among them the conductor Kurt Masur and the publisher Hans Marquardt, were vividly painted by the artist. Also included in the exhibition is a small collection of Heisigs’ lithographic self-portraits.
Bernhard Heisig was born 1925 in Breslau. After military service and imprisonment (1942–1945), Heisig works as a commercial artist in Breslau from 1946. He enrols at the Arts and Crafts College in Leipzig in 1948, before moving to the State Academy for Graphic Arts and the Book Trade (today the HGB), where he studies from 1949 until 1951. He is employed there as a teacher from 1954, is appointed professor and rector in 1961, but retires from his teaching position in 1968 due to differences over cultural policy. Heisig returns as rector of the academy from 1976 to 1987. He is appointed Vice President of the Association of Fine Artists in the GDR in 1974. Heisig continues to teach until 1990, before moving to Strohdehne, Havelland, in 1992, where he passes away aged 86