Arnold Bode
(1900–1977)

Arnold Bode, Porträt von Karl Leyhausen (Portrait of Karl Leyhausen, 1920), ink on paper, Collection Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Fred Dott

Arnold Bode, Museum in Athen I (2 Koren) (Museum in Athens I [2 korai], 1965), ink on paper
 (top), Kopf des Wagenlenkers in Delphi (Head of the charioteer in Delphi, 1965), ink on paper (center), and Aus dem Museum in Athen II (Kouros und Kyklade-Idole) (From the museum in Athens II [kouros and Cycladic idols], 1965), ink on paper (bottom), Collection Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Fred Dott

Arnold Bode is best known today as the founder of documenta and the driving force behind its first four editions (1955–64). Born in Kassel in 1900, Bode initially trained as an artist, while he was also already active in organizing international art exhibitions in the 1920s as a member of the Kassel Secession. After the end of the Second World War, when most of his early work was destroyed in the firebombing of Kassel, Bode quickly reestablished himself as an artistic visionary in the culture-hungry desolation of postwar Germany. In between organizing documenta exhibitions and other, smaller-scale local shows, he never gave up painting and drawing, devoting himself to the lingua franca of lyrical abstraction until his death in 1977.

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