Karl Leyhausen

Karl Leyhausen, works on paper and cardboard, 1922–31, Collection Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Fred Dott

A contemporary and close associate of documenta’s founding father Arnold Bode, Karl Leyhausen was a prominent member of the Kassel Secession, helping new trends in interbellum European art make their way to Nordhessen. In 1928, shortly before his premature death at age 32, Leyhausen painted this portrait of Peggy Sinclair, the daughter of an Irish art dealer who had moved to Kassel in 1922 to be closer to the German avant-garde, and who was Samuel Beckett’s first love. The future Nobel Prize winner was a frequent visitor to Kassel in the heady days of its Leyhausen-led Secession.

In his suicide note in 1931, Leyhausen wrote: “I know today more than ever how outrageously beautiful this gift of life is that I am so grateful for, and I am not throwing it away foolishly, but rather it is taken from me. A thoughtless, barbaric time has begun.”

Posted in Public Exhibition