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Hanns Ludwig Katz

KATZ, HANNS LUDWIG (1892–1940), German painter and graphic artist. Katz was born in Karlsruhe. After leaving school he made a short sojourn in Paris at the atelier of Henri Matisse. From 1913 to 1918 Katz studied painting, history of art, and architecture in Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, and Munich. He married the pianist Franziska Ehrenreich and they moved to Frankfurt-on-the-Main in 1920, after he had published a series of expressionist lithographs entitled Danse macabre which alluded to the revolution in 1919. In Frankfurt, Katz became known as a painter of portraits, cityscapes, and still lifes, which revealed the influence of Max Beckmann and the Neue Sachlichkeit. But despite the success and the support of the art critic Max Osborn, he had to become a partner in a whitewashing company in 1923 in order to make a living. One of his portraits in the style of the Neue Sachlichkeit shows the artist at work. After getting his master craftman's certificate, he worked in the business until 1936. After the Nazi takeover in 1933, Katz took an active part in the Frankfurt section of the Juedischer Kulturbund, and in 1935, one year after his wife died, he planned to establish a semiautonomous Jewish settlement in Yugoslavia. After his endeavors failed he immigrated to South Africa in 1936. Before leaving Frankfurt, Katz married Ruth Wolf, who followed him into exile. Thus he was able to escape before one of his best expressionist portraits, of Gustav Landauer (1919–20, private collection, Kapstadt), was publicly denounced in Degenerate Art in 1938. Despite becoming deeply involved in painting the landscapes of his new homeland, Katz was unable to make headway in the South African art scene and died in Johannesburg.


Heuberger, H. Krohn (ed.), Hanns Ludwig Katz (1992).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.