karl peter röhl
facets of a bauhaus artist in kiel
Karl Peter Röhl (Kiel 1890-1975 Kiel) is one of the most important students
who played a decisive role in the establishment of the Staatliches Bauhaus
(State Bauhaus) in Weimar from 1919 to 1925. This is evidenced not only
by his famous Bauhaus publisher's mark, the so-called "Sternenmännchen"
(star mannequin), but also by the trendsetting De Stijl course by Theo van
Doesburg, which was taught in Röhl's studio in Weimar. It were eventually
his powerful, non-objective-abstract paintings and graphic works of
1919-21, his Cosmic Visions, that inspired and artistically shaped the
early Bauhaus, later on replaced by the austere De Stijl compositions.
Röhl's artistic talent was discovered and encouraged early, during his
apprenticeship as a decorative painter in Kiel in 1906-09 and the
simultaneous attendance of evening classes at the Städtische
Handwerkerschule (Municipal Handicrafts School) through to the scholarship at
the Berliner Kunstgewerbemuseums (Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts) in
1910/11. Shortly thereafter, he created numerous oil paintings, small-format
sketches of Holstein landscapes, which were to accompany him thematically
also during the first years of study at the Großherzoglich-
Kunstschule (Grand Ducal College of Fine Arts) in Weimar.
A biographical and artistic caesura marked also for Röhl the World War I
and the founding of the Weimar Republic. Shortly after the sailors' uprising
in Kiel (November 1918), he returned to his hometown from the French front
and founded with his artist friends Werner Lange and Peter Drömmer, the
“Expressionistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kiel” ( Expressionist Working
Group of Kiel). His rediscovered major work Cosmic Composition III from
1920 clearly shows swirling propellers as the main motif.
After his time as head of the preliminary class at the Städel Kunstschule
(Städel School of Art) in Frankfurt a. M. 1926-42 and the subsequent
military service, Röhl returned to Kiel. He was involved in the cultural
relaunch and reconstruction of the city, brought to this by the mayor
Andreas Gayk. The highlight were the two glass window ensembles in
the celebration hall of the North cemetery and the Eichhof crematorium
Together with Rudolf Behrend, Hans Rickers, and Werner Lange, Röhl
formed in 1952 the Kiel artists' association "Neue Gruppe" (New Group).
In addition, he contributed his pedagogical experience to being an art
teacher at the newly built Goethe School in Kiel from 1952-55 and since
1949 as asset in the Kinder-Kunst-Kreis (children's art circle) of his
daughter Marinaua (Aunt Micky): practiced Bauhaus pedagogy for
preschool children in Kiel until 1975!
Our special thanks go to the Galerie Gmurzynska/Zurich, who donated
numerous works from Röhl's estate, as well as to the Stadtgalerie Kiel
and the private lenders from Kiel and Weimar.
This exposition is intended to stimulate a comprehensive Röhl retrospective
in Kiel on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of his death in 2025 and to
provide impulses for further research into his work in Kiel.
An exhibition catalogue is available for € 9.90 at the museum store.
The stained-glass window ensembles in the chapel of the North Cemetery
(Westring 481, 24118 Kiel) can be visited with free admission:
Thursday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here you can find the dates of our events and guided tours.
We thank for your support of this exhibition!
Bildrechte © Karl Peter Röhl: Gräfin von Vitzthum
Fotos: M. Siebenbrodt, S. Ehlert, Galerie Gmurzynska