Alfred Heinsohn

Alfred Heinsohn was born on February 10th 1875 in Hamburg. He also trained as a decorator and painter and attended the trade school in Hamburg. Afterwards he received training at the art schools of Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf.

Heinsohn studied with Theodor Hagen and Christian Rohlfs in Weimar to whom he owes a major influence on his own work. From Weimar he followed Franz Bunke and fellow students Rudolf Bartels and Peter Paul Draewing to Schwaan. In Schwaan he designed and built a house (following his own ideas) in 1902 on the outskirts of the town between the railway and the River Warnow. In 1910 he sold the house and travelled through Switzerland and France.

When his war service commenced, all of his artistic work in Schwaan ceased. After the war he returned to Hamburg and painted mainly landscapes and series of views of the city.

Isolated and impoverished Heinsohn chose suicide on November 12th 1927. Until recently his estate was totally unknown because none of his work was in public hands.

Heinsohn was a great supporter of expressive art. His works, especially after the war, show the special method of design of one who paints his motives in such an abstract manner. His pictures have a particular formula in which he uses untreated and coarse sack cloth as a basis instead of structured, toned paper. Heinsohn also painted aquarelles (with transparent water-colours) and made coloured drawings, often in smaller sizes. In addition to painting he explored theoretical problems of colour and architectural designs.

Alfred Heinsohn was, without doubt, an artist who, through remarkable individuality, found his way into a more modern form of art.