Gustav Wolf

Biography

Book illustrations. Jewish. Born 26 June 1887 in Östringen, near Karlsruhe. Studied at the Karlsruhe Kunstgewerbeschule: a teacher was Hans Thoma. Wounded on military service in the First World War. 1920-21: taught graphic arts at the Badische Landeskunstschule. 1921-38: while teaching he also freelanced, illustrating numerous books. In 1929 he designed sets for Fritz Lang’s Die Frau im Mond . His misfortunes began in 1933 with the dismissal from his teaching post as professor of graphic arts at the Staatliche Kunsthochschule, Karlsruhe. He wandered from Switzerland to Italy to Greece, returning to Germany in 1937 from where he was able to leave for New York in 1938. In 1943 he was offered a teaching post in western Massachusetts at Smith College where he produced The Book of Job, voted one of the 50 best books of 1945 by the AIGA. He later taught at the Northfield School for Girls, Northfield, Mass. After the war he was unable to accept the invitation to return to the Karlsruhe Akademie. Wolf died 18 December 1947 aged 60 in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

The Gustav Wolf Art Gallery was created in Östringen in 1994; Wolf’s work was a donation by his widow Lola. Wolf’s house in Östringen is open to the public.

Writings by

  • Das Zeichen-Büchlein, Bern: Seldwyla, 1921.

Writings about

  • Sendschreiben an die Freunde der Graphik über das Werk von Gustav Wolf, Jena: Diederichs, 1922
  • Walter G. Oschilewski, ‘Eugen Diederichs. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der neuen Deutschen Buchkunst’, Imprimatur, 1939/40, pp. 17-32 plus 4-p. inset
  • Menorah Journal, Mass.(?), 1941
  • Vollmer, 1961
  • Gustav Wolf [and HAP] Grieshaber (exh. cat.), Karlsruhe: Der Kunstverein, 1964
  • Johann Eckart Borrie, ed., Gustav Wolf. Das Druckgraphische Werk (exh. cat.), Karlsruhe: Staatliche Kunsthalle, 1982
  • JH/PP, 1989.

Exhibitions

  • Columbia University, NY, 1942
  • Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, 1950 (memorial exh.)
  • Der Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, 1964
  • Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, 1982.