On View

Der Weg (The Path)

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Der Weg (The Path)

Artist: Hannah Höch (German, 1889 - 1978)
Date: 1927
Medium: Oil on canvas
Frame: 43 1/2 × 31 3/4 × 2 in. (110.5 × 80.6 × 5.1 cm.)
Canvas (visible): 36 1/2 × 24 3/4 in. (92.7 × 62.9 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center's Louise Noun Collection of Art by Women through Bequest, 2003.326
Accession number: 2003.326
Classification: painting
Label TextAlthough no hard evidence exists that this is an autobiographical painting, many of the mysterious figures and forms in The Path appear to play out events in Höch’s life. The tall, red woman in the lower center of the work bears a strong resemblance to the artist. Cycles of life and death are a prominent theme in the work. The path begins with an old man, then a young couple, a funeral, a separated couple, and finally a pregnant woman. All of these events are surrounded by a cavalcade of strange animals and plant-like forms, with two large flowers standing at path’s beginning and end. These blooms, and the old man standing near the beginning, may represent Höch’s father, an avid gardener who passed this love of nature onto the artist. Many images of children also appear, both in this work and the collages Höch created around this time. As the images of couples in this work suggest, her romantic life was very tumultuous during the 1920s, and she was preoccupied with having children.
SignedH H (l,l oil paint)
InscriptionHannah Hoch, 1927, 'Der Weg (verso u,c)
Grete Konig/Hoch (verso l,l)
Grete Konig, 811 Murnau, Burggraben 36, Tel.08841/9823 (verso small label l,l)
Exhibition History"The Louise Noun Collection of Art by Women" The University of Iowa Museum of Art, March 24 - 13, 1990; DMAC, May 25 - August 5, 1990
Published ReferencesAdriani Gotz, ed., HANNAH HÖCH, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, No.116, ill. p.174

U of I, 1990, Conklin, ed., p.24-25 (illustration)

Ellen Maurer, SYMBOLISCHE GEMALDE VON HANNAH HÖCH, Master's Dissertation, Ludwig - Maximilian - Universitat, Munich, 1983, p.24, ill. no.18
entirely unexpected