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German & Austrian Drawings

German and Austrian drawings have a rich and ever evolving history that encompasses a variety of genres and styles ranging from realism to expressionism and abstraction. Over centuries, the German and Austrian region has produced many of the world's most acclaimed artists, especially in modern and contemporary art. These include Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Dieter Roth.

German and Austrian artists of the 18th century often depicted landscapes from exotic locales and biblical scenes. This corresponded to popular tastes at the time. Before the advent of the camera, drawing and painting media were the primary means of relating the topographies and peoples of distant lands.

Prior to the mid-19th century, many examples of German and Austrian drawings served as cultural and taxonomic snapshots of people, landscapes, flora, and fauna that were recently discovered by the expanding empires of this region. This region continues to produce many outstanding drawings by some of the most celebrated artists in the world, including Gerhard Richter, whose works routinely sell for tens of millions of dollars at auction.

Quick Facts

  • A pencil drawing by Gerhard Richter entitled "8.4.1999" sold at Phillips in 2015 for more than $42,000
  • The drawings of German Expressionist artists from the early part of the 20th century reflect influences of African and Oceanic art. They remain highly sought-after works today
  • The drawings of Anselm Kiefer focus on Germany’s troubled history in the wake of World War II, and are provocative and valuable contemporary art objects

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