Monday, April 9, 2012

MOPP - the case of Max Oppenheimer

The painter and printmaker Max Oppenheimer (MOPP) was born in Vienna in 1885. From 1900-1903 he studied at the Vienna Academy, and from 1903-1906 at the Prague Academy. He was one of the 16 founders of the modernist Neukunstgruppe, whose central figure was Egon Schiele, with whom Oppenheimer shared a studio in 1910. Oppenheimer was also influenced by Gustav Klimt, and especially by Oskar Kokoschka. From 1911 he began using the pseudonym MOPP, formed from his initial and the first three letters of his surname. In 1912 he moved to Berlin. Medically unfit for military service, Max Oppenheimer spent the years of WWI in Switzerland. Over the years Oppenheimer's art absorbed the aesthetics of Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Expressionism, Dada, and Cubism, while remaining always rooted in his own personality. 

Max Oppenheimer, Quartett
Etching, 1932

Music and musicians were a constant source of inspiration for Max Oppenheimer, as in his etching Quartett, which infuses Cubist technique with Expressionist vitality. With the rise of the Nazis, the position of Oppenheimer, who was a Jew, a homosexual, and a "degenerate" artist, became perilous. His works were removed from German museums in 1937. The following year he emigrated to the USA, via Switzerland. Max Oppenheimer lived for the rest of his life in New York, where he died in 1954.