Testaments to German Expressionism

A secret Expressionist art masterpiece, Berlin

We particularly love this little-known Berlin gem because, let's face it, there can't be too many cities in the world that boast Expressionist tombs. And certainly not one as superbly - well, expressive as this.

Designed in the early 1920s by the famous architect Max Taut (younger brother of the even better-known Bruno), the grave is located in the lovely Südwestkirchhof cemetery just outside Berlin, and was commissioned as the final resting place of Julius Wissinger, a wealthy merchant.

Hidden treasures, Berlin: the Expressionist grave of Julius Wissinger by Max Taut

Clearly architectural in style, although strikingly sculptural besides, the slender concrete forms are suggestive of gothic church arches as well as stylised, hooded figures.

In short, an amazing art-work as well as an extraordinary monument.

Expressionist tomb by Max Taut, Südwestkirchhof cemetery, Berlin
Berlin's secret sights: an Expressionist tomb

Coincidentally, film-maker F.W. Murnau - whose 'Nosferatu' (1922) is one of the great German Expressionist movies - is also buried in the same graveyard, although his tomb is a far more conventional affair.

And for anyone who can't make the journey to Stahnsdorf, we've tracked down another example located in central Berlin itself.

Hidden places Berlin: an Expressionist tomb by Max Taut in a Kreuzberg, Berlin cemtery

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A little-known Berlin secret: Expressionist tombstone by Max Taut

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The 1919 gravestone of industrialist Erwin Reibedanz - again designed by Max Taut - stands in the beautiful chain of interconnected cemeteries that run beside Bergmanstrasse in Kreuzberg.

Taking the form of a stylised shooting star, it was once vibrantly coloured, with the comet and its tail gilded, the cross and base painted in dazzling blues.


See also:
A cemetery in a forest
An Expressionist masterpiece

Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf (Southwest Stahnsdorf cemetery): Bahnhofstraße 2, 14532 Stahnsdorf
Opening times: April - September: 7am-8pm; October: 7am-6pm; November - February: 8am- 5pm; March: 7am-6pm

Max Taut Expressionist tomb, Bergmanstrasse Friedhöfe: location here

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