Hirschfeld-Mack, Ludwig

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HIRSCHFELD-MACK, LUDWIG (1893–1965), German painter, printmaker, and art teacher. Hirschfeld was born in Frankfurt-on-the-Main into a prosperous Jewish family of leather manufacturers. He started to work in his father's business in 1910/11 but enrolled in the Debschitz School of Arts and Crafts in Munich in 1912–14, specializing in graphic arts. After military service in World War i until 1918, Hirschfeld went to the Dessau Bauhaus, where he took part in the workshop for graphic arts as a printmaker from 1919 to 1925. He started teaching in 1922/23, taking up the theory of colors as developed by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Johannes Itten. For teaching purposes he created a cinematograph called "Farbenlichtspiel," which demonstrated the impact of color prisms on art. After the Dessau-Bauhaus was shut down he became an art teacher in the successor organization in Berlin and taught color and form to children. He had several exhibitions showing his "Farbenlichtspiele" as well as musical instruments constructed for children's use and models of interior design applying color prisms. After the rise to power of the Nazis he immigrated to England together with his family in 1936 but was detained and finally deported as an "enemy alien" to Australia in 1940. During his stay in London he developed a musical instrument called "Color Chord," a cinematograph transmitting color prisms moving to the sound of triads to demonstrate the interdependence of color and sound. After the end of his internment, Hirschfeld-Mack settled in Australia and served as head of the art department of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School until his retirement in 1957. His teaching as a pioneer of Bauhaus pedagogy had a significant impact on the Australian educational system, especially at the pre-school level. His paintings and water-colors reveal the influence of Bauhaus, especially of Itten and Klee.


A. Hapkemeyer (ed.), Ludwig Hirschfeld-MackBauhäusler und Visionaer (Catalogue Jewish Museum of Vienna, 2000).

[Annette Weber (2nd ed.)]