Max Hermann

Maxy, Max Hermann (1895-1971), painter, scenographer, professor.

He was born in 1895 at Brăila, but his family moved to Bucharest soon and the artist studied there. Between 1913 and 1916 he studied at the Fine Arts School where he had Fr. Storck and Camil Ressu as teachers.

He fights in the First World War and in 1918 he organizes an exhibition with war scenes with the artists   I. Ross and I. Steurer.

His first exhibition, in which he exhibits many of the paintings with the theme of war, was inaugurated in 1920 in Bucharest. In 1921 he took part in the exhibition of the Romanian Art Society.

Between 1922-1923 He studies in Berlin with Arthur Segal, also a Romanian, and he becomes a member of the famous Novembergruppe. He exhibits together with P. Klee and L. Marcoussis at the „Der Sturm” galleries. In 1924 he takes part in the International Exhibition of the „Contimporanul” group together with Brâncuşi, Klee, H. Arp, A. Segal, M. Iancu, V. Brauner, C. Mihăilescu, M.

Pătraşcu. In the same year he sets up The Academy of Modern Decorative Art in the Bauhaus spirit supporting the idea of style unity within all art forms. The Academy becomes in 1928 The Decorative Art Studio with the aim to promote Art Deco style.

Maxy is the founder of the avangarde magazine „Integral” where Brunea-Fox, Ion Călugăru, Ilarie Voronca, B. Fondane and Mattis Teutsch will contribute.  The magazine will appear under his supervision until 1928. 

In 1926, when he was in Paris, Maxy worked at the scenography and costumes of “The man, the beast and the virtue” by Pirandello and „Saul” by Gide. The influence of the Russian scenography of the 1920’s and especially Bakst’s is obvious.  

Back to Romania, in 1929 the artist took part in the exhibition of the „Arta Nouă” group.  He received the gold medal at the Barcelona International Exhibition where he exhibited objects of decorative art.  Between 1930 and 1938 Maxy was present at all the exhibitions of „Contimporanul”, of the “Modern Art Group” in Rome and at the „Criterion” artistic group events.
In 1939 Maxy starts to make scenography for the Jewish theatre „Baraşeum” in Bucharest.

Starting with 1941, with the Jewish legislation enforcement, Maxy becomes the director of this theatre, which he leads with the director Al. Finţi and the actress Beate Fredanov.  In that same period he is a teacher at the Jewish Art School, a private institution frequented by students excluded from the public schools on racial matters.  After the war he organizes the exhibition “Work and Art” where some of his students exhibit together with well-known artists.

M. H. Maxy is appointed director of the Art Museum in Romania in 1949  and professor at the „Nicolae Grigorescu” Fine Arts Institute in Bucharest where he will teach until 1951. He dies  in 1971, in Bucharest.  

The artistic works from Maxy’s youth are constructivist but the works exhibited at the “Arta Nouă” announce an orientation towards the moderated modernism. His graphics is remarkable, especially the illustrations from the volumes of Saşa Pană and Ilarie Voronca, as well as the portrait gallery of his generation friends published in „Integral”, „Contimporanul”, „Unu”, „75 HP” and the Jewish magazine of culture „Puntea de Fildeş”.

Bibliographical sources:

  1. Expoziţia retrospectivă M. H. Maxy; Bucureşti, 1965.
  2. Pavel, Amelia: Pictori evrei din România; Bucureşti, Hasefer, 1996.
  3. Bucureşti, anii 1920-1940 între avangardă şi modernism; Bucureşti, Simetria, 1994.