[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
BEHRENS, Peter (1866–1940)
“Der Küss” / “The Kiss”
color woodcut on cream paper / 10.7 inches by 8.5 inches
European periodicals like Pan and The International Studio afforded access, not only to ideas about what constituted “art”, but also to actual examples tipped into the magazines themselves. The collection’s copy of “The Kiss” came from the volume iv, number 2 (1898) issue of Pan, probably a private subscription—Pan was published in Berlin during 1895–1900. “The Kiss” was one of the twelve pieces which constituted the original 1912 G.A.R. art exhibition organized by Amity Burroughs Flynn.
Published fourteen years before the exhibition, its organizers may have known that artist-architect Peter Behrens had become a significant figure in the development of educational reform for art and design. In 1903 he joined the faculty at Künstlerkolonie Darmstädt, an important precursor of the Bauhaus. At about the same time, Behrens became director of design for the AEG, German equivalent of General Electric, in addition to maintaining his own private architectural practice. Ironically, the Art Nouveau qualities of “The Kiss” make it an outlier in his design output.