Max Ackermann (1887–1975) – though only four years older than Otto Dix – remained faithful to the aesthetics of the Jugendstil. He started his studies in 1906 in Weimar as a student in the first year of the newly founded Kunstgewerbeschule (arts and crafts school), built and directed by Henry van de Velde. Subsequently Ackermann studied first under Richard Müller at the Dresden Academy of Art, and then in Franz von Stuck’s painting class in Munich. There he first saw paintings by Hans von Marées, whose art proved to be a strong influence on his own work. In 1912 he moved to the Stuttgart Academy, where he became acquainted with Adolf Hölzel and his circle of artist friends.
Even in these early years, Ackermann concentrated on creating ‘a total work of art’. For him, every one of his individual paintings was always a part of the whole, whose aim was the aesthetic education of man. This is why, in keeping with this basic concept, he designed a chapel-like museum for his oeuvre and later even bought a plot of land on the outskirts of Stuttgart to erect it on – a project he never completed.
Ackermann’s art had a socio-political side to it. At the beginning of the 1920s his Socialist-Communist convictions therefore led him to become politically active. On account of both the aesthetics of his pictures and his adherence to Communism, the Nazis banned his art as being ‘degenerate’. Ackermann therefore also retired into ‘inner emigration’ at Lake Constance.
The Zeppelin Museum possesses 130 works of art by Max Ackermann, one of the largest publicly owned collections by this artist.