Reinhold Naegele Biography

Reinhold Naegele




Painter and printmaker Reinhold Naegele (German: Nägele) was born August 17, 1884 in Murrhart, Germany. He first apprenticed with his father after whom he was named, who was a decorative painter involved with the theater. After graduating from high school he attended the Stuttgart Kunstgewbeschule (Arts and Crafts School of Stuttgart), and by the early 1910s he was exhibiting in Berlin. His work was discovered by the German publisher and collector Paul Cassier in 1907 and this connection helped boost Naegele's career, affording him the opportunity to continue his studies in Munich from 1910 to 1911. While in Munich he learned intaglio printmaking. 

After serving in the First World War as a pilot with the Fliegerersatzabteilung 10, he returned to Stuttgart and continued his pursuit of art. He married medical student Alice Nordlinger and in 1923 he helped found the Stuttgart Secesion, operating as the deputy director. He worked in printmaking, oils and watercolors, and reverse-glass painting. He established himself as a leading Stuttgart modernist whose work often explored symbolism and surrealism, but who was equally known for his more traditional landscapes and images of cities.

As the Nazi regime began to take hold, however, his marriage to Nordlinger, a Jew, made his career virtually impossible to pursue due to the ostracization and denial of membership into the groups he had helped build. Nordlinger was forced to abandon her practice in 1932, and by 1937 Naegele's art was categorized as that of a "degenerate", the Nazi label for the work of non-compliant artists and other luminaries. Abandoned by most of his friends and unable to secure a job, he took the advice of his patron, Hugo Borst, and emigrated with his family to New York via Paris and London. He would remain in New York for the rest of Nordlinger's life, only returning after she passed away in 1962. 

While in New York he continued to work and exhibit, and once the war had ended and reparations were being made, Garmeny awarded him an honorary professorship in absentia at the Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Education (1952) and an honorary citizenship to his native town, Murrhardt (1960). After his return to Germany a secondary school was named for him in the town of Weinstadt. He continued to live and work in Germany until his death on April 30, 1972, in Stuttgart.