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N. A. Furness

(b Bautzen, Saxony, Dec 4, 1887; d Berlin, May 6, 1968).

German art historian. Although he had received a conventional classical education at the Kreuzschule in Dresden and was awarded a DPhil by the Universität Leipzig in 1913 for a dissertation on 18th-century German drama, he was drawn to the study of art by exhibitions of painting by Die Brücke in Dresden in 1907 and 1910. Personal contact with this group and, through his association with the Bauhaus, with Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer led to early publications on Kandinsky (1924), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1925 and 1926) and Klee (1929). Identified as hostile to the Nazi regime, Grohmann was debarred from gainful employment in 1933, and the first volume of his major study of Paul Klee’s drawings, published in 1934, was confiscated. His publications resumed only following his migration to West Germany after World War II and his appointment in 1948 as professor of the history of art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin. He then earned an international reputation with his definitive monographs on Kandinsky, Klee, Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and his support for the younger generation of German and Swiss artists. Grohmann played a major role, partly through his prefaces to catalogues of exhibitions at the Marlborough Galleries in London, in introducing some of the outstanding exponents of 20th-century art to a wider public....