Portals - The Visionary Architecture of Paul Goesch

Clark Art Institute


Portals - The Visionary Architecture of Paul Goesch, by Robert Wiesenberger and Raphael Koenig / 104-page paperback, 8 x 10 inches, published in 2023 by the Clark Art Institute / ISBN 9780300269697


The first monographic publication in English on German Expressionist artist and architect Paul Goesch, who long struggled with—and was persecuted and ultimately murdered for—his schizophrenia

Paul Goesch (1885–1940) produced one of the most inventive, peculiar, and poignant bodies of work to emerge from Weimar Germany. An artist and architect, he made both fanciful figurative drawings and visionary architectural designs. The latter, from the extensive holdings of the Centre for Canadian Architecture in Montreal, are the focus of this publication, the first in English dedicated to Goesch.

Amid the aftermath of First World War, a generation of young architects sketched their visions for utopia. Goesch stands out among them for his formal range, his kaleidoscopic color sense, and his playful and pluralistic embrace of architectural history, as well as for his long struggles with schizophrenia, a condition for which he was institutionalized and ultimately murdered by the Nazis.

This publication highlights the decorative portals and archways that predominate in Goesch’s work. These represent the artist’s metaphysical passages, as a spiritualist steeped in diverse religious and esoteric beliefs, and his altered psychological states. They also suggest Goesch’s liminal status between art and architecture, “sanity” and “madness,” the trained insider and the institutionalized “outsider.” Celebrated in his time and since forgotten, Goesch is presented here in the context of period discussions on art, architecture, and mental health.

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