Nollendorfplatz at Night by Lesser Ury

In this episode, we’ll be taking a closer look at Nollendorfplatz at Night, the 1925 painting by Lesser Ury at the Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie in Germany. Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me, Anthony King.

As always, I take all the photos and videos myself on location, ensuring you get an up-close and personal view of the fascinating world of art and culture. I’ll be popping in and out with commentary as this video progresses but for now let’s take a close up look.

Leo Lesser Ury, born on November 7, 1861, was a German painter and printmaker associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. He spent much of his artistic life in Berlin and passed away on October 18, 1931.

Known for capturing modern city life early on in Germany, Ury painted scenes like rainy streets, busy cafes, and various urban activities. He used postcards and photos, often from Paris, to study the details of city landscapes, aiming for a realistic touch with added bright lights.

Despite a tough start at his first exhibition in 1889, Ury gained support from Adolph Menzel, earning recognition from the Akademie. Before we proceed just a few words on Menzel. A few days back I introduced you to the The Dinner at the Ball oil on canvas painting from 1878. Menzel, a German Realist artist, distinguished himself in drawings, etchings, and paintings. Regarded as one of the pre-eminent German painters of the 19th century, Menzel achieved unparalleled success in his era – make sure to go and watch that video if you missed it.

Back to Ury though. He joined the Munich Secession in 1893 and returned to Berlin in 1901. Exhibiting with the Berlin Secession in 1915 and 1922, Ury’s reputation grew, and demand for his impressionistic landscapes and interiors increased.

Notable for his depictions of nocturnal scenes and rain-soaked streets, Ury’s legacy was marred by his habit of creating quick, inferior copies of his own works for commercial gain while keeping the originals. Nevertheless, his critical acclaim endured.

In his later years, Ury, a private and distrusting individual, became more reclusive, ironically just like his mentor Adolph Menzel.

By Anthony King (c)