John Nickelsen (1865-1950)

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Cinema Window no. 8 - AUFWIEDERSEHN ! (Goodbye!)

John Nickelsen of the Nordische Kunstanstalt für Glas-Dekoration (Northern Art Institute for Glass Decoration), created for the Hamburger Lichtspielbühne cinema at Steindamm 51 in Hamburg
Hamburg, 1932
172 × 79.8cm
Polychrome moulded and flashed glasses, painted with black vitreous paint and yellow silver stain

Important modernist window, that will invite any visitor to a public or private space to return


This window, together with nine others, constituted part of the lighting scheme for the Hamburg Lichtspielbühne cinema. The windows were arranged on either side of the audience’s rows of seats and were dimmed during the presentation. They survived the bombing of Hamburg in 1943 in the cinema’s cellar. The building was reconstructed after the war, but demolished in 1971.

Together the windows must have constituted a particularly attractive and decorative ensemble, executed during the glory days of glass-painting in Germany in the twentieth century. This was a period during which society and religion were reorienting themselves, and in which glass was celebrated by artists and architects, because through light and translucency it could bring hope for the spiritual renewal of mankind to symbolic expression. Secular space was being raised to the level of the cultic.

Numerous motifs are reminiscent of the works of expressionist artists, such as Johan Thorn Prikker and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert, and the work of the Bauhaus. Furnishing cinemas with windows at that time was also unusual.

Particularly appealing work from the glory days of German glass-painting in the twentieth century, in very good condition.


As an introduction to German glass-painting of the decade before the Second World War, we recommend Maria-Katharina Schulz, Glasmalerei der klassischen Moderne in Deutschland, Europäische Hochschulschriften Reihe 28: Kunstgeschichte, vol. 74, Frankfurt am Main/Bern/New York/Paris, 1987 (ISBN 3-8204-9801-X).

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Biografie John Nickelsen

Stained-glass window, Bauhaus, architectural glass