Franz Roh

1890–1965

Franz Roh, 'Masks Survive' c.1938
Masks Survive c.1938
© The estate of Franz Roh
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Biography

Franz Roh (21 February 1890 – 30 December 1965), was a German historian, photographer, and art critic. He is perhaps best known for his 1925 book Nach Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus: Probleme der neuesten europäischen Malerei ("After expressionism: Magical Realism: Problems of the newest European painting") he coined the term magic realism.

Roh was born in Apolda (in present-day Thuringia), Germany. He studied at universities in Leipzig, Berlin, and Basel. In 1920, he received his Ph. D. in Munich for a work on Dutch paintings of the 17th century. As a photographer and critic, he absolutely hated photographs that were to be like a painting, charcoal, or drawings. During the Nazi regime, he was isolated and briefly put in jail for his book Foto-Auge (Photo-Eye); he used his jail time he used to write the book Der Verkannte Künstler: Geschichte und Theorie des kulturellen Mißverstehens ("The unrecognized artist: history and theory of cultural misunderstanding"). After the war, in 1946, he married art historian Juliane Bartsch. He died in Munich.

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