Life and work
Eduard Bargheer, the son of Karl Bargheer, a primary school headmaster, grew up together with his elder brother Ernst Bargheer (pedagogue and, later, ethnologist) and his five sisters. His father died in 1914, his mother in 1919. Ernst Bargheer, 24 years old at the time, assumed the guardianship of his younger brother and sisters and virtually forced Eduard to go into training as a primary school teacher. It was during these early years that Eduard Bargheer not only benefited from his artistic training at the college of arts and crafts in Hamburg-Lerchenfeld but also embarked upon his own private studies, which he continued throughout his entire life. In 1924, the two brothers, Ernst and Eduard, fell out with one another, whereupon Eduard, who had always wanted to become a painter, finally got his way.
In 1925, Eduard Bargheer travelled for the first time in his life to Italy, where he spent a long time in Florence. His deep affection for Italy and its culture was to be a life-shaping theme for the rest of his life. Extended travels to Paris then followed in 1926 and 1927. In 1928, Bargheer built himself a studio close to the Westerdeich in Finkenwerder. A year later, in 1929, he became a member of the Hamburg Secession. It was about this time that he became closely involved in the circles around the art historians Aby Warburg and Erwin Panofsky. In 1932/33, Bargheer was able to use a grant from the City of Hamburg for a stay of several months in Paris, where he made friends with Heinrich Heydenreich, a student of Panofsky’s.
In 1933, the Hamburg Secession disbanded of its own accord, for it did not wish to exclude its Jewish members, as demanded by the Nazi party. Bargheer visited Switzerland in 1935 and met Paul Klee there. In the same year he bought a small fisherman’s cottage – now the Bargheer Haus – on the slopes of the Süllberg in Hamburg. Four years later, in 1939, Eduard Bargheer left Germany for Ischia. After the war, Eduard Bargheer took part in documenta I in Kassel in 1955 and in documenta II in 1959.
He was made an honorary citizen of Forio/Ischia in 1948; while still retaining his German nationality, he received Italian citizenship in 1951.
Today Eduard Bargheer is known above all for his landscape watercolours, which are distinguished by a light-coloured, crystalline style. His combinations of the abstract and the figural awaken associations with the works of Paul Klee and Werner Gilles.
- Dieter Honisch (Foreword): 1945 1985. Kunst in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, (Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin), Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-87584-158-1
- Volker Plagemann: Eduard Bargheer, from the series: Hamburger Köpfe, published by the ZEIT Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8319-0324-5