Professor Hanns Theodor Flemming with the young artist Karl Kueffel
Hanns Theodor Flemming (1915 - 2005 born in Hamburg) was a famous German art historian and art critic.
Flemming was raised in a home where art was truly appreciated. His father Max Leon Flemmig, who grew up in the Rhineland area, was a patron of the arts and collector whose collection included works by Picasso, Chagall, Marc, Macke and Kandinsky. Flemming’s sister Evelinde Manon became a well-known photographer.
Hanns Theodor Flemming studied art history, archeology and English at the universities in Munich, Heidelberg, Hamburg and Oxford. In 1945, he began working as an editor for the broadcast station Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR) in Hamburg. In 1954, he received his Ph. D. at the Free University of Berlin for his thesis about Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English Pre-Raphaelite.
Flemming worked as an art critic for the German daily newspaper Die Welt since 1946. He was affiliated with the paper for decades and may have written well over 6,000 articles. He also wrote articles for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Tagesspiegel, as well as exhibition reports for numerous national and international art publications. In 1951, he co-founded the German division of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) with Bruno E. Werner, Franz Roh, Will Grohmann and Carl Linfert. He became the executive director one year later and was elected Vice President in 1958.
Apart from his journalistic and scientific work, Flemming also worked as a lecturer from 1959 to 1981. He taught art history, initially at the National School of Fashion and later at the Department of Design at the Technical College Hamburg.
Numerous young artists may well thank Flemming for mentioning them early. He was the first to report about Bernard Schultze, Paul Wunderlich and Horst Janssen, but he also met with Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Max Beckmann and Joseph Beuys. “Hanns Theodor Flemming was omnipresent in research and education, at vernissages and all publications to do with art […]”. He published books about Ewald Mataré, Henry Moore, Otto Mueller and Bruno Bruni.
At the age of 89, Hanns Theodor Flemming died in 2005 at his home in Reinbek near Hamburg. His literary estate is preserved at the German Art Archives at the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg.