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Caspar Neher: 1897-1962

caspar neher and signature


11 April 1897
Rudolf Ludwig Caspar Neher was born to Karl Wilhelm, a school teacher, and Maria Wilhelmine Neher in Augsburg.

September 1909
Neher enters the St Anna Humanistisches Gymnasium.

1910
His first attemps at play-writing.

September 1911
Neher moves to the Real-Gymnasium and is put in the same class (IVb) as Bertolt Brecht.

1914
Neher enters the Arts Institute in Munich.

2 August 1914
Germany enters the First World War.

21 June 1915
Neher volunteers for the army and is called up.

24 August 1915
Neher's unit serves in the battle of the Somme.

14 April 1917
Neher is buried alive and evacuated to hospital in Alsaces.

June-July 1917
Neher is in Augsburg and Munich, where he sees the annual art exhibition at the Glaspalast.

4 August 1917
Neher is back to his unit stationed at Verdun. Regular corresponces from Brecht, while Neher also sends drawings to Brecht.

2 February 1918
Neher, now an officer, is awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class.

March 1918
Brecht writes to Neher about the death of Frank Wedekind and about a new project about Villon.

9 November 1918
"November Revolution" in Germany. Abdication of Kaiser William II. Proclamation of Bavarian Soviet Republic.

11 November 1918
Germany signs the armistice on the Western Front. And Neher's unit begins homecoming.

5-11 January 1919
Spartacist Rising in Berlin.

16 January 1919
Neher is admitted at the Munich Academy.

February 1919
Neher is discharged by the army. He also provides drawings for Baal.

20 February 1919
Counter-revolutionary troops take over Augsburg.

2 May 1919
Fall of the Munich Soviet. Gustav Landauer and Levine murdered, Toller jailed.

May 1919
Brecht submits Baal to Musarion-Verlag, with Neher's sketches.

2 August 1919
Neher is godfather to Brecht and Banholzer's son Frank.

February 1920
Lion Feuchtwanger has shown Neher's drawings to Passeti, chief designer to the Bavarian State Theatre, and to Otto Falckenberg, director of the Munich Kammerspiele.

February-March 1921
Neher makes designs for Drums in the Night and collaborates with Brecht on a film story about pirates.

Spring-Summer 1921
Further work on Galgeiand another film story, Three in a Tower.

1922
Neher and Erika Tornquist get engaged. Neher decides to concentrate on stage design. Also receives his first contract with the Munich Kammerspiele.

Summer 1922
Neher's design for Drums in the Night is rejected by the Munich Kammerspiele.

1February 1923
Kleist's Kätchen von Heilbronn under Jürgen Fehling opens at the Berlin Staatstheater, with Neher's design.

9 May 1923
Brecht'sIn the Jungle under Erich Engel opens at the Munich Residenz-Theater, with sets and costume by Neher.

18 August 1923
Neher gets married with Erika Tornquist in Graz, Austria.

September 1923
Work on Life of Edward II, also illustrations for its publication by Kiepenheuer.

18 March 1924
Life of Edward II directed by Brecht opens at the Munich Kammerspiele. Set and costume by Neher.

September 1924
Moves to Berlin. Felix Hollander of the Deutsches Theater engages Neher on a two-year contract, while Brecht also joins as dramaturg.

14 October 1924
Birth of Neher's son Georg.

29 October 1924
In the Jungel, under Engel, opens at the Deutsches Theater, with sets and costume by Neher.

27 February 1925
Erich Engel directs Shakespeare's Coriolanus, with Fritz Kortner in the title role, opens at the Lessing Theater. Sets and costume by Neher. Brecht also attends the rehearsals.

Summer 1925
Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition at Mannheim provides the name for the general trend towards sbriety and functionalism in the arts.

20 October 1925
Klabund's Kreidekreis, under Max Reinhardt's direction, opens at the Deutsches Theater, with Elisabeth Bergner in the lead and sets by Neher.

8 January 1926
The Deutsches Theater's Lysistrata under Erich Engel's direction opens, with Neher's design.

14 February 1926
Baal is staged by Brecht at the Deutsches Theater for a single performance, with Neher's design.

25 September 1926
The premiere of Man equals Man, directed by Jacob Geis with sets by Neher at the Darmstadt Landestheater.

[In 1926, Neher also joins the staff of the Staatlichen Schauspielhaus Berlin and the tenure ends in 1934. Also designs for Erich Engel's Staatsthater production of Wedekind's two Lulu plays and Leopold Jesser's Hamlet with modern dress at the same theatre.]

July 1927
Mahagonny Songspiel at Baden-Baden.

Autumn 1927
Neher joins Essen City Theatres as head of desgin.

15 October 1927
Elsa Lasker-Schüler's Die Wupper directed by Jürgen Fehling opens at the Staatstheater, with Neher's design.

5 January 1928
Man Equals Man is staged by Erich Engel at the Berlin Volksbühne with Neher's design.

12 June 1928
Staatstheater presents Lion Feuchtwanger's Kalkutta 4 Mai directed by Erich Engel and designed by Neher.

Summer 1928
Neher joins Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann in preparation of the premiere of The Threepenny Opera.

31 October 1928
The Kroll Oper (headed by Otto Klemperer) stages Carmen, directed by Ernst Legal and designed by Neher.

November 1928
Neher and Kurt Weill are both involved in the premiere of Lion Feuchtwanger's Die Petroleuminseln directed by Jürgen Fehling at the Staatstheater.

Spring 1929
Neher designs for Lampel's Giftgas über Berlin and Marieluise Fleißer's Pioniere in Ingolstadt.

12 April 1929
Rudolf Wagner-Régeny's opera Moschopoulos opens at Essen with sets by Neher.

31 August 1929
Happy End opens at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, with sets by Neher.

September 1929
Neher begins a contract with Volksbühne. He also designs a triple bill of operas by Ravel, Milhaud, and Ibert for the Kroll Oper. Alexander Zemlinsky conducts and Gustav Gründgens directs.

22 January 1930
Man Equals Man opens at Essen Stadttheater.

9 March 1930
Premiere of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Neues Theater in Leipzig. Neher makes the projections.

Summer 1930
Neher designs the costumes for G. W. Pabst's film treatment of The Threepenny Opera.

6 February 1931
Brecht directs Man Equals Man at the Staatstheater, with Neher's set.

29 May 1931
Leos Janácek's From the House of the Dead opens at the Kroll Oper.

21 December 1931
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny opens at Theater am Kurfürstendamm. Neher and Brecht codirects.

17 January 1932
The Mother opens at the Komödienhaus.

10 March 1932
Premiere of the opera Die Bürgschaft, music by Kurt Weill and libretto by Neher, at Stadtische Oper. The production is conducted by Fritz Stiedry and directed by Carl Ebert with designs by Neher.

28 September 1932
Verdi's Ballo in Maschera opens at the Stadtische Oper, directed by Carl Ebert and designed by Neher.

December 1932
Hans Curjel stages a shortened version of Mahagonny at th Salle Gaveau in Paris, with Neher's sets.

22 December 1932
At the Volksbühne, Heinz Hilpert stages Oliver Cromwell's Sendung by the nationalist playwright Walter Gilbrecht, with Neher's design.

18 February 1933
Kurt Weill's opera (libretto by Georg Kaiser) Silver Lake opens  at the Altes Theater in Leipzig. Directed by Sierck and designed by Neher.

27 February 1933
After the Reichstag Fire, Neher drives the Weills to Paris.

13 April 1933
The Threepenny Opera opens at the Empire Theatre in New York. Neher's design is realized by Cleon Thjrockmorton.

7 June 1933
The Seven Deadly Sins opens in
Paris. Neher designs the set and the costumes. Afterwards, Neher returens to Germany.
** The Seven Deadly Sins by Nils Grosch. deutsch.

27 November 1933
Neher designs a production for the Volksbühne. Subsequently, Neher begins to work under the Nazi restrictions, mainly in Frankfurt am Main, with directors Oskar Wälterlin and Walter Felsenstein, and Düsseldorf.

Autumn 1934
Neher works on his libretto for Rudolf Wagner-Regény's opera Der Günstling.

20 February 1935
Der Günstling opens at Dresden Opera. Karl Böhm conducts and Josef Gielen directs, with sets by Neher.

1937
Neher designs for the Dresden Opera and the Hamburg Schauspielhaus besides his work at Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

26 March 1937
Erich Engel directs Coriolanus at the Deutsches Theater, with music by Rudolf Wagner-Regény and sets by Neher.

Autumn 1937
The Intendant of the Deutsches Theater, Heinz Hilpert, engages Neher as a regular designer. (Tenure ends in 1944.)

28 February 1938
Erich Engel directs The Tempest at the Deutsches Theater, with Neher's design.

31 May 1938
Carl Ebert stages Verdi's Macbeth at Glyndebourne in London, with sets by Neher.

28 January 1939
Rudolf Wagner-Regény's opera Die Bürger von Calais (libretto by Neher) is staged at the Berlin Staatsoper. Herbert von Karajan conducts and Neher designs.

6 April 1939
Erich Engel directs Othello at the Deutsches Theater, with Neher's design.

7 October 1939
Erich Engel directsTwelfth Night at the Deutsches Theater, with music by Rudolf Wagner-Regény and sets by Neher.

19 December 1940
Neher collaborates with the director Oskar Fritz Schuh on La Traviata by Verdi at the Vienna Opera.

4 April 1941
Rudolf Wagner-Regény's opera Johanna Balk, under Oskar Fritz Schuh's direction, opens at the Vienna Opera. Leopold Ludwig conducts and Neher designs.

October 1942
Neher designs Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for the Hamburg Opera.

1943
Neher works on the libretto for Der Darmwäscher for Rudolf Wagner-Regény.

25 August 1944
Nazi closes all German theatres.

November 1944
Neher is drafted  first to various airfields and then to the Air Ministry film service.

Spring 1945
Neher moves to Hamburg.

19 April 1946
The Zürich Schauspielhuas stages Mother Courage, directed by Leopold Lindtberg with sets by Neher.

Summer 1946
After turning down Hamburg's offer for a long term contract, Neher is now engaged at the Zürich Schauspielhaus, under Oskar Wälterlin.

Autumn 1946
Brecht writes to Neher from California.

14 December 1946
Carl Zuckmayer's The Devil's General premiers at the Zürich Schauspielhaus, directed by Heinz Hilpert with set design by Neher.

6 January 1947
Ernst Ginsberg stages Fear and Miserry of the Third Reich in Basel, with projections by Neher.

January-February 1947
Neher designs Verdi's Rigoletto for the Cambridge Theatre in London. Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes at La Scala, Milan.

6 August 1947
Oskar Fritz Schuh produces the opera Danton's Death by Gottfried von Einem, with Ferenc Fricsay conducting and Neher designing, at the revived Salzburg Festival.

5 November 1947
Brecht arrives in Zürich.

15 February 1948
Antigone opens at the Chur Stadttheater headed by Hans Curjel. Neher and Brecht co-directs.

Spring 1948
Discussion with Brecht on the satirical revue project, Ares' Chariot. Also discussions on Mr. Puntila and His Man Matti scheduled in June at the Zürich Schauspielhaus.

Summer 1948
Neher adapts the old Felsenretschule for opera productions.

Autumn 1948
Neher is granted Austrian citizenship.

22 April 1949
Harry Buckwitz directs the  revised version of  The Threepenny Opera at the Munich Kammerspiele, using Neher's designs.

Summer 1949
Works on The Magic Flute and Carl Orff's Antigonae at the Salzburg Festival. Brecht recruits Neher as head of design for the Berliner Ensemble.

8 November 1949
Mr. Puntila and His Man Matti inaugurates the Berliner Ensemble with Neher's sets.

December 1949
Works on The Tutor.

January 1950
Works on the DEFA film version of Mother Courage. Also designs for The Mother for a Leipzig production.

February 1950
Designs for Puntila for Dresden.

November 1950
Works on the Berliner Ensemble's production of  The Mother. The projections are done by John Heartfield and Wieland Herzfeld.

January 1951
Designs for the Paul Dessau opera Lucullus.

End of 1951
Neher attends rehearsals of Puntila at the Berliner Ensemble. Curt Bois has taken over the lead.

Beginning of 1952
Verdi's La Forza del Destino opens in Vienna and Alban Berg's Wozzeck in London. Both with design by Neher. Also works on Urfaust at the Berliner Ensemble (the designer is Hainer Hill).

February 1952
Neher starts working on drawings for Coriolanus for the Berliner Ensemble.

28 March 1952
Neher is appalled by the conservatism of Kremlin Chimes at the Berliner Ensemble with designs by John Heartfield.

November 1952
Neher dissociates himself from working in East Berlin.

Autumn 1953
Oskar Fritz Schuh, now Artistic Director of the West Berlin Volksbühne, engages Neher as a regular designer.

May 1954
Appointed head of design at the Munich Kammerspiele under Hans Schweikart.
[Berliner Ensemble now moves in Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, with Karl von Appen as its principal designer.]

June 1955
Works on The Good Person of Setzuan for the Zürich Schauspielhaus.

December 1955
Neher, Brecht and Erich Engel prepares for Life of Galieo.

February 1956
Sam Wanamaker also produces The Threepenny Opera at the Royal Court Theatre in London (besides Strehler in Milan), with designs by Neher.

March 1956
Neher designs for Erwin Piscator's production of Danton's Death (Georg Büchner) for the Schiller Theater.

November 1956
Neher resigns from the Salzbur Festival. Neher's old design for Days of the Commune is used at the Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) production without consultation with him.

February 1957
Neher re-signs a contract with the Salzburg Festival.

6 October 1957
Die Bürgschaft is revived by the Berlin Stadtische Oper with Arthur Rother conducting and directed by Carl Ebert.

Spring 1958
Neher becomes Professor of Stage Design at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

January-February 1959
Neher designs Wozzeck and Macbeth for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

30 April 1959
Saint Joan of the Stockyards premieres at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus. Gustav Gründgens directs and Neher designs.

2 April-22 May 1960
Rolf Badenhausen organizes a comprehensive exhibition of Neher's work at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne.

30 June 1962
Neher dies in Vienna.

24 September 1962
Erika Neher dies.

27 March 1963
Der Darmwäscher (now renamed Persische Episode) premieres at Volkstheater Rostock.

Bibliography Selected Bibliography:

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