Block, Joseph (1863-1943)

Block, Joseph (1863-1943)

German artist, Josef Block, was an important contributor to the Berlin art scene at the turn of the century. Following his Academy training, his style was rooted in the classical yet also continually evolving.

His Academy tutor, Professor Bruno Piglhein (1845-1894), was a pioneering artist and the first President of a movement known as the Munich Succession. Under Piglhein’s tutelage, Block was encouraged to express through his art yet also retain a sense of order and control.

Inspired by the Munich Succession, Block later co-founded the Berlin Secession, which sought to overcome the restrictive standardised approach of Government-endorsed art. Other members included Edvard Munch and Max Liebermann.

Today, when we look back across Block’s oeuvre, we’re left wondering where most of it now resides. As a Jewish artist, he was forced to sell much of his collection, and the reason for his death in 1943 is still unrecorded.


Born in Bernstadt an der Weide, Prussia. Son of Berthold Block.

Studied at the Breslau Art Academy.

Enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich and studied under Professor Bruno Piglhein.


Founded the Society of Visual Artists, which was to be the basis of the Munich Secession.


Won a medal at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


Married Else Oppenheim.


Moved to Berlin.

Birth of daughter, Anna Luise.


Birth of son, Hugo.


Forced to sell paintings from his collection due to persecution by the nazis. Block was of Jewish heritage. Later, his apartment was seized.


Died in Berlin.

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