At the age of 15, Carl Marx began an apprenticeship as a decoration painter in Dessau that he completed in 1929. He also attended drawing classes at the evening school at this time. During his apprenticeship, he joined the Socialist Worker’s Youth and travelled as an artisan through Switzerland and Austria between 1929 and 1931. Right after his return, he went to the Bauhaus Dessau in 1932. He initially attended the preliminary course with Josef Albers here and received instruction from Wassily Kandinsky and Joost Schmidt. In addition, he took courses taught by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Hinnerk Scheper. After the Bauhaus moved to Berlin, he was in the workshop for advertising, typography and printing with Joost Schmidt, as well as in the photography department with Walter Peterhans.
After the end of the war, he returned to Dessau and initially was involved in the attempts to revive the Bauhaus. Starting in 1947, Marx worked as a freelance painter and gradually found his way to his own artistic style.
In the 1950s,he created architecture-related works – often together with his colleagues. Marx could only count on a solid circle of fans for his art starting in the 1960s and he was rarely offered opportunities for exhibitions. He belonged to the outsiders of the art scene in the former GDR. The life of the eccentric and simultaneously fun-loving/amiable artist was characterised by the situation of a self-imposed “counterlife.” Marx found his models at Dessau’s baths in green surroundings – preferably in summer when the atmosphere came close to his imagination of a better life in sensuous and relaxed human relationships.
The Galerie Moritzburg in Halle dedicated a first individual exhibition to Carl Marx in 1971. From this time on, his pictures also increasingly reached the public collections. The largest retrospective to date took place at the Bauhaus Dessau in 1986 for Marx’s 75th birthday.
Hütt, Wolfgang: Carl Marx, Dresden, 1978.
Hütt, Wolfgang (Ed.): Ergötzliche Briefe des Dessauer Malers Carl Marx an Wolfgang Hütt (Delightful Letters by the Dessau Painter Carl Marx to Wolfgang Hütt). Halle, 2002.