German Expressionist art comes, in a big way, to Los Angeles

The Robert Gore Rifkind Collection of German Expressionist prints, drawings, and illustrated books, perhaps the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world, has been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The collection, consisting of some 5,000 prints and drawings and a cataloged library of over 4,000 volumes, bears the name of the Beverly Hills lawyer who assembled it.

Dr. Earl A. Powell III, director of the museum, says the collection ''allows one to understand the entire German Expressionist movement and its relationship to political, social, economic, and cultural events of the first three decades of this century.''

Dr. Powell added that it will give the museum a significant collection in the area of 20th-century graphic arts.

German Expressionist art had its beginning in 1905 in Dresden with the so-called ''Die Brucke'' group of artists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Although the movement encompassed all forms of art, it particularly took form in the graphic arts.

The prints and drawings will be housed in the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, a specially designed space to be constructed by the museum in conjunction with the Robert O. Anderson Building of 20th Century art, scheduled to open in 1985.

The Rifkind center will include secluded areas for scholars as well as viewing areas for the public.

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