Richter’s Unfinished Vision: The House at the Last Lantern

Richter's Unfinished Vision (Hans Richter)

Lanny Quarles stumbled upon a rare collection of stills from Hans Richter’s unfinished film, “The House at the Last Lantern.” This discovery is important, as it may be the only example of a Dadaist horror film.

Richter, a Berlin-born artist and filmmaker, was a prominent figure in the Dada movement. His film was intended to be a parody of Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” and a biographical tale of Gustav Meyrink’s life.

The House at the Last Lantern (Hans Richter)

Richter was a pioneer in avant-garde filmmaking, believing that film could bridge the gap between art forms. He wrote, “Painting and film have their own peculiar problems and specific sensations, but there are also problems where the dividing line is obliterated, and the two infringe upon each other.” Richter’s goal was to bring experimental art to the masses, away from the confines of museums.

As a member of the Association of Revolutionary Artists, Richter was forced to flee Nazi Germany and emigrated to the United States. He taught filmmaking in New York and later retired to Switzerland.

His unfinished film, “The House at the Last Lantern,” remains a fascinating footnote in the history of Dadaist cinema. Despite its incomplete status, the film’s stills offer a brief look at  Richter’s innovative vision, blurring the lines between art and film.