A painter, commercial artist, designer of fabrics and teacher, Karl Hagedorn was born in Berlin, and after initial education in Germany Hagedorn settled in England in 1905, training in textile production. He attended Manchester School of Technology and the city’s School of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art in London and in Paris, where he was in the school run by Maurice Dennis. The cubist and futurist influences acquired in Paris profoundly affected Hagedorn’s work, as shown in the Society of Modern Painters, Manchester, 1913-16; the impact of his pictures in a provincial city, before his work became more conventional, was covered in Manchester’s first modernist Karl Hagedorn exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1994. Hagedorn became naturalised at the outbreak of World War I, during which time he served in the army producing war pictures. He showed widely in Paris and was a member of the Salon D’Automne, he was the honorary treasurer of the RBA and showed at the Fine Art Society, AAA, NEAC, RI and elsewhere. He did commercial work for the Empire Marking Board, Shell, and Radio Times. The British Museum, V & A and Manchester City Art Gallery hold his work.
"As a painter he was distinguished by an attractive gravity of style, reflecting a thoughtful temperament. His work was very carefully designed, contained in feeling and executed with simple directness. Generally he preferred landscapes containing buildings and shipping in which rhythm of line gave opportunities to his powers of draughtsmanship ... Hagedorn's German origin could be traced in his work in seriousness of mood and thoroughness in execution."
Obituary, The Times, 1st April, 1969