Painting and Sculpture 19th and 20th Century

The collection of works from the 19th and 20th centuries in the Painting Gallery firstly concentrated on works by Darmstadt and Hessian painters. They were permanently on show in the Painting Gallery until the Second World War, after which they were only exhibited individually. But now they have a firm place in the new permanent presentation, where they are on display in a gallery of their own. Hessian and Darmstadt painting is particularly distinctive in the first half of the 19th century, at the threshold between Romanticism and Realism, a time when landscape painting and the bourgeoisie portrait blossomed. The influence of the plen air painting, which became widespread in Germany, and realism manifests itself in the second half of the century. 

The collection secondly focuses on major German painters of the second half of the century. Highlights include works by the Symbolist Franz von Stuck, English Victorian painters like John William Waterhouse as well as the famed “Iphigenia” (1862) by Anselm Feuerbach. The fourteen paintings by Arnold Böcklin with the large-scale “Prometheus Landscape” (1885) make up the largest collection in a German museum.
 
The collection’s third focus is devoted to Expressionism and New Objectivity features works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, August Macke and Lyonel Feininger. This group is round off by Max Beckmann’s final painting, “View of San Francisco” (1950).

Examples of post-war art are gathered together according to thematic points of view in the Karl Ströher Wing of the Messel building. The first gallery, which stands under the motto “Everyday Life and Irony”, contrasts two Cologne painters, Sigmar Polke and Martin Kippenberger, both of whom caricature social conditions in their works. Employing very unusual supports, Polke takes a look at West German in the staid 1950s. Kippenberger ironises the status of art in his series of pictures that resemble painted jokes.

The second gallery concentrates on “Reality and Abstraction” with works by Gerhard Richter, who has reflected on the relationship between painting and reality since the 1960s. The works based on black-and-white photos reference photography as the illustration of reality. The abstract works demonstrate the autonomy of painting that creates its own reality.

The third gallery explores the aspects of “Material and Space” based on paintings that, starting the so-called New Realism of the 1960s, expand out into the third dimension. Diverse material or everyday objects serve as picture supports, often resulting in relief-like surfaces with their own intrinsic colours. Artworks consequently evolved into “pictorial bodies in spaces” as Franz Erhard Walther formulated it for his “Darmstadt Configuration” (1999).

The conclusion is made up by Imi Knoebel’s “Room 19/II” (1968/92). Employing abstract minimalist forms, the work reflects on the relationship between painting, sculpture and space, which is always a challenging task for art in general and museums in particular. With the questions it poses, “Room 19/II” brings the context of the previous galleries full circle.

Contact

Dr. Gabriele Mackert
T +49 6151 1657-012

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Anselm Feuerbach, Iphigenia, 1862

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Arnold Böcklin, Prometheus Landscape, 1885

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Eugen Bracht, Shores of Oblivion, 1911

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Max Beckmann, View of San Francisco, 1950. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Sigmar Polke, 1950s, 1963. © Estate of Sigmar Polke, Cologne / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014

Painting and Sculpture 19th – 20th Century

Imi Knoebel, Room 19/II, 1968/92. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014

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