In cooperation with the Musées d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie in Paris, the Kunsthalle Bremen is presenting the first large retrospective of the French artist Emile Bernard (1868–1941), including his scarcely known late works. On display are first-class loans from the Musée d'Orsay and international collections, as well as from the holdings of Bernard's descendants. Selected works by Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec allow comparisons with his famous contemporaries, with whom he cultivated a close contact and in whose shadows he remained throughout his life: Bernard studied with Toulouse-Lautrec in Paris, he developed symbolic painting with Gauguin in Brittany during 1888, Cézanne inspired him in Aix-en-Provence, and after the death of van Gogh, he championed the cause of his friend.
The exhibition rediscovers this artist and assigns Bernard his rightful place in the history of modern painting. The comprehensive survey of his oeuvre illustrates his diversity and presents him as one of the most innovative, but also most headstrong artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The retrospective follows Bernard's development from the first efforts of the quite young artist past the spectacular innovations in Pont-Aven all the way to his scarcely known late oeuvre.
In Paris the exhibition will be presented from 17 September to 5 January 2015 under the title "Emile Bernard (1868‒1941)" at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
Fig.: Emile Bernard, The Harvest (Breton Landscape), 1888, oil on canvas, 56,4 x 45,1 cm,Paris, Musée d’Orsay, © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
With generous support from:
WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, WESER-KURIER, swb Vertrieb Bremen GmbH
Mobility Partner: Deutsche Bahn
Accompanying exhibition at the Department of Prints and Drawings:
Fig.: Maurice Denis, Hommage à Cézanne, around 1899/1900, gouache on canvas, 178 x 240 cm, Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen / Photo: Lars Lohrisch
Taken from Hebrew and meaning "prophets", the name the 'Nabis' said it all. These rebellious young art students saw themselves as "prophets of modern art" when they banded together at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1888/89 to create art in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard that consciously flouted the laws of nature.
Instead, members of the Nabis, which included Paul Sérusier, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard and Félix Vallotton, focused on radical, subjective means to capture the memory of their experiences through the use of colour and form, although the group never formed its own distinctive style. Maurice Denis, the theorist of the group, expressed the maxim which made the Nabis one of the co-founders of modern art: "Remember that a picture, before being a battle horse, a nude, an anecdote or whatnot, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours in a certain order."
With more than 250 prints, the Kunsthalle Bremen holds the most extensive collection of graphic works by the Nabis outside of France. A selection of 60 of these master prints will be presented around Maurice Denis’ large gouache of his famous programmatic image Hommage à Cézanne.
Photo: Kerstin Rolfes
“You call this art?” or “I could do that too!” are two exclamations which can often be heard in response to abstract or non-objective art. Rightly so? Young children in particular have an unprejudiced point of view and approach such works of art without reservations and fear of contact. They allow themselves to be guided by the play of colours and traces which they can follow in these works of art.
This situation is taken up by a gallery space which is being specially designed for children and families. The exhibition conveys diverse insights and approaches to works of art in which the amorphous and strongly abstracted interplay of form and colour play a predominant role. Visitors to the museum will be surprised by the selection of works. On display will not only be representatives of Modernism, such as Johannes Itten, or of the Informel movement, such as Emil Schumacher, but also pictures from the Renaissance, the Baroque era and the nineteenth century which cause amazement through the abstract forms they contain.
The exhibition is being prepared as part of a new cooperation between the Kunsthalle and KiTa Bremen (day care center) which allows, since November 2013, children from twenty kindergartens and day-care centres to visit the museum. With pedagogical guidance from the museum, the children engage in an active encounter with non-objective or abstract art in an intuitive and creative manner. Their favourite pictures from our collection and their associative responses to them will find a place in the display. “What do YOU See?” is supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation as an ongoing outreach concept by the initiative “Art and Games”.
left: Otto Piene, Salon de lumière, 1961/98, Installation, Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Photo: Lars Lohrisch, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014
right: Portrait Otto Piene by Lothar Wolleh, Photo: Lothar Wolleh © Oliver Wolleh, Berlin
Sarah Morris, Jardim Botânico [Rio], 2013 (Detail), 59,81 m x 4,07 m
© Sarah Morris
The American artist and filmmaker Sarah Morris (* 1967) has created a monumental, panoramic mural for the central entrance hall of the Kunsthalle Bremen. Jardim Botânico [Rio] (“Botanical Garden”) is related to the artist’s new series of works entitled Rio but also reacts to the architecture of the museum. The spectacular installation combines luminous colours and abstract grid structures with rectangular and curved forms to form a spectacular environment. The numerous layers of brilliant pigments and
household enamels give rise to visual rhythms as well as to tactile, almost relief-like structures.
Morris works in the tradition of geometrical painting of modernism as well as of the 1960s with marked references to the oeuvre of Piet Mondrian, the American color field painters, Op Art and Victor Vasarely. She continues this tradition creatively into the future and instils new life into a reduced formal language through her dynamic, intensively colourful compositions. But with the shiny colours of her striking paintings and murals the artist also reflects critically on the illusionary world of Hollywood film and the surface aesthetics of glossy magazines, fashion and advertising.
The exhibition has been realised with the generous support of the Supporters’ Circle for Contemporary Art of the Kunstverein Bremen and the Bremer Landesbank.