This exhibition presents outstanding French prints from 1650 to 1715, an era in which the magnificence of Absolutism reached its climax. During the reign of Louis XIV, a principal task of the fine arts was to spread the glory and splendour of the Sun King as a statesman, general and patron far beyond the borders of his own country. Prints were especially suited to this purpose. They were easy to transport; they could be produced in great numbers; they were sold individually or sumptuously bound together, and they could unequivocally serve political aspriations. Engravings after paintings in the King’s collections, views of his palaces, and images of his military victories advanced them to highly respected prestige objects.
In 1660, Louis XIV freed engravers from the restrictions of the guild system and elevated them to the rank of free artists. In 1663 they were allowed to enter the Royal Academy, which provided standardized training and thereby ensured an extraodinarily high level of technical skills. The precision and inventiveness of engravers such as Gérard Edelinck, Robert Nanteuil, Pierre Drevet and Jean Audran, who used subtle graduated tonality, sophisticated lighting, and eleborately worked surfaces, contributed significantly to forming a French style that set the standard for later printmaking.
The engraver Anton Würth (*1957), who has explored the aesthetic quality of 17th century French engravings in depth, has been invited to make a guest contribution.
Fig.: Gérard Edelinck (1640–1707), The Battle of Anghiari, after a sketch by Peter Paul Rubens, after the lost fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, etching, 50 x 64 cm, © Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen / Photo: Karen Blindow
On the occassion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), the Kunsthalle Bremen presents masterpieces from its excellent collection by the French sculptor. These include Rodin's radically reastistic figure of John the Baptist (1878-1880) and the smaller cast of three figures from his famous sculpture The Burghers of Calais (1889), which, like the figure of John, were commissioned directly from the artist by the Kunstverein Bremen. Rodin's figures will be joined by contemporary photographs by Candida Höfer (*1944): For her 2000 cycle Douze-Twelve, she photographed all twelve casts of Rodin's The Burghers of Calais at their place of installations around the world.
The exhibition is part of an international series of events and presentations on the life and work of Rodin. The Musée Rodin is publishing all events around the world celebrating Rodin as the pioneer of Modern Art on its online plattform rodin100.org
Fig.: Auguste Rodin, John the Baptist, 1878-80, bronze, 2 x 0,82 x 1,14 m, © Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen / Photo: Lars Lohrisch
In the history of 20th century German art, Franz Radziwill (1895 1983) is considered to be a lone wolf. His work is highly distinctive. This exhibition will explore for the first time his relationship to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen: he spent the formative years of his childhood and youth in Bremen, a fact that left its mark throughout his entire œuvre.
During his lifetime, Radziwill captured on paper and canvas typical places, distinctive buildings and important events of his native city. With around forty works dating from 1910 to 1960 the exhibition traces his development from early Expressionist works and masterpieces of New Objectivity and Magic Realism to the fantastical inventions of his mature œuvre. At the same time, the show provides an exciting look at the history of Bremen – with depictions of the Walle water tower, the gasometer with the red and white pattern of the Bremen flag, and the Bremen express steam boat as symbols of Hanseatic success.
Even as a young man Radziwill had contact with the Kunsthalle Bremen, exhibiting there in 1919. In a final act, he cemented his relationship to the museum by donating a painting in 1982.
Fig.: Franz Radziwill, The Colourful Gasometer, 1960, oil on canvas, 99 x 109 cm, E.ON Art Collection, Essen / Photo: Maurice Cox, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Electronic painting, new ways of capturing movement, abstract experimentation with light: The Kunsthalle Bremen holds an outstanding collection of many different media artworks. These include works by Zero pioneer Otto Piene and John Cage’s sound installation Writing through the Essay ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ (1985/91). Numerous works such as Video Synthesizer (1962/92) and Participation TV Audio (1998/2000) by Nam June Paik, the father of video art, underscore the significance of the collection.
In addition to these leading figures in media art, the Kunsthalle Bremen is presenting an extensive exhibition from its holdings including pieces by diverse artists which have not been seen for decades. These include works by Peter Campus, Christian Jankowski, Diana Thater, Simon Starling, Bill Viola and Wolf Vostell.
Fig.: Otto Piene, Proliferation of the Sun (Detail), 1966/67, Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Fernando Bryce, who was born in Lima in 1965 and now lives and works in New York, has long been one of South America’s leading contemporary artists. In his group of works he reflects on international and geopolitical events of the twentieth century. He culls archives for print material which he then reproduces using his own slower method of ink-on-paper drawings. He is less interested in reconstructing history than in revealing ideologically-loaded imagery and the power strategies used in print media and films. This exhibition presents his most recent cycle, which explores Bremen’s colonial history and the its colonial revisionist tendencies after 1914.
The exhibiton is made possible by the Supporter’s Circle for Contemporary Art at the Kunstverein Bremen. Since 1971, the Supporter’s Circle has funded one exhibition of contemporary art each year and assists in the acquisition of works of art. The exhibition series has set benchmarks in art: The Gerhard Richter exhibition in 1973 was followedby by presentations of works by Antoni Tàpies, Andy Warhol, Emil Schumacher, Georg Baselitz, Isa Genzken, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Norbert Schwontkowski, William Kentridge, Sarah Morris, Andreas Slominski, Thomas Hirschhorn, and most recently Mary Reid Kelley.
Fig.: Fernando Bryce, To The Civilized World, 2013/14, Detail from a series of 97 drawings, ink on paper, courtesy of the Artist & Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen was a flourishing centre of rapidly growing international trade relations. It benefited both from colonial expansion and from mass overseas emigration. This global interdependence also left its mark on the Kunstverein in Bremen which was founded in 1823; one that has remained unexplored until now. A research and exhibition project sponsored by the Federal Cultural Foundation focuses for the first time on investigating these complex colonial relationships. It links the history of the Kunstverein in Bremen to that of the city’s trading history and examines works by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Emil Nolde and Fritz Behn among others in light of their colonial context. The blind spots which are illuminated as a result explore the depiction and treatment of all things foreign during the colonial period. The exhibition creates a dialog between the Eurocentric view of the Kunsthalle Bremen’s collection and non-European positions in art.
Fig.: Emil Nolde, Head of a Man, 1913/14, watercolour on Japanpaper, 48,2 x 34,7 cm, Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen / Photo: Lars Lohrisch, © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll
Max Beckmann (1884–1950) was fascinated by the world of the theater, the circus and music halls as metaphorical settings for human relationships and world affairs. In his œuvre, one finds numerous paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures which allude directly to these subjects and convey his idea of the world as a stage. This exhibition focuses extensively on the imagery and history of ideas in Beckmann’s “world theater” and illustrates how the painter and author of two hitherto neglected dramas viewed himself as a “theater manager, director, and scene-shifter.” The core of the exhibition is formed by the extensive holdings of the Kunsthalle Bremen, which posseses one of the largest Beckmann collections in Germany including paintings and a nearly complete collection of the artist’s printed works. It is supplemented by loans from major German and international museums and private collections.
The exhibition will be held in cooperation with the new Museum Barberini in Potsdam and will be on display there from 23 February to 10 June 2018.
Fig.: Max Beckmann, Apache Dance, 1938, oil on canvas, 171,50 x 151 cm, Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen / Photo: Lars Lohrisch, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
For many decades, the Jürgen Ponto Stiftung has promoted artistic talent in Germany. Since 2011, it directly supports talented artists away from metropolitan centres in a different region each year.
Through this program four artists from Bremen and its surroundings will present their work in the Kunsthalle Bremen. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue. Artists are proposed by then experts from the city and the region. From these applicants, the jury nominates four artists to present their works in the exhibition. Jury members are Prof. Dr. Christoph Grunenberg (Director of the Kunsthalle Bremen), Karin Hollweg (Bremen collector and patroness of young artists) and Ingrid Mössinger (member of the Board of Trustees for the Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung, Director of the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz).
Subject to modifications!