Celebration Monet to Van Gogh   07.10.2023 – 18.02.2024

Celebration: Monet to Van Gogh

The Kunstverein in Bremen is celebrating its 200th anniversary with masterpieces from French painting. The focus is on a particularly splendid period at the beginning of the twentieth century when the Kunsthalle director Gustav Pauli turned it into one of the leading museums of modern art in Germany. He was supported by major Bremen collectors who will be recognized for the first time.

Bremen and French modern art
During Bremen’s commercial success in the late nineteenth century, the Kunstverein gained new momentum. In 1899, Pauli, the first director of the Kunsthalle (1899–1914) with an academic background, began to develop the progressive acquisition policy to which the museum owes its most famous works. Beginning in 1905, Pauli purchased masterpieces by Courbet, Rodin, Manet, and the Impressionists. When he acquired Field with Poppies by Vincent van Gogh in 1911, it caused a scandal throughout Germany. The socially explosive nature of this dispute is difficult to imagine today.

The most progressive museum in Germany
Other German museums such as in Berlin, Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Weimar began to collect French art. The directors responsible were frequently subject to fierce criticism – the controversy surrounding French art culminated in the Bremen Van Gogh dispute. Early acquired masterpieces from these major museums will be guests at the Kunsthalle Bremen. They provide an impressive overview of painting from Realism to Post-Impressionism.


The Golden Cloud – private collectors in Bremen
During Pauli’s time, the collection of the Kunsthalle became an inspiration to visitors. Soon, Bremen businessmen also began purchasing French paintings. A circle of art lovers called the Goldene Wolke (the Golden Cloud) formed around the museum director. Members included Leopold Biermann, Alfred Walter Heymel, and Johann Georg and Adele Wolde. Major works by Courbet, Monet, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec from former private collections in Bremen will be presented to the public for the first time in more than one hundred years. These Bremen collectors cultivated a new, modern lifestyle. They had their homes decorated by the poet, designer, and architect Rudolf Alexander Schröder (1878–1962), whose interiors will be documented in the exhibition. His designs contrasted with the historic grandiloquence of the nineteenth century and simultaneously maintained idiosyncratic Bremen characteristics in international Art Nouveau.


Anniversary of the Kunstverein – a celebration of art
The anniversary exhibition celebrates the key role played by Bremen and Germany in the acceptance of French art. Outstanding loans by artists including Courbet, Rodin, Monet, and Van Gogh convey a panorama of French modernism in Germany before World War I. It is also a celebration of light and colour!

The exhibition is under the patronage of the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Accompanying exhibition: Paris on Paper

Accompanying the Celebration exhibition, the Department of Prints and Drawings is showing two important Bremen print collections from around 1900 in the exhibition "Paris on Paper"

Accompanying presentation: Youth for Art

For the fourth time, the Kunsthalle Bremen is cooperating with Youth for Art and making its premises available for this purpose. From 21 October 2023 to 4 February 2024, works by about 40 young artists inspired by the special exhibition will be presented in the South Foyer.

Find information on opening hours and entrance fees here.

Guided Tours

Public Tours:
(in German only) Fri 3 pm, Sun 3 pm
Tickets are available at kunsthalle-bremen.de/tickets or one hour before start of the tour at the museum desk | € 6,- (plus admission fee)

Public Tours Online:
(in German) every first Fri of the month 5 pm
Tickets are available at kunsthalle-bremen.de/tickets | € 6,- per person

Guided Tours and Online Tours for groups:
(available in German, Dutch, English, French and Russian)
€ 80,- (plus admission fee / except for online tours)
€ 90,- on weekends and public holidays (plus admission fee / except for online tours)
from € 50,- for school classes
Information and registration: T +49 (0)421 - 32 908 220 or right here

Exclusive exhibition visit
Enjoy with your guests the Celebration Exhibition exclusively beyond the opening hours!
Please call us – we will be happy to advise you: T +49 (0)421 - 32 908 220

Accompanying Media

Audio Tour/Art Surfer
With your smartphone you can use the digital Art Surfer free of charge. Please bring your own headphones! For the Celebration exhibition, it offers audio tours for adults (German/English) and a children's tour (in German only).
Alternatively, audio guide rental devices can be borrowed for a fee of € 4. For children, the audio guides are free of charge.
All the educational offers and apps included in the Art Surfer can be found at: www.artsurfer.de

Exhibition Catalogue
The catalogue „Geburtstagsgäste – Monet bis van Gogh. Gustav Pauli und der Kampf um die Moderne“ will be published at the start of the exhibition by Wienand Verlag (in German), ca. 280 pages, with essays by Dorothee Hansen, Alexis Joachimides, Alice Gudera, Uwe Schwartz, Katharina Erling, Eva Fischer-Hausdorf and Alexander Pütz.
€ 34 at the museum shop | € 39 at book stores (ISBN 978-3-86832-760-1)

Hotel Package

Bremen Tourism: Package with guided city tour, admission to the Kunsthalle Bremen and voucher for the museum shop
Click here for Bremen Tourism hotel packages

The exhibition is made possible by:

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