Emil Nolde: Young Lady (1913) – colour lithography on Japanese paper

The collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of controversial art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, has been exhibited for the first time, part in Bern and part in Bonn. What makes the collection unique – quite apart from its controversial origin, put together from German museums that were told to remove what the Nazis considered ‘degenerate art’(Entartete Kunst) and from private collectors that may well have been forced to sell their art works in oreder to survive under the Nazi regime –  what makes this unique is that all of these works have been hidden from view for a very long time, and are now for the first time in living memory exhibited again. The works were discovered only in 2012, when Cornelius Gurlitt was investigated for tax fraud, and were then confiscated to make sure that any stolen works could be returned to their rightful owners, or descendants.

the museum in Bonn

The two exhibitions are quite different. In Bern the focus is on the Entartete Kunst, a fabulous assortment of Die Brucke and Die Blaue Reiter artists, and others that displeased the regime; our favourites August Macke and Emil Nolde, but also Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer and many more. The Bonn exhibition looks more at the background of the collection, and the ways Hildebrand Gurlitt put it together. The presentation of art works here is broader, also contains ‘unquestioned’ art, and quite a few older works by, for instance, Tiepolo, Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Drurer, as well as 20th Century pieces, including some fabulous Edvard Munch and Max Lieberman works.

Most of it is, by its nature as art gallery collection, accessible, with which I mean that you could, conceivably, buy these works – if you have enough money – and hang them at home; there are no, or not many, large oil paintings, most of it is gouache, water colour, lithography and drawings on paper. Which makes this such an interesting collection.

This glimpse is just to whet your appetite: the two exhibitions close in March 2018. But they will be traveling, and pop up in other places, too. Go and see them, if you can. And buy the catalogue, which not only shows even more works than those exhibited, but also tells the story of Hildebrand Gurlitt, the collection, and its treatment since its discovery.

(March 2018)

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Two Models (ca 1907/08) – black & colour chalk on paper

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Stadtbahnbogen in Berlin (1915) – colour lithography on paper

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Man with Hat (unknown) – watercolour and colour chalk on paper

Max Hermann Pechstein: Drying Sails (1919) – watercolour on paper

Otto Mueller: Lying Female Nude at the Water (unknown) – watercolour on paper

Emil Nolde: Discussion (1913) – lithography and colour pencil on paper

Emil Nolde: Landscape with Clouds (unknown) – watercolour on Japanese paper

August Macke: Children with Dog (1913) – watercolour on paper

August Macke: Lady in Carriage (1913) – black and colour ink on carton

August Macke: Two Girls and a Rider (1913) – watercolour and graphite on paper

August Macke: Southern Park (1914) – black ink on paper

August Macke: In the Castle Garden of Oberhofen (1914) – watercolour and graphite on paper

Otto Dix: Schutze vom Infanterieregiment 103 (unknown) – pastel and black chalk on wrapping paper

and another unpatriotic war painting from Otto Dix: Gas mask (1916) – gouache on wrapping paper

Oskar Schlemmer: Female Stairs (1925/28) – watercolour and graphite on paper

Conrad Felixmuller: Couple in Landscape (1921) – gouache on paper

George Grosz: Cafe (1916) – ink on paper

Otto Griebel: Woman with Veil (1926) – gouache on paper

Bernhard Kretzschmar: Streetcar (unknown) – watercolour and ink on paper

Edvard Munch: Alley (1895) – lithography on paper

Edvard Munch: Reclining Half-Nude I (1924) – lithography on paper

Georges Henri Rouault: Two Reclining Nudes (1924) – gouache, charcoal and pastel on paper

Erich Heckel: Handstand (1916) – lithography and watercolour on paper

Max Liebermann: Figures at the Seaside (unknown) – pastel on paper

Max Liebermann: Beach Chairs (unknown) – pastel on paper

Max Liebermann: Wannsee Garden (unknown) – pastel on paper

Tagged with →  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *