Museum Folkwang dedicates the second major exhibition in its anniversary year to the Expressionists. Opening on 19 August
Museum Folkwang is presenting the second major show in its anniversary year, the exhibition Expressionists at Folkwang. Discovered – Defamed – Celebrated (20 August 2022 – 8 January 2023). Among the approximately 250 works on display from the fields of painting, sculpture and graphic art, the exhibition includes international loans such as the painting Doris mit Halskrause (Doris with Ruff Collar) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, which comes from Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Paintings by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Egon Schiele, among others, come from important collections in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and will be united with major works from the Folkwang collection across an exhibition area of 1,400 square metres.
The exhibition Expressionists at Folkwang. Discovered – Defamed – Celebrated tells the chronological history of this revolutionary art movement, focusing in particular on the special relationship between the artists and Museum Folkwang. Thus, the connection between Museum Folkwang and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner spans almost three decades. Kirchner’s works were first shown in 1907 as part of an exhibition of the Brücke artists’ association at Museum Folkwang in Hagen, which was founded in 1902. The first solo exhibition in the artist's career followed there in 1913. For the duration of the exhibition Expressionists at Folkwang, the paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner acquired by the museum's founder Karl Ernst Osthaus will be reunited as far as possible and combined with other works that illustrate the close connection between the artist and the museum. On display are the paintings Doris mit Halskrause (Doris with Ruff Collar), Farbentanz II (Dance of Colours II), Bildnis Oskar Schlemmer (Portrait of Oskar Schlemmer) and Stillleben mit Maske (Still Life with Mask)”, among others, as well as the tapestries Bergleben (Mountain Life) and Zwei Tänzerinnen (Two Dancers).
The partial reconstruction of the collection of works by Egon Schiele at Museum Folkwang is another highlight of the exhibition. Osthaus began acquiring works by the artist in 1911, with a particular focus on his watercolours. In 1912, the museum presented an exhibition of Schiele’s paintings and drawings, the first museum exhibition in the young artist's career. In Expressionists at Folkwang. Discovered – Defamed – Celebrated, Schiele‘s work is shown on the basis of important loans like Selbstbildnis mit gesenktem Kopf (Self-Portrait with Lowered Head), Die kleine Stadt I (Tote Stadt VI) (The Small City I (Dead City VI), Sitzendes Mädchen (Sitting Girl)” and Stehendes Mädchen, das Gesicht mit beiden Händen bedeckend (Standing Girl Covering Her Face with Both Hands).
In addition to the early solo exhibitions of various Expressionist artists, Museum Folkwang also showed group exhibitions of the artist communities Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter. Artists such as Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff took part in the Brücke exhibition in 1910.
Some of the paintings shown in this exhibition are today among the main works of the early style of Brücke, including Schmidt-Rottluff’s Haus am Bahnhof (House at the Railway Station)”, which is on loan from Vienna for the current exhibition. With its early commitment to Expressionism, Museum Folkwang played a pioneering role, which is why Franz Marc described it for the artists’ community Der Blaue Reiter in 1912 as "a museum that is in its way a model of our way of thinking”. In the same year, an exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter was held at the museum, which also featured works by Gabriele Münter. With the paintings “Stillleben (rosa) (Pink Still Life)” and “Gelbes Haus (Yellow House)”, Museum Folkwang is showing two works by the artist from the group exhibition of 1912.
Another Expressionist artist prominently represented in the exhibition is Paula Modersohn-Becker. Museum Folkwang played an important role in the dissemination of her works. The work of the painter, who died young, was shown posthumously in 1913 in a large retrospective at Museum Folkwang, which is regarded as the first substantial exhibition of the artist’s work. On this occasion Osthaus acquired her famous Selbstbildnis mit Kamelienzweig (Self-Portrait with Camellia Branch). A total of 12 works from the 1913 retrospective will be reunited in Expressionists at Folkwang, including five self-portraits by the artist.
In its anniversary year, Museum Folkwang links both the history of the art movement and that of the museum itself with its major show on Expressionism. In addition to bringing together former works from the collection, including around 60 loans, the exhibition also looks at the museum’s beginnings in Hagen and the continuing promotion of Expressionist art from 1922 onwards in Essen. Another chapter is devoted to the National Socialist era and the related confiscation of Expressionist works of art. This is followed by a description of the reconstruction of the collection after the Second World War and the exhibition highlights of Expressionist art after 1945. The expansion of the Expressionist collection up to the present day is the subject of the last room of the exhibition.
At the same time as the opening of the exhibition on 19 August at 6 p.m., the 24-hour summer festival will begin at the Museum Folkwang.