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April, 2004 - Nr. 4


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German Expressionists come to New York

  TWIG - Seldom has a group of artists so profoundly captured the calamity of their epoch as have German expressionists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Max Pechstein, and Georg Grosz.

This month, works by these and several other artists once collected by the Nationalgalerie in Berlin are on show at the Neue Galerie in New York, a relatively new museum devoted to showcasing modern German and Austrian art.

"Arcadia and Metropolis: Masterworks of German Expressionism from the Nationalgalerie Berlin" chronicles the rise of expressionism in Germany, from emotional depictions of rural life with sharply distorted shapes and colors to the turbulent cityscapes and grotesque caricatures produced amidst the decadence of metropolitan Berlin in the "Golden 1920s." Later works trace the backlash against expression, culminating in the sobriety and acuity of the "New Objectivity" movement.

Painted between 1907 and 1926, the paintings capture the artists’ responses to industrialization, the devastation of World War I, and the early tumult of the Weimar Republic.

The role of the Nationalgalerie as a public institution is also dealt with in the exhibition — as well as in a series of public talks to be held by the museum in the coming weeks. "The turbulent history of the Nationalgalerie represents an important chapter in the larger story of Wilhelmine and Weimar Republic history," said Reneé Price, Director of the Neue Galerie.

In its earliest years, the Nationalgalerie occupied a neo-classical building on Berlin’s museum island. Modern art thrived there until the Nazis took power in 1933. Today’s Nationalgalerie is divided between this first building, now called the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Neue Nationalgalerie designed by Mies van der Rohe — currently home to the world’s only exhibition on modern art from the MoMA New York.

The exhibition runs through June 7.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Neue Galerie New York


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