Modernity and Idyll
Impressionism in Germany
This special exhibition in the Kreuzstall in Gottorf is dedicated to the beginnings of modern art in Germany. A new art trend was introduced in France around 1870, focusing on the presentation of light and atmosphere. This particular manner of painting became known among art critics as „Impressionism“ and was soon adopted by artists in Germany. Henceforth, Impressionism developed into one of the most important art developments, over and beyond the turn of the 20th century.
Our exhibition traces this success story: Impressionism as „modern lifestyle art“, which particularly appealed to the self assured, metropolitan bourgeoisie, embracing the latest technical developments – in particular photography, in a variety of ways. Concurrently, impressionists in Germany made use of the opportunty to paint scenes of unspoilt nature and idyllic landscapes, which appealed to a cosmopolitan audience and presented an aesthetic alternative to the rapidly changing realities of life.
The exhibition commences with French impressionistic origins, presenting selected works on paper from such artists as Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edourd Manet, Augusts Renoir, Paul Signac and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Spectacular works from Christian Rohlfs, Hans Olde and Max Liebermann demonstrate how initial impressionistic elements were introduced into the works of German artists from the 1880s. Important oevres from Lovis Corinth, Walter Leistikow and Max Slevogt are exhibited, as well as Lesser Ury, who remained true to his thoroughly metropolitan, impressionistic style of painting right up until the 1920s.
The exhibiiton also integrates the development in Northern Germany with works from Gotthardt Kühl from Lübeck and Maria Slavona, as well as Thomas Herbst from Hamburg and Ernst Eitner, within the context of their time.
A particular area in the exhibition is devoted to photography, used by Hans Olde initiallly as a technical assistance in his painting drafts, whereas Heinrich Kühn among others, employed photography as an independent, artistic medium before the turn of the century.
As a final, fulminating finale, we have a selection of German late and post impressionism, including works form Emil Nolde, Wenzil Hablik and Arthur Illies.
The works in the special exhibition originate for the most part from the Art Foundation of Dr. Hans-Joachim and Elisabeth Bönsch, who have a long term association with the Museum for Art and Cultural History going back 2016. Additionally, main works from the permanent collection of our State Museum are also incuded.