The new presentation of our collection, comprising artworks dating from 1350 to the present, grants the visitor to the Staatsgalerie insight into seven hundred years of art and history: »An Overview at Last.« The chronological arrangement is interrupted now and then, and the juxtaposition of artworks of various epochs gives the visitor food for thought. Through comparison, the basic issues of form, colour, content and meaning – issues which have preoccupied artists throughout the ages – are seen from a new angle. Many of the rooms have been fundamentally rededicated, uniting objects of various eras all pertaining to a common theme.
In the Stirling Annex the visitor encounters early works flanked by those of the modern era. The visitor route here covers early Italian panel painting and the altarpieces of the Old Masters, for example the »Pfullendorf Altar«, as well as later works such as the Venetian vedute of the eighteenth century. In some galleries a focus is directed towards eras which have proved especially productive and interesting for artistic development, for instance painting in the time of Dürer. The works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Burgkmair the Elder and others were executed in an epoch of decisive importance for the German nation. Developed against the background of the Reformation and the peasant uprisings, they reflect the religious and social tensions of that age. Another room features seventeenth-century Holland, the so-called Golden Age, represented by works of Rembrandt and Rubens as well as Jan Sten, Frans Hals and Jan van Goyen.
In the newly reopened Alte Staatsgalerie the concentration lies on German and French Impressionism and the Classic Modern era with works by such artists as Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Lovis Corinth, Max Slevogt and Pablo Picasso. Here a number of galleries unite works by members of artists’ communities, for example the Fauves, the Brücke and the Blauer Reiter. The Great Hall in the Alte Staatsgalerie is devoted to German Neo-Expressionism as exemplified by large-scale paintings of Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer and A. R. Penck.
Works by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Morris Louis and other Abstract Expressionists are presenting in the Steib galleries, introducing visitors to a style developed in the US after World War II. Its primary focus was on free, non-geometric abstraction as well as colour as an element in its own right, emancipated from form.
The annex moreover presents works of Pop Art, a movement which emerged in the UK and the US concurrently from the 1950s onward in reaction to the abstract painting that dominated the art world at that time. Here visitors will come face to face with paintings by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke.
The paintings brought together in Room 1 shed light on the iconography of the Resurrection at the end of the nineteenth / beginning of the twentieth century. Man’s striving for redemption is one of the central themes during this period. In the fine arts, the desire to render longstanding Christian themes in modern forms goes hand in hand with the struggle to carry on the tradition of the narrative painting as defined by the Italian Renaissance. As early as the 1870s, Fritz von Uhde drew attention to himself with his unusual »Poor People’s Jesus«, thus inspiring younger contemporaries from the circle of the Munich Secessionists, for example Max Slevogt and Lovis Corinth. The »Resurrection« by Max Beckmann, who was twenty-four years young when he painted it, can be considered the provocative quintessence of this interest in the modern adaptation of Christian themes.
The phrase »De pictura« (»On Painting«) serves as the programmatic heading for a group of pictures of various centuries all concerned with the effect of the painting on the beholder. In his gallery painting »Roma Antica«, for example, Giovanni Paolo Pannini presents a constructed, imaginary pictorial space containing a number of paintings likewise composed according to the rules of central perspective. In the Alte Staatsgalerie the »Herrenberg Altar«, executed in the style of Late Medieval mannerism, is confronted with a work by Barnett Newman. The large colour surfaces created by this exponent of American Abstract Expressionism can be understood as modern devotional pictures. In front of these pictures and Ratgeb’s monumental altarpiece, art enjoyment takes on a meditative character.
At certain intersections and interfaces formed by the buildings’ architecture there are galleries devoted to individual artists, for example the Master of Messkirch, Max Beckmann or Pablo Picasso.
There is also a presentation of several works by Johann Heinrich Dannecker in honour of the 250th anniversary of his birth in the year 2008. The Stirling Annex moreover includes among its galleries the Beuys Room as originally installed by the artist.
The title is a play on quotations and, in a manner analogous to the collection and its new installation, unites the young with the old, the fine arts with architecture and the obvious with the unexpected. On the one hand, it makes allusion to the work »Plötzlich diese Übersicht« (Suddenly this Overview) by the contemporary Swiss artists Fischli/Weiss, which captures moments scenes and interactions from a somewhat displaced perspective. On the other hand, a full stop has been placed at the end of this slightly modified quotation, serving to forge the link to the architecture and the historical core of our collection. It is a reference to the full stop appearing after the golden letters »Museum der Bildenden Künste.« still crowning the entrance to the Alte Staatsgalerie today.
Geometrie und Poesie: Paul Klee
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