Max Klinger, German, 1857-1920 Der Künstler in der Dachstube (The Artist in the Attic)
Etching and aquating (on thin wove paper)
5-3/4" x 2-3/8"
Dr. and Mrs. E. William Ewers Gift for Fine Arts Fund Purchase
History's Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity
(March 13 - June 5, 2014)
An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 5 to 7 pm in Cohen Memorial Hall.
Presented as the first survey of German art from the Fine Arts Gallery’s collections, History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity addresses the role of history in shaping German art and how that history has influenced the formulation of German identity. This exhibition will also address how we, in turn, view German art through a lens ground in our complex relationship with the German past, with World War II still coloring how many Americans and Germans alike view Germany, its culture, and its art.
While not a comprehensive survey of German art, History’s Shadow spans five hundred years, with particular attention given to political and cultural events and the way these events “cast a shadow” on both the artists and the art created by them. The earliest German work in the Fine Arts Gallery’s collection is the melancholic Rhenish Pietà, a late medieval work, ca. 1450–1460. Old Master prints are well represented beginning in the fifteenth century with works by artists such as Michael Wolgemut, Albrecht Dürer’s teacher, and Dürer himself. Several works by artists called the kleine Meister, or “Little Masters,” a group of German artists active in the first half of the sixteenth century who produced a wide range of small-scale, intricately worked prints, nearly all of which were engravings, are also featured. Artists from the period leading up to and immediately following World War I, such as Erich Heckel, Max Klinger, Conrad Felixmüller, and Käthe Kollwitz will be included, reflecting the impact of the war on Germany and its artists. Art of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is represented by Sigmar Polke, the conceptualist Thomas Locher, and an excerpt from Christiane Baumgartner’s 1 Sekunde, a meditation on time and contemporaneity.
History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identityis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director. This exhibition has been made possible by a generous gift from Leslie Cecil and Creighton Michael, MA ’76.
Presented as a companion exhibition to History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of Identity, Farandole brings together two European cultural figures of the latter part of the twentieth century, artist Hans Hartung (1904–1989) and novelist and poet, Jean Proal (1904–1969). Published in 1972 as a portfolio of lithographs by Hartung with an accompanying poem by Proal, Farandole plays a set of aggressive abstract images against a poem with equal amounts of force and presence. Farandole, the title of Proal’s poem and the collaboration itself, is taken from the name of an open-chain community dance popular in Provence, France.
Farandole—An Artistic and Literary Collaborationis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970s
(June 19 - September 11, 2014)
Presented in honor of the late Don Evans, who for much of his professional career taught art at Vanderbilt University, Strange Fruit—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970’s features over twenty posters from a particularly rich period of Eastern European graphic art design. Some artists went on to receive significant notoriety for their work, such as Jan Sawka, whose theatrical posters had provoked the polish government to expel him in 1979. Many of the posters reflect an aesthetic begun in the 1960s under the influence of Pop art and experimental theater of the period. These posters, as well as those from the 1960s, influenced a wide range of creative figures, including the filmmakers, the Quay Brothers who this past year were featured in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York where several similar posters from the period served as a context for their innovative film
Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theater Posters from the 1970s is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.