Russian Modernism: Cross-Currents of German and Russian Art, 1907-1917
On May 14, Neue Galerie New York will open the first exhibition at an American museum to focus exclusively on the important artistic links between Russia and Germany. "Russian Modernism" is devoted to modern figurative art created by leading artists from these two countries during the early twentieth century. Featuring works by artists Natalia Goncharova, Erich Heckel, Alexei von Jawlensky, Vasily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mikhail Larionov, and Gabriele Münter, among others. The show will be on view through August 31, 2015 and the Neue Galerie is the sole venue for the exhibition.
The exhibition is organized by Russian art scholar Konstantin Akinsha, who also serves as a Research Fellow at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany. The exhibition will be designed by Peter de Kimpe, whose projects are noted for their bold colors and theatrical style. Approximately 90 works will be on display, including paintings and works on paper. The show is organized into thematic groupings and highlights direct connections and collaborations between Russian and German art from the period: Urban Scenes; Still-Lifes; Landscapes; Nudes; and Portraits. A small pendant gallery addresses the development of abstraction and includes work by Vasily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich.
The show will place particular emphasis on the activities of the German Expressionist groups Brücke (Bridge) and the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider), and their Russian counterparts the Jack of Diamonds and the Donkey’s Tail. These movements are very close to one another as Russian artists traveled to Germany to live and study. Likewise, the Germans were aware of the avant-garde art being produced in Moscow and exhibited their work there, too.
The exhibition includes key works from major private collections, including a large number from that of businessman and philanthropist Petr Aven, as well as master- works from the Neue Galerie permanent collection. Several extraordinary loans have been assembled, such as Mikhail Larionov’s Self-Portrait (1912), Robert Falk’s Man in a Bowler Hat (1917), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Russian Dancer Mela (1911), Max Pechstein’s Young Woman with Red Fan (ca. 1910), Kazimir Malevich’s Black Trapezoid (1917), Aristarkh Lentulov’s Victorious Battle (1914), and Vasily Kandinsky’s Study for Improvisation 8 (1909). The exhibition is also accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by Prestel, which features contributions from scholars Konstantin Akinsha, Vivian Endicott Barnett, Natalia Murray, Irina Romanova, Aleksandra Shatskikh, and Jane Sharp.
A show of this kind is near and dear to The Brvtalist. Eastern European art has always been highly influential to us and we have always been interested in the cultural, social and political landscapes of countries like Germany and Russia and how it has affected their art and artists. Works by Larionov and Kandinsky went on to set the stage to inspire generations of painters, designers and architects alike. We are thrilled that Neue Gallerie has not only staged an exhibition featuring figurative works of early Russian and German modernists, but have done so on such a grand and impressive scale. If you are in New York, this is a must see. On view until August 31, 2015.
For more information please visit the gallery's website. We would also like to thank Neue Galerie for providing us with the wonderful images of some of the works and assisting with text.
On the cover:
Aristarkh Lentulov (1882-1943)
Victorious Battle (Military Panel), 1914
Oil, bronze, and silver paint on canvas
137.5 x 183 cm (54 1/8 x 72 in.)
Petr Aven Collection