Hermitage hosts New Masters from Dresden Gallery

л. Friendrich. Two Men Contemplating the Moon. 1819−1820. Oil on canvas. Picture Gallery, Dresden

On November 11, Winter Palace launched the impressing retrospective show of German painting of the 19th−20th centuries organized by the State Hermitage together with the State art Dresden collections under the auspices of V. Potanin Welfare Fund. The exhibition represents 49 pictures by the outstanding German artists from the collection of Dresden Gallery of New Masters. Along with works by less famous artists the exhibition represents some classic famous masterpieces such as Two Men Contemplating the Moon by Kaspar David Friedrich, Elba Crossing by Ludwig Richter and many others.

Hermitage has a unique possibility to show visitors a considerable part of a permanent exposition of the Gallery of New Masters placed on the top floor of celebrated Albertinum in Dresden. During the destructive flooding in summer of 2002 the building was strongly harmed and in 2006 it was closed for complete reconstruction. As a result pictures became “free” from the exposition “duties” that allowed the organization of the present exhibition.

The department of new painting of Dresden Gallery started to form in the middle of the 19th century. First arrivals were quite insignificant: in1856 the catalogue featured 29 pictures, in 1867 − 43, and in 1872 − 49. First of all there were works by the Dresden artists bought on means of fund established at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Saxony Bernhard von Lindenau. The Director of the museum Charles Vermin played an important role in formation of the new department. He tried to overcome conservative tastes and represent the major tendencies of development of the European painting of the 19th century. First pictures by foreign artists were bought by him: E. Manet, G. Courbet, A. Becklean and many others.

Nazi fight with “degenerative art” deprived the department of new painting of over 50 pictures. The consequences of the Second World War were even more tragic: over 170 works were lost from the finds. Many of them exported from Germany as trophies were returned home later.

Fifty masterpieces presented today in Hermitage are a retrospective show of German art in 1800 – 1945. The Exposition is opened with Kaspar David Friedrich’s famous pictures and finishes with Otto Dix’s works – the outstanding representative of expressionism. The curators of the Dresden art gallery selected those products which on the one hand show individuality of the collection and on the other – represent certain artists and art trends.

The exhibition is opened till March 29, 2009.

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Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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