4760 - 20170122 - BELGIË - BRUSSEL - 'Modernity à la belge' - 14.10.2016-22.01.2017


The exhibition "Modernity à la belge" retraces Belgian Art over more than a century through paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Modern Art collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, as well as some invited major art works.

The term Modernity reaches far beyond a certain period in our history of Fine Arts, it stands above all for the enthusiasm of that period. Being initiated at the end of the 19th century by Baudelaire, it embodies an ideal combining technological and intellectual development. Yet it has never stopped causing a stir, generating concepts such as anti-modernity or postmodernity. First, Modernity was rejected for not respecting the legacy of the past; later on, it was said to have led to Nazi barbarism and the technology of death. The question is: which place does Art take in this debate? The artists to be seen in the first part of “Modernity à la belge”, all wanted to influence society: Wiertz,  Rops, Ensor, Wouters, Vantongerloo, Servranckx, Magritte, Delvaux, Permeke, Van den Bergh, Alechinsky, Dotremont, Broodthaers and also Tuymans. Being gathered in a blueprint of a Modern Art Museum, they all translate this preeminent modern spirit, while challenging the often authoritarian Avant-garde.

The second part of the exhibition adds the specific Belgian dimension to this cultural Modernity. Does a Belgian Modernity really exist? How did it arise and under which forms does it continue to live? What is the idea of Avant-garde in Belgium? What can be concluded from the confrontation with major international artists such as Chagall, Rouault, Jorn or Segal? What does “Belgian” Art and “Belgian” Modernity mean? Many questions to be answered by each visitor individually. It is all open for discussion!

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium - 'Modernity à la belge' - 14.10.2016-22.01.2017 

4759 - 20170305 - CZECH REPUBLIC - PRAGUE - Winter Variations - 06.12.2016-05.03.2017


The exhibition The Art of Asia has been modified to reflect the upcoming season. The Chinese artworks selected for the winter 2016/2017 include several winter landscapes, one of the most popular genres in Chinese painting, as well as the precious anonymous portrait of a man in winter outfit from the collection of Chinese ancestral portraits. The genre of flower and bird painting is represented by the theme known as “three friends of winter,” in which the pine, the bamboo and the plum tree refer to moral pureness and resilience of a scholar. Other winter themed paintings, such as Qi Baishi's Pine and the delicate Snowbound Landscape by the last of the Chinese literati painters, Pu Xinyu, come from the National Gallery's unique collection of Chinese painting.

Alterations in the graphic part of the exhibition of Japanese art are also largely devoted to winter motifs, which appear in iconography, decor, calligraphy and landscape. The exhibition of Japanese Buddhist art presents pairs of scrolls depicting the wind god, Fujin and the god of winter storm, Raijin. In the exhibition of Japanese paintings and prints, the visitor can view Sugakudo's Wren Sitting on a Winter Peony, a winter variation on the flower and bird genre, and Eizan's Courtesan Oyodo in the allegory of the Evening Snow on the Bindweed. The popular “beautiful maidens” motif can be admired in its quintessential form on Buzen's screen from the turn of the 19th century, which depicts Rafu-sen and five other beauties under the snow-covered pine. Kiyochika's scene from the Sino-Japanese war provides an interesting “journalistic” view of the winter landscape.

The exhibition of the art of southern and south-eastern Asia presents six Indian miniatures – genre scenes from the circle of eighteenth-century Mughal painting and paintings from Jaipur depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The newly installed Tibetan thangkas represent both wrathful and peaceful deities, as well as important figures of Tibetan Buddhism. Of special notice is the Jataka, the depiction of stories from Buddha's previous lives, originally from the collection of Vojtěch Chytil.
Curators: Jana Ryndová, Michaela Pejčochová, Lenka Gyaltso, Zdenka Klimtová

Kinský Palace - Winter Variations - 06.12.2016-05.03.2017


4758 - 20170305 - BELGIË - GENT - Hands on Design - 19.11.2016-05.03.2017

8th Triennial for Design
The chemistry between the maker, the designer and the company
‘Hands on Design’ showcases design that is inspired and produced thanks to the innovative power of traditional methods and craftsmanship. Discover that chemistry this autumn in Design museum Gent.

From 19 November 2016 until 5 March 2017, ‘Hands on Design’ will show a superb selection of contemporary and historic design products, which are perfect examples of outstanding craftsmanship and the master’s touch. As a user, you can feel the difference between a store-bought kitchen knife or chair and a hand-made knife or chair, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint that difference. ‘Hands on Design’ reveals this invisible added value, the influence of the master’s touch and craftsmanship. Stroll through the maker’s house, his workshop and design studio. Take a closer look at his drawings and computer models. Learn about prototypes, materials and tools. Discover the human touch in familiar and brand-new utensils. Learn how designers, makers and companies push back boundaries and find new applications for centuries-old techniques. By processing familiar materials such as stone, wood, glass, leather, bronze in new and different ways.

Curator Johan Valcke spent two years searching for brand-new utensils by emerging young designers, established design studios and local businesses. He also brought together designers and companies, which led to some novel design products that will be shown for the first time during ‘Hands on Design’. Design museum Gent has juxtaposed these designs with surprising masterpieces from its own collection. MaisonCaro designed the exhibition’s scenography.

Designmuseum Gent - Hands on Design - 19.11.2016-05.03.2017


4757 - 20170226 - DENMARK - AALBORG - Maria Lassnig – Painting Through the Body -18.11.2016-26.02.2017


The exhibiton will feature 40 large scale paintings that reveal her long standing exploration of the body and self-representation the exhibition spans her career; from work made during the 1940s in Vienna, periods spent in Paris and New York, her return to Austria in 1980 and paintings made in the final years of her life.

Influenced at an early stage by art movements that celebrate gestural, informal and spontaneous practice such as art informel, tachisme and surrealism, Lassnig developed a singular body of work, making boldly expressive, brightly coloured oil paintings with the human figure at the centre of her compositions.  Using herself as the subject of her paintings, they address the fragility of the body, the ageing process and the passing of time.

Despite being largely underrepresented until recent years, Maria Lassnig has played an influential role in the development of painting in the 20th and 21st centuries and her work has been met with critical acclaim and inspired other artists such as Paul McCarthy and Martin Kippenberger.

Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg - Maria Lassnig – Painting Through the Body 


4756 - 20170205 - BELGIË - ANTWERPEN - From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the Visual Arts in Belgium - 06.10.2016-05.02.2017


Through representative examples From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the Visual Arts in Belgium shows how the medium of photography entered the field of visual arts in Belgium and how it evolved into an independent artistic medium between 1960 and 1990.
Its location between major artistic centres such as London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Paris, and the presence of important collectors and visionary gallery owners, turn Belgium into an important meeting place for the international art world in the 1960s and 1970s. A rising  generation of Belgian artists comes into direct contact with international artistic trends like conceptual art, Fluxus and the Situationist International. Local artistic traditions too influenced their practice. Especially striking is the legacy of the Brussels surrealists, in particular the work of René Magritte and Paul Nougé. Moreover, the strong pictorial tradition of the Low Countries, and by extension Europe, turns out to have had a decisive influence on the work of the artists selected for this exhibition, which is characterised by a constant attention to their surrounding reality.
The exhibition opens with the photographic work of three pioneers of conceptual art in Belgium: Marcel Broodthaers, Jacques Charlier and Jef Geys. Subsequently, the breakthrough of photoconceptualism in Belgium can be seen in the work of Jacques Lennep, Jacques Louis Nyst, Jacques Lizène, Philippe Van Snick and Danny Matthys. Finally, the transition of photoconceptual work to the photographic tableau – the ever growing mixture of photography and painting – is shown by means of the work of Lili Dujourie, Jan Vercruysse, Ria Pacquée, Liliane Vertessen and Dirk Braeckman.
The exhibition From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the visual arts in Belgium is based on the doctoral research of Liesbeth Decan: Conceptual, Surrealist, Pictorial: Photo-based Art in Belgium (1960s-early 1990s), which appears as a book concurrently with the exhibition as part of the Lieven Gevaert Series (Leuven University Press). 
MUHKA - From Broodthaers to Braeckman. Photography in the Visual Arts in Belgium 06.10.2016-05.02.2017

4755 - 20170326 - U.K. - LONDON - Australia's Impressionists - 07.12.2016-26.03.2017


Escape the darkness of winter for the light-filled landscapes of the Australian Impressionists in the first UK exhibition of its kind
Showcasing four innovative Australian Impressionist artists, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, and John Russell, this exhibition explores Impressionism in an Australian context – closely related to yet entirely distinct from its European counterparts.

From ‘snapshots’ of life in the rapidly teeming cities of Melbourne and Sydney to dazzling landscapes of coast and bushland, the paintings of Roberts, Streeton, and Conder came to epitomise a growing sense of national identity as Australia approached Federation in 1901.

Russell, by contrast, was an Australian expatriate who spent almost his entire career in France, counting Van Gogh, Monet, and Matisse among his friends. Like fellow artists in Australia, Russell embraced plein air painting to capture the fleeting effects of light in the landscape but became increasingly experimental in his use of colour.

Featuring loans from some of Australia’s leading museums and private collections, many of which have never been seen in the UK, this exhibition invites you to reconsider how Impressionism was understood at the time, as an international phenomenon which transformed itself as it travelled the globe.

This exhibition is organised by the National Gallery, in collaboration with Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The National Gallery - Australia's Impressionists - 07.12.2016-26.03.2017


4754 - 20170507 - BELGIQUE - CHARLEROI - Jeanloup Sieff - LES ANNEES LUMIERE - 10.12.2016-07.05.2017


Jeanloup Sieff.
Serge Gainsbourg et Jane Birkin.
Paris, 1970
© Estate Jeanloup Sieff
«Les gens qui ne me connaissent pas se font de fausses idées à mon sujet. Ils s’imaginent que je suis un peu orgueilleux, un peu dilettante, un peu distant… mais ils se trompent, je le suis totalement.»

Elégance et légèreté, classicisme et sensualité sont quelques qualificatifs pour évoquer les photographies de Jeanloup Sieff (1933-2000).
Reporter indépendant, un temps membre de l’agence Magnum – il reçoit en 1959 le Prix Niépce pour son reportage sur le Borinage – c’est cependant dans la photographie de mode qu’il va s’illustrer.
Réalisées principalement pour de prestigieuses revues de mode telles Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Vogue ou British Mode, ses photographies s’émancipent pourtant de la commande par l’originalité des cadrages, la densité des impressions et le choix du grand angle qui les rend immédiatement reconnaissables. Car il y a bien un style Sieff avec ses femmes-icônes portant les créations de prestigieux couturiers, ses nus féminins saisis dans leur troublante intimité, ses paysages déserts qui sont le visage solitaire de ce photographe pratiquant l’amitié avec les vedettes de l’écran ou de la politique qu’il rend si proches, s’effaçant derrière le modèle. Sieff épure sa photographie, en conservant les lignes maîtresses, les coulant dans des noirs profonds, rejoignant l’esthétique d’une époque, les «Trente Glorieuses» qu’il incarne à la perfection.
Depuis les années cinquante, en une étroite connivence avec le cinéma, au travers des thèmes abordés, c’est tout le parfum d’une époque qu’a su traduire Jeanloup Sieff en ses images.
L’œuvre de Sieff n’a jamais connu une exposition d’importance en Belgique. Le Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi proposera une sélection des photographies les plus emblématiques de Jeanloup Sieff, mélange des collections du Musée et des archives du photographe pour rendre hommage à celui qui, à l’égal d’ Irving Penn ou de Richard Avedon, a marqué plus d’une génération. Un choix de photographies de la série Borinage 1959 sera présenté dans la Galerie du Cloître.
Musée de la Photographie - Jeanloup Sieff - LES ANNEES LUMIERE - 10.12.2016-07.05.2017


4753 - 20170312 - BERLIN - GERMANY - George Condo / Confrontation - 19.11.2016-12.03.2017

George Condo: Windswept Figure, 2007 | Öl auf Leinwand, 50,8 x 40,6 cm | Sammlung des Künstlers, New York | Courtesy Sprüth Magers und Skarstedt | © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016 | Foto: © George Condo 2016

Museum Berggruen presents an exhibition of works by American painter George Condo (b. 1957, Concord, New Hampshire). This first ever large-scale exhibition of contemporary art at Museum Berggruen since its opening combines works by George Condo from the early 1980s through today with works by classical modernist artists from the collection of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie. George Condo. Confrontation is on view throughout the museum, and many of the paintings, drawings, collages by the American artist selected are to be shown to the public for the very first time in this show.
The presentation of masterpieces by Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti from Museum Berggruen alongside Condo’s works develops an open field of references. Since the early 1980s, Condo refers in his works with a mixture of humor, irony, and veneration to the entire spectrum of European and American art. For his in part grotesque visual imagination, he takes up genres like the nude, the still life, and the portrait. Playfully, Condo combines references to art history, in particular formal and motivic references to the artists of classical modernism, whose once shocking cubist paintings have long since entered the canon of art history. To the same extent, popular culture also flows into Condo’s works: his portraits reveal borrowings from comic figures like Batman, Bugs Bunny, or Mickey Mouse.

The exhibition George Condo. Confrontation understands painting from the 20th and 21st century as a process of mutual references and traditions constantly in motion, still continuing today in popular culture.

A multi-part publication including an interview between Udo Kittelmann and George Condo, essays by Felicia Rappe and Olivier Berggruen, an illustrated book with all exhibited works by Condo, and a story by Daniel Kehlmann has been published in conjunction with the exhibition (40 Euro, available at the museum or online

„It’s about putting things together and seeing how they react to one another. Whereas a dialogue is a more placid, almost prosaic platform for discussion. One has dialogues every day. I could have a dialogue every day with the lady down the street who’s selling cupcakes. But if I say to the cupcake lady, ‘Something is wrong with the frosting. Why is it blue?’ – suddenly we’re having more of a confrontation. And then it’s memorable!” George Condo, 2016

Museum Berggruen - George Condo / Confrontation - 19.11.2016-12.03.2017


4752 - 20170226 - BELGIË - MACHELEN-ZULTE - Actuele prenten: James Ensor, Francisco Goya, William Kentridge, Roger Raveel en Rembrandt van Rijn - 27.11.2016-26.02.2017


Gedrukte prenten vormen een belangrijk maar niettemin miskend aspect binnen het oeuvre van de meeste toonaangevende kunstenaars. De tentoonstelling Actuele Prenten brengt grafisch werk bijeen van kunstenaars uit diverse periodes die inhoudelijk en vormelijk verwantschap vertonen. In een tijdsegment van meer dan vier eeuwen blijkt dat techniek en thematiek een grote eenheid vormen die steeds actueel is gebleven.
Grafiek biedt naast de ruimere verspreiding van het kunstwerk ook de mogelijkheid om in reeksen te werken, al dan niet met een epische of poëtische verhaallijn.
Veeleer dan een historisch overzicht te brengen gaat deze tentoonstelling dieper in op de grafische kunst van enkele markante kunstenaars die het medium telkens weer vernieuwden en betekenis gaven. Met werk van James Ensor, Francisco Goya, William Kentridge, Roger Raveel en Rembrandt van Rijn...

Roger Raveelmuseum - Actuele prenten: James Ensor, Francisco Goya, William Kentridge, Roger Raveel en Rembrandt van Rijn - 27.11.2016-26.02.2017


4751 - 20170305 - AUSTRIA - SALZBURG - Grand retrospective surveying the work of Walter Pichler spanning five decades - 26.11.2016-05.03.2017

Walter Pichler, Großer Raum (Prototyp 3), 1966-67.
The Museum der Moderne Salzburg presents a grand retrospective surveying the work of Walter Pichler spanning five decades. Crossing the boundaries between architecture, design, and sculpture, Pichler was one of the most idiosyncratic artists of his time. From his early architectural visions across the series of Prototypes to his recently realized building projects, the exhibition shines a spotlight on an oeuvre that continues to inspire artists working today. The presentation includes a wealth of previously unpublished material. 
A native of South Tyrol, the Austrian artist Walter Pichler (1936 Deutschnofen, IT, 1936—2012,Vienna, AT) first drew notice in the early 1960s with architectural designs and models that were as radical as they were utopian. The series of what he called Prototypes (1966– 1969) Pichler developed over the following years laid the foundation for an international artistic career that was virtually unparalleled at the time. Trained as a graphic designer, Pichler worked in sculpture and design, pushing the boundaries between these disciplines and architecture. At a relatively young age, he had work showcased in celebrated exhibitions and renowned museums: at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1967 and 1975), the 5th Biennial in Paris (1967), the 4. documenta in Kassel (1968), and the Austrian pavilion at the 40th Biennale di Venezia (1982). As his international reputation rose rapidly, Pichler, in 1972, retreated to a farm in St. Martin, a village in the Austrian state of Burgenland, where he worked in isolation from the art world to realize his vision of the ideal structures to house his sculptures. Still, he was regularly prevailed upon to present his work in museum exhibitions, submitting his art to the scrutiny of these institutions and its audiences. Beginning in the late 1980s, Pichler’s work was shown in a series of major retrospectives, for instance at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main (1987), the Austrian Museum for Applied Arts (1988 and 2011), and the Generali Foundation an Vienna (1998), or at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1998). Walter Pichler died in Vienna in 2012 and the exhibition coincides with his eightieth birthday.

The comprehensive retrospective the Museum der Moderne Salzburg dedicates to this influential artist proposes a new perspective on his early radical architectural designs and the iconic Prototypes series, which are considered here in conjunction with his design projects and realized buildings, including recent projects. Around 230 works, including a wealth of previously unpublished material, on display in the spacious galleries on level [4] of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg’s Mönchsberg venue illustrate the extraordinary range of the artist’s oeuvre. “Our longstanding close relationship with Walter Pichler—we worked together on several projects— and now with the Pichler Archive, and thanks to the permanent loan of the Generali Foundation Collection, which has the single largest collection of Prototypes, to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg enable us to draw from a wealth of resources for this retrospective, which also presents previously unpublished materials to the public,” Sabine Breitwieser, director of the museum and curator of the exhibition, underscores. “The exhibition is further enhanced by important works on loan from the artist’s estate and numerous other collections and offers visitors vivid impressions of Pichler’s buildings through films we commissioned specifically for this purpose,” the curator emphasizes.

Walter Pichler studied graphic design at the Bundesgewerbeschule Innsbruck and subsequently at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and contributed to the design of many important publications such as the influential journal Bau (1965–1967) and the first book on Otto Wagner; he worked as a book designer for Residenz Verlag for many years and, in his later years, also for Jung and Jung publishers in Salzburg. His early work as a creative artist is informed by postwar Vienna; he moved in the orbit of the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group) and the exponents of the so-called Vienna Actionism and was in exchange with architects, designers, and writers— many of whom went on distinguished careers—who congregated in cafés and bars to debate and refine their artistic positions. Extended study trips to Paris, New York, and Mexico left their mark on his early work, as did the social changes and technological innovations of the 1960s, whose influence is especially palpable in the iconic Prototypes. In 1963, Pichler and Hans Hollein had an exhibition at Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, in which they presented manifestoes, designs, and models for suspended and subterraneous urban structures, calling the established conception of architecture in question. The two young revolutionaries were not especially interested in the actual realization of their projects; their utopianism masked a trenchant critique of the principle that “form follows function.” At that time a number of those works were acquired for the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Prototypes (1966–1969) got Pichler featured in magazines from Domus to Vogue and brought him almost pop star-like fame. Working with what were then novel materials—aluminum, and polyester—as well as pneumatic elements made out of PVC and audiovisual components, Pichler developed some of his most iconic works. The designation Prototype indicates that these pieces were laboratory creations—in fact, as Pichler once put it flatly, they were “made by hand on the kitchen table”—but eventually intended for automated serial production. The Prototypes were on public display at the 4. documenta in Kassel in 1968. The artist’s experimental approach to new materials and technologies was groundbreaking: works such as TV Helmet (1967), also known as The Portable Living Room, articulate Pichler’s critique of the way media and technology molded people’s world at a time when the Vietnam War was transmitted into living rooms and political art was in demand. In 1966, Pichler also designed the aluminum chair Galaxy 1, for which he took inspiration from the aesthetic and technology of space travel and car industry; it is now a classic of innovative design.

Starting in 1972, Walter Pichler planned and realized a series of singular buildings, initially on ten acres of land with an old farmhouse in St. Martin in Burgenland, an ensemble he had chosen as his new workplace and personal exhibition venue. Later building projects included the House next to the Foundry (1994–2002), the Platform above the River (1994–2014, realized posthumously) in the Eggental near Bozen, Italy, and the Passage in Tyrol (1996–2011). To help the visitors get a vivid sense of these complex structures, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg commissioned films that complement Pichler’s drawings and designs to offer insight into his work in architecture.
Museum der Moderne Salzburg - Walter Pichler - 26.11.2016-05.03.2017


4750 - 20170108 - BELGIË - GENT - These Strangers... Painting and People - 01.10.2016-08.01.2017


Victor Man, Grafting or lemontov dansant comme Saint Sebastien 2014-2015 - courtesy the Artist and Galerie Neu, Berlin

The exhibition is not a survey, but explores the individual oeuvres of a number of painters who, on the basis of the portrait tradition, confront us with both the act of looking at the subject and the look we get back from the subject. Their paintings represent the (intimate) other against the background of their personal, social and cultural circumstances as both artists and humans.

In the course of art history, painting has evolved from the subjective act of applying paint to a support to a complex practice that lies in an in-between zone. The medium has become a domain where the personal meets mass production, where manual actions are combined with industrial techniques and pure imagination is accompanied by the appropriation of images from the media and the arts.

Portrait painting operates under these same new circumstances. Whereas the painted portrait initially symbolised the pursuit of trueness to life, it later played a crucial part in the rise of individualism. In our network culture, where the image of the self is moulded and shaped by the views of those around it, portrait painting raises pertinent questions about such notions as originality, identity, gender, subjectivity, awareness (and self-awareness).

With work by Nicole Eisenman, Victor Man, Alice Neel, Paulina Olowska, Nicolas Party, Elizabeth Peyton, Avery Singer, Henry Taylor and Katharina Wulff.

S.M.A.K. - These Strangers... Painting and People - 01.10.2016-08.01.2017

4749 - 20170129 - FRANCE - GRENOBLE - Kandinsky - Les années parisiennes (1933-1944) - 29.10.2016-29.01.2017


Ensemble multicolore, 1938. Musee national d'art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou.

Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), the inventor of abstract art, is one of the most important figures in modern art. Until 29 January 2017, the Musée de Grenoble is holding an exhibition devoted to the final decade of the artist’s life (1933-1944), generally referred to as “The Paris period”. As the first show in France since 1972 to be devoted specifically to this last phase of Kandinsky’s oeuvre, as part of a partnership with the National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Pompidou, the museum is enjoying the loan of an outstanding selection of works, rounded off by pictures coming from other great international institutions.
Taking refuge in Paris after leaving Germany in 1933, when the Nazis had just closed the Bauhaus school, where he had been teaching since 1922, Kandinsky set up home, with his wife Nina, in an apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine. This is where he would develop a thoroughly original style, combining the geometric vocabulary of the Bauhaus years with random and undulating compositions from the previous decade. What is more, influenced by his readings of scientific books about the evolution of life, a whole repertory of biomorphic motifs hailing from the world of cells and embryology began to fill his works and lend a very special flavour to this latter-day style.

This period in the artist’s life, which remains the least well-known to the general public, enhanced by Kandinsky’s exchanges with the artistic circles of Paris, his heightened interest in the sciences, and a keener form of spirituality, was gradually marked by a sense of exile which deeply affected his art. It is the interaction between these differing factors that this exhibition intends to shed light on. To do so, thanks to a precise selection of paintings and drawings, every year of this final decade will be represented. This chronological path, sprinkled with all the biographical facts which stake it out - meetings, exhibition, and more specifically from the outbreak of World War II on, turned a political exile - his flight from Nazism—into an inner exile, informed by all sorts of both artistic and autobiographical reminiscences.

Musée de Grenoble - Kandinsky - Les années parisiennes (1933-1944) - 29.10.2016-29.01.2017



4748 - 20170205 - BELGIË - BRUGGE - The Art of Law. Three Centuries of Justice Depicted - 28.10.2016-05.02.2017


In the fifteenth century, it was customary to decorate courtrooms with works of art that were intended to 'encourage’ the aldermen and judges to perform their duties in an honest and conscientious manner. These works often depicted the supreme moment of divine justice: the Last Judgement. But other scenes from the Bible were also used, as were images from more profane sources. Together, these are known as the ‘exempla iustitiae’ (meaning ‘examples of fair justice’). In 1498, Gerard David was commissioned by the city council of Bruges to paint just such a work: ‘The Judgement of Cambyses’. This remarkably gruesome painting once hung in the courtroom of Bruges town hall and is now one of the finest masterpieces in the Groeningemuseum.
Subjects relating to justice were also depicted outside the courtroom in paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and stained glass windows. ‘The Art of Law’ exhibition has brought together some twenty works of art from the collections of Musea Brugge, supplemented by about hundred other pieces on loan from galleries and museums both at home and abroad. They paint a fascinating picture of the way in which justice and the law were represented in art during the Ancien Régime.

Groeningemuseum - The Art of Law. Three Centuries of Justice Depicted - 28.10.2016 - 05.02.2017

4747 - 20170226 - GERMANY - BREMEN - Max Liebermann: From Leisure to Modern Sport - 22.10.2016-26.02.2017


Max Liebermann, Reiter am Strand mit Foxterrier, 1911. Öl auf Leinwand, 70 x 100 cm © Nationalmuseum Stockholm.
Today, the world of sports penetrates almost every aspect of life. It is a critical element of modern lifestyle, a popular spectacle for the masses or an expression of social distinction. In Germany, the incredible success story of sports began more than a hundred years ago: Max Liebermann was the first German artist to preoccupy himself extensively with this subject. The exhibition examines Liebermann’s preoccupation with leisure, recreation and sports within the context of art as well as the historical and social development of sport, with a special focus on horse riding, polo and tennis in art. Works by Degas, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec illustrate the inspiration that Liebermann found in French painting and graphic arts. However, his depictions of tennis and polo players are unique in France and Germany. The singularity of his motifs is illustrated through the juxtaposition with selected works by English and German contemporaries such as John Lavery and Max Slevogt.

Liebermann primarily explores the subjects of horseback riding, tennis and polo motifs in the period between 1900 and 1914. These works convey an image of the Wilhelminian upper classes whose leisure activities were infused by the idea of the English sportsman. At the end of the nineteenth century, Liebermann turned his attention to summer visitors at the North Sea. There he first painted bathers and horseback riders but soon focused on modern sports such as polo, horse racing and tennis which had been popular in England for some time. Following the First World War, Liebermann’s sports motifs faded into the background. In the 1920s a younger generation of artists began to discover sports as a subject, particularly sports for the masses such as football and boxing. Depictions of boxers by Willy Jaeckel, Renée Sintenis and Rudolf Grossmann reflected the change in interest from elegant lawn sports in the countryside to physical exertion in urban sports arenas.

The exhibition will present about 140 works from international museums and private collections from Washington, Jerusalem, Paris and Zurich as well as from the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen. The exhibition is held in cooperation with the Liebermann Villa am Wannsee, Berlin, where it will be shown in a smaller version from 19 March to 26 June 2017.
Kunsthalle Bremen - Max Liebermann: From Leisure to Modern Sport - 22.10.2016-26.02.2017


4746 - 20170402 - BELGIË - ANTWERPEN - Middelheim Museum - Roman Signer - 29.10.2016-02.04.2017


Roman Signer, Projet pour un jardin, 2016. Permanent work Middelheim Museum. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Simon Vogel.

Between 29 October 2016 and 2 April 2017 you will get the chance to acquaint yourself with the idiosyncratic work of the Swiss artist Roman Signer, the sculptor who combines poetry, science and action in his work in his own unique manner.
‘Projet pour un jardin’ links together past and contemporary creations that Roman Signer has worked on in collaboration with the Middelheim Museum. In the past these collaborations were part of a group event, this time he’s exhibiting alone. The artist is putting on two actions in and around the Braem Pavilion. In addition, he creates a new permanent work specially for the Middelheim Museum.

Signer & Middelheim, a powerful combination
In the Middelheim Museum time and surroundings play a more intense role than they would in a classical museum. Changing light, the passing of the seasons, the dialogue with later works, the relationship of the landscape versus the art which can be found in it. These are elements with which all the artists in the Middelheim Museum are confronted, but not all of them incorporate this theme in their work. Time and surroundings are at the very heart of Roman Signer’s oeuvre. In that respect his work is perfect for the Middelheim Museum.

Understanding Roman Signer’s work might seem like a difficult task for the uninitiated. And even those who are familiar with Signer’s oeuvre consider ‘Bidon Bleu’, that has been part of the permanent collection since 2012 as atypical work. The monumental character of this work means it is not often identified with the better-known elements from Signer’s body of work. This solo exhibition is an opportunity to see this piece within the context of his other work. It takes him ever further - one action leads to the next - in a seemingly endlessly meandering journey through impressive natural landscapes and recognisable urban situations.

Risk and danger are part of Signer’s actions, but are never a goal in themselves. They have determined the artist’s reputation, but usually stand in the way of a poetic interpretation of his work. The spectator is often confronted with his own expectations of what he finds meaningful or not.

‘Projet pour un jardin’ links Roman Signer’s international career with his love of Sankt Gallen in Switzerland, where he has lived and worked since 1971. ‘Jardin’ is about something homely, something personal, something familiar. For Signer that is Sankt Gallen and the natural surroundings which are so omnipresent in his work and life. The open air museum is a garden for many urbanites whilst at the same time a public domain. This Antwerp story links the local with the international and, by way of ‘his’ Sankt Gallen, makes a link with all the other locations where Signer’s work can be found worldwide.

Fourth dimension, two traces
‘Stop motion: time as a succession of moments in contrast with the exceptional experience of always one moment’. No art is better suited to the theme of the temporary projects that the Middelheim Museum is putting on in 2016 than the work of Roman Signer. In particular, Signer is the sculptor who has added the dimension of ‘time’ to sculpture.

Signer always works according to the same structure, in three phases. First of all there is the basic form, which already contains the potential to change. Every project contains a moment of tension, a moment in which time seems to stand still, before the action takes place. This action, often steered by the artist himself, is the impetus to the change which comes about in the course of the action. The trace, the residue of the action, is the material artwork.

Dynamic and static moments, both past and future: Signer doesn’t see them as incompatible, but as aspects of one and the same work. Because the phases are clearly defined and their order is fixed, the process can also be mentally repeated and thus also captured in our imagination. So his work encourages the spectator to follow him from the physical to the conceptual.

The permanent work of art ‘Bidon Bleu’, the monumental installation which Roman Signer created for the Middelheim Museum in 2012, is a great example of this. During the action (on 26 May 2012) the artist threw a blue canister, filled with water, from a fifteen metre high slope in space. The container splashed open against the rear wall of a concrete construction. The action comes to a standstill, the water evaporates. The only thing left is the trace: the result of the action, frozen in time. The time interval is constantly supplemented with ‘memories of the action, the suggestion of what has happened’. A second trace is the cinematic report that Signer’s wife Aleksandra makes of every action.

“A change in being fascinates me, from beginning to end. This is how a time sculpture is created” ---Roman Signer

As part of ‘Projet pour un jardin’ Roman Signer has been working on two new actions. One of which ‘Haben Sie Angst für rot, gelb und blau? Ja, ich habe Angst!’, were debuted on the first day of the exhibition.

This action consists of red, yellow and blue paintballs, remote-controlled miniature helicopters and a table. With Signer on the remote, the paintballs are dropped onto the table by the helicopter, where the paint leaves behind a permanent trace.

The time sculpture, which is reminiscent of earlier experiments such as ‘Kugel mit blauer Farbe’ (Shangai Biennial 2012), is on show in the Braem Pavilion during the exhibition. The same venue is also screening a cinematic representation of ‘Haben Sie Angst für rot, gelb und blau? Ja, ich habe Angst!’ and a film with previous actions by the artist.

Also in the Braem Pavilion we get to see the result of the action ‘Spuren’ as a temporary installation. This work again contains all the elements which are characteristic of the artist’s work. In a sand carpet we see the traces which Signer has left behind as he zigzagged across it on skis. The journey ends at a ski cabin. There is no trace left of Signer, only his skis in the ski cabin. And the film of the action.

In the video Pendulum (2016), set up in a separate room in the Braem Pavilion, we see the artist's hands rhythmically avoiding a bucket as it swings back and forth like a pendulum. Eventually, the movement ceases, and bucket and hands meet.

‘Projet pour un jardin’ is not just the name of the exhibition and the book about it; it is also the title of a new, permanent work that Roman Signer has made especially for the Middelheim museum. The steel work has a surface area of four by eight metres and is 130 cm high. It looks like a detail of a maze and, when looked down on from above, is reminiscent of the zigzag silhouette of ‘Spuren’ (2016).

In ‘Projet pour un jardin’ it is not Signer, but the visitor who is the central figure in the experiment, who can decide on the journey he embarks upon – in which from above it looks like the head has been separated from the torso. Taller people might have to walk through here with their knees bent. Not as a lesson in humility – in Signer's work there is no room for power or domination – but possibly a symbolic reference to ‘separating the head from the body’, the separation of the emotional from the rational.

In this new project time starts whenever someone begins the journey. That results in another form of experience of time: the personal, physical experience. In that respect the two works from the collection, ‘Bidon Bleu’ and ‘Projet pour un jardin’, complement each other well with ‘Projet pour un jardin’ as a binding element between ‘Bidon Bleu’, the park and the solo exhibition.

Sculpture according to Signer
In the beginning of his career, in the 1970s, Roman Signer carried out research into the visualisation of natural phenomena with almost scientific precision. The basic properties of water, sand and stone, executed in 3-D. He also transformed fire, rockets and explosions into ephemeral actions, or used their power to transform tables, chairs, beds, wooden balls or blue barrels. Other things on his list of favourite props include plastic lint, paint, clay, paper, wooden poles, skis, a kayak, a scooter and a ventilator. The objects, which are each time used in different combinations, have undergone a meticulous selection over the years.

With this limited number of elements Signer sculpts a world which never fails to amaze the spectator. His work makes an important contribution to the tradition of ‘Process Art’ and he single-handedly rewrites the definition of sculpture. With the concepts of ‘action’, ‘distribution in space’ and ‘time’ he has added three new dimensions to it.

Through his work he tackles time in diverse manners: ‘Action with a Fuse’ (1989) lasts 35 days, the closing event of Documenta 8 (1987) lasts just a few seconds. ‘Vitesse: 2000 metres/ second’ (1992) is literally about an enormous acceleration. Sequence, simultaneity, duration, the immediate, continuity, perseverance and rhythm are all ways of giving shape to his images.

Modus Operandi
Roman Signer combines natural elements such as water, wind, earth and fire with simple props such as rockets and balloons. The result is often surprising, absurd and poetic. Water is perhaps the most common element in Signer’s work. The fascination with water has never left this man who grew up on the banks of a river. The ‘meander’ pattern of a natural stream can also be seen in his new work ‘Spuren’ and ‘Projet pour un jardin’. His frugal choice of materials is in sharp contrast with the highly imaginative way he develops his projects. The result is a contrary oeuvre that makes no concessions to trends or aesthetic expectations.

Even though his actions are not functional, his oeuvre expresses a great interest in reality outside the art world. In addition, his actions - without a role but also not without danger - can be seen as symbols or metaphors for an existential questioning: “I need to enter into confrontation with the ephemeral. Perhaps that’s because I’m sensitive to tragedy, the absurd, futility and meaninglessness which we as human beings are responsible for.” (R.S., Venice Biennale, p. 37). Signer uses small things to set something in motion which you can reflect upon in a broader context and which everyone can relate to.
Source: Art Daily
Middelheim Museum - Roman Signer - 29.10.2016-02.04.2017    

4745 - 20170212 - NETHERLANDS - DEN HAAG - Gemeentemuseum - Alice Neel-Collector of Souls - 05.11.2016-12.02.2017


Alice Neel, Mother and Child ( Nancy and Olivia) 1967
Amrican artist Alice Neel (1900-1984) was above all a portrait painter or, as she herself put it, a ‘collector of souls’. She painted the people around her, from her children and lovers to MoMA curator Frank O’Hara, fellow artists and the flamboyant characters associated with Andy Warhol’s Factory. Her style not only captured the outward appearance of her subjects, but also their mood, their inner uncertainty or private vanity. Neel is now regarded as one of the most important painters of the twentieth century and a source of inspiration for contemporary artists, including Marlene Dumas, Rinus Van de Velde and Elizabeth Peyton. Nevertheless, she remains relatively unknown in the Netherlands. The Gemeentemuseum hopes to change this by staging the first major retrospective of her work in this country.
Alice Neel’s expressive portraits tell us something not only about the subjects, but also about the artist herself and the tumultuous life she led. The exhibition begins in 1926, when she and her husband Carlos Enriquez were living in Cuba. After their first daughter died at the age of one, the couple separated and Neel returned to her parents in Philadelphia, leaving their second daughter with Enriquez’s family in Cuba. Neel suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

In 1932 she moved to New York. Living in ‘bohemian’ Greenwich Village, she became part of a circle of artists and writers who responded to the Great Depression by becoming interested in Communism. In 1935, Neel herself became a member of the Communist Party. This aspect of her life attracted the interest of the FBI. When she moved to Spanish Harlem, she began to paint the immigrants from Latin America and Puerto Rico who populated the neighbourhood, as well as continuing to produce portraits of her Communist friends. Spanish Harlem was also where she gave birth to her two sons (by José Negron and Sam Brody respectively), who subsequently became regular subjects of her portraits.

In the early 60s Neel moved to the more prosperous Upper West Side of New York, where her subjects began to include influential curators, art critics and dealers. At the same time, she became interested in the subcultures that were beginning to lay claim to their position in society around this time. Thanks to her friendship with Andy Warhol, she met various gays and transsexuals, including Jackie Curtis (inspiration for Lou Reed’s song Walk on the Wild Side). Neel’s portraits of Curtis and of ‘liberated’ women contributed to the public acceptance of such subcultures. In this respect, her oeuvre includes a genre familiar to us from the world of photography – for example, that of Diane Arbus – but unique in painting. By the end of her life, Alice Neel had created a body of portraits that, taken together, represented a cross-section of 20th-century American society.

Alice Neel was a figurative painter at a time when the art world was dominated first by Abstract Expressionism and later by Minimal Art and Pop Art. Figurative painting was regarded as a thing of the past. Indeed, in the 1960s and ’70s painting itself was declared dead. Although she was well aware of contemporary trends, Neel chose to pursue a path diametrically opposed to them. Consequently, her life was a constant struggle for artistic recognition. She did not achieve broader recognition until the 1970s, and then partly due to the women’s liberation movement. In the United States she is now ranked as one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th century, alongside Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. In Europe, interest in her work has increased sharply in recent years and this exhibition can be seen as the culmination of her posthumous artistic breakthrough on this side of the Atlantic.

Gemeentemuseum - Alice Neel-Collector of Souls- 05.11.2016-12.02.2017


4744 - 20170305 - BELGIË - BRUSSEL - Picasso. Sculptures - 26.10.2016-05.03.2017


Picasso. Sculptures

“Large, ambitious and unavoidably, dizzyingly peripatetic”, wrote The New York Times about the Picasso Sculpture exhibition at the MoMA. The Musée Picasso in Paris, in collaboration with BOZAR, builds on the theme. Over 80 sculptures represent the staggering creative power of an artist who really went to town experimenting with a range of materials and techniques. The sculptures conduct a dialogue with paintings, ceramics, photographs and objets d’art from Picasso’s private collection. The exhibition takes a fresh look at a less familiar but very personal aspect of the artist’s oeuvre.

Curators: Cécile Godefroy and Virginie Perdrisot

BOZAR  - Picasso. Sculptures - 26.10.2016-05.03.2017

4743 - 20170122 - SPAIN - MADRID - Renoir: Intimacy - 18.10.2016-22.01.2017

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Child with an Apple or Gabrielle, Jean Renoir and a Little Girl, circa 1895-1896. Pastel sobre papel. 560 x 760 mm. Mrs. Léone Cettolin Dauberville.
Writing about his father, the filmmaker Jean Renoir said: “He looked at flowers, women and clouds in the sky as other men touch and caress.” Renoir: Intimacy, the first retrospective in Spain to focus on the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), challenges the traditional concept that reduces Impressionism to the “purely visual”. Rather, it emphasises the central role played by tactile sensations in Renoir’s paintings, which are present in all the different phases of his career and are expressed through a wide range of genres including group scenes, portraits, nudes, still lifes and landscapes.

Curated by Guillermo Solana, Artistic Director of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, the exhibition is sponsored by Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and presents a survey of 78 works by the artist loaned from museums and collections worldwide, including the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Renoir: Intimacy shows how the artist made use of the tactile qualities of volume, paint and textures as a vehicle to evoke intimacy in its various forms (friendship, the family or erotic ties) and how that imagery connects the work to the viewer through the sensuality of the brushstroke and the pictorial surface. The exhibition will subsequently be shown at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum from 7 February to 15 May 2017.

While the figures in the group portraits of artists such as Manet and Degas tend to maintain their distance with the viewer, Renoir imbued his figures with a palpable closeness. In scenes with two or more, these figures habitually participate in a process of alternation between visual and physical contact: pairs of siblings or mothers and children in which one looks at the other, while the second responds by touching them.

On occasions these exchanges are constructed around a shared activity such as reading a book. In the case of his individual portraits, Renoir aimed to offer an experience comparable to physical contact by bringing the viewer as close as possible. While Degas surrounded his models with a setting and attributes that represent them, Renoir tended to tighten up the composition, omitting the setting in order to concentrate our gaze on the figure’s face.

Other details that refer to palpable sensations in Renoir’s paintings include the figures’ hair, which they play with and twist around their hands; the dogs held by women in these works; the pieces of cloth or towels that cover their breast or are wrapped round their thighs; the task of sewing; skeins of wool; or the dense texture of a garden.

Renoir: Intimacy is structured into six thematic sections: Impressionism: public and private; Commissioned portraits; Everyday pleasures; Northern and southern landscapes; Family and environment and Bathers.

The Impressionist phase, from 1869 to 1880, occupies three rooms in the exhibition and features some of Renoir’s most iconic works, including Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rowers´Lunch) (1875) After the Luncheon (1879), a life study for Le Moulin de la Galette (18751876), and Bathing in the Seine (La Grenouillère) of 1869, one of the works that Renoir executed in La Grenouillère, a popular area for leisure activities on the outskirts of Paris where he worked with Monet. A selection of female portraits set outdoors or in interiors, including Portrait of Madame Claude Monet (1872-1874), portraits of couples such as La Promenade (1870), in addition to an Impressionist landscape, Woman with a Parasol in a Garden (1875), complete this section.

By 1881 the Impressionist approach seemed to be exhausted and the group’s members moved apart. Renoir turned his gaze to the classical tradition, from Raphael to Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. While maintaining the use of an Impressionist pictorial language, his works now reveal a greater emphasis on drawing.

From the late 1870s and during the rest of the following decade Renoir gained a growing reputation as a portraitist, becoming one of the most solicited by Parisian high society. His depictions of Madame Thurneyssen and her Daughter (1910), or the series devoted to the Durand-Ruel family are among the examples of this facet of his output on display.

Among the scenes of everyday life are depictions of young women, either alone or with other women, located in an interior in which they are shown absorbed in activities that isolate them from the viewer. The green Flowerpot (1882) and Young Women reading (1891) allow us to enter this intimate space of everyday pleasures.

The room devoted to landscapes includes views of the Normandy coast and the Channel Islands, such as Hills around the Bay of Moulin Huet, Guernsey (1883), Provence, where he shared pictorial motifs with his friend Cézanne, among them Mont Sainte-Victoire (ca.1888-1889) and various locations in southern Italy, including The Bay of Salerno (Landscape of the South) of 1881.

The exhibition continues with family and domestic scenes featuring the artist’s children, such as Coco eating his Soup (1905) and Jean dressed as a Hunter (1910); the artist’s wife Aline, depicted in Motherhood (1885), painted to mark the birth of their first son Pierre, and in Aline Renoir Nursing her Baby (1915); and other members of his closest circle. The latter included Gabrielle Renard, the family’s nanny and a distant relative of Aline, who became one of Renoir’s favourite models, seen here in Boy with an Apple or Gabrielle, Jean Renoir and a Girl (ca.18951896), and Andrée Heuschling, who would marry Renoir’s son Jean after the artist’s death, seen here in The Concert (1918-1919).

The nude was among Renoir’s preferred subjects, although with the exception of Degas the Impressionists tended to avoid it as they considered it an academic theme. Engaged in his own stylistic evolution, Renoir achieved one of the high points of his career with his scenes of bathers: a series of nudes set outdoors in which the artist celebrated a type of timeless nature devoid of any reference to the modern world. The result is an idyllic vision characterised by the sensuality of the models, richness of colouring and plenitude of the forms.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Renoir: Intimacy - 18.10.2016 - 22.01.2017


4742 - 20170115 - BELGIË - DROGENBOS - FeliXart Museum - Drogenbos - Victor Delhez - 16.10.2016-15.01.2017


Victor Delhez (Antwerpen, 1902 - Argentinië, 1985) is één van de belangrijkste houtsnijders uit het abstract modernisme in België. Als grote vriend van Michel Seuphor begint hij met expressionistische gravures die in de eerste nummers van Het Overzicht gepubliceerd worden. Omstreeks 1923 evolueert Delhez naar abstract werk. In 1925 sterven zijn ouders in een auto-ongeval en vertrekt hij naar Argentinië, waar hij als technisch tekenaar en architect aan de slag gaat. Hij verhuist naar Bolivië om in 1940 terug te keren naar Argentinië, waar hij professor wordt aan de universiteit van Cuyo en waar hij de rest van zijn oeuvre verder zet in een magisch realistische stijl.

Toch kent hij doorheen zijn lange carrière in totaal drie abstracte periodes. In 1952 komt hij een tweede maal tot de abstracte kunst met de schertsende Bagatellino-reeks, als persiflage op de abstracte kunst. Vanaf de jaren 60 profileert hij zich als pionier van de tweede abstracte golf en richt zich met zijn kleurenversies van eerdere composities een derde keer tot de abstractie.

In Vlaanderen is vooral het symbolisch fantaisistisch werk van Delhez bekend en gewaardeerd. Het FeliXart Museum wil in een selectief overzicht het licht werpen op zijn pionierswerk en de worsteling met abstracte kunst.

Victor Delhez (Anvers 1902 - Argentine 1985) est l'un des principaux graveurs sur bois du modernisme abstrait belge. Grand ami de Michel Seuphor, il débute par des gravures expressionnistes qui sont publiées dans les premiers numéros de Het Overzicht. Autour de 1923 son oeuvre évolue vers l'abstraction. Après le décès de ses parents dans un accident de voiture en 1925, il part vivre en Argentine, où il commence à travailler comme dessinateur technique et architecte. Il déménage en Bolivie, mais reviendra en Argentine en 1940, étant devenu professeur à l'université de Cuyo. Il y poursuivra son oeuvre dans un style magico-réaliste.
Sa longue carrière est toutefois ponctuée de trois périodes abstraites. En 1952 il s'oriente une deuxième fois vers l'abstraction avec la série humoristique Bagatellino, un persiflage de l'art abstrait. A partir des années 60 il se profile comme pionnier de la seconde vague d'abstraction en réalisant des versions en couleur de ses compositions antérieures.
La Flandre connaît et apprécie surtout l'oeuvre d'orientation symbolique et fantaisiste de cet artiste. A travers un aperçu sélectif, le

FeliXart Museum - Victor Delhez - 16.10.2016-15.01.2016

4741 - 20170129 - SPAIN - MADRID - The Fauves: Passion for Colour" at Fundacion MAPFRE - 22.10.2016-29.01.2017


Maurice de Vlaminck, Restaurant de la Machine à Bougival, ca. 1905. Musée d'Orsay, donación de Max y Rosy Kaganovitch, 1973 ©Maurice de Vlaminck, VEGAP, Madrid, 2016 ©RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.
Fundación MAPFRE is presenting the exhibition The Fauves: Passion for Colour, which will remain on display from 22 October 2016 to 29 January 2017 in the Fundación’s exhibition space on Paseo de Recoletos in Madrid. The exhibition, which offers a complete and rigorous survey of Fauvism, brings together more than one hundred paintings, in addition to numerous drawings, watercolours and a selection of ceramics.

Fauvism was the first major avant-garde art movement of the 20th century. It was a controversial and exuberant one based on the exaltation of pure tones, locating the autonomy of colour at the centre of the artistic debate. Led by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, the Fauves rocked the foundations of art of the day with their innovative treatment of colour, energetic handling and freedom of execution. They championed individual autonomy and the idea of paint as a self-sufficient means of expression.

Trained in the studios of Gustave Moreau and Eugène Carrière, the Fauves grouped together around Henri Matisse in the late 1890s, producing their first works based on pure colours over the following years. A key date for these artists was October 1905 when their works were exhibited in Room VII of the Salon d’Automne. The result was a veritable scandal among visitors and in his review the critic Louis Vauxcelles employed the word fauves (wild beats in French) to describe the artists due to the powerful intensity of their tonalities in contrast to the two marble busts on display in the same room. It is certainly the case that works which now seem to us joyful and decorative appeared wild and violent in 1905 to a public still assimilating the advances of Impressionist painting. Even compared to the Post-impressionists, paintings by the Fauves have a purity and immediacy that continues to surprise us today due to the rich and unexpected results and the absence of the traditional rules applied to painting at that date.

Rather than a single, homogeneous movement, Fauvism was a brief encounter between various independent young artists who were united by ties of close friendship and shared the same pictorial concerns. Their evolution was as brilliant as it was intense: the movement lasted barely two years but its impact was remarkable due to the way that their work took up the legacy of Neo-impressionism and Post-impressionism while also laying the bases for other avant-garde movements such as Expressionism and Cubism. As such, the Fauves were the connecting link between the major artistic trends that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Despite Fauvism’s importance in the history of modern art, the movement has passed almost unnoticed in Spain and this is the first major exhibition in fifteen years to offer a complete and in-depth analysis of it. The exhibition offers a survey of Fauvism from its outset in Gustave Moreau’s studio to the group’s breakup in late 1907. It includes works by all the artists in the group: Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin, Charles Camoin, Jean Puy, Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz, Georges Braque, Georges Rouault and Kees van Dongen, placing particular emphasis on the artistic and personal ties between them.

Presenting an exhibition of this importance has only been possible through the support of more than 80 lenders. Notable among them are leading institutions such as the Tate, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Dusseldorf, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Statens Museum in Denmark, which have lent some of their most iconic works. Also essential has been the generosity of more than 30 private collectors who have agreed to lend works less familiar to the general public but of remarkable quality. The fact that the exhibition brings together key works of this movement and others that have never previously been exhibited in Spain makes this a unique opportunity to appreciate Fauvism.

The exhibition is organised as a chronological survey divided into five principal sections, allowing for a presentation of the intense stylistic evolution of the Fauve artists over barely two years. In addition, two smaller sections are devoted to drawing and ceramics, disciplines that help to reveal the versatility and creativity that characterised these young and audacious artists. In addition, the installation aims to highlight the importance of the personal and artistic ties that existed between the artists involved in the creation and evolution of the movement.

The exhibition opens with a section on the earliest pictorial experiments undertaken during their years of training by the artists who would form the Fauve group. The earliest contacts between them date from the 1980s when Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin and Charles Camoin coincided in Gustave Moreau’s studio in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Within the rigid prevailing academic system, Moreau was an unusual teacher who encouraged his pupils to express themselves freely through colour and aim for pictorial autonomy. Very soon a group of his pupils, led by Matisse and soon joined by other artists such as Jean Puy, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, began to experiment with the pure colours and expressive brushstrokes of the modern painting practised by Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne, which was exhibited at this period in Paris’s most advanced galleries. The young artists often painted together, motivated by a powerful spirit of emulation, as can be seen here in the life studies of nude figures which convey the atmosphere of the shared studio. These life studies, together with the still lifes and interiors that make up this section of the exhibition, reveal the eclecticism and audacity of these years of training and new discoveries.

The friendship that united the Fauves was crucial for the movement’s emergence and evolution. It is thus not surprising that the painters of the group frequently depicted each other, creating an extremely interesting gallery of portraits which reflects the ties between the artists and constitutes a declaration of their aesthetic ideas that reinforces the group’s identity. In these canvases each painter projected his stylistic experiments and his personal vision onto the other, as evident, for example, in the pair of portraits painted by Matisse and Derain during the summer they spent together in Collioure. For the Fauves, portraiture was more than a reflection of the artist’s perception of his sitter and rather consisted in constructing the image of his colleague through the combination of styles and personalities of the painter and that sitter. In addition, each Fauve expressed his own personality in his self-portraits, of which there are numerous examples. By emphasising their own approach and stylistic individuality in these works, the artists involved were in turn defining one the group’s principal values, namely that of artistic autonomy.

From 1904 onwards the Fauves spent increasingly lengthy periods on the Côte d’Azur. The atmosphere of the Mediterranean was a revelation for these artists and they used it to study the fall of light on colour and to significantly heighten their colours. In the summer of 1905, a key period for the group, Matisse and Derain moved to the small fishing village of Collioure where they enjoyed a period of astonishingly productive artistic collaboration which resulted in the works that caused the sensation at the Salon d’Automne of 1905. Matisse, who was notably influenced by Signac’s Neo-impressionism when he arrived in Collioure, found Derain’s youthful enthusiasm a stimulus to work with greater pictorial freedom. For his part Derain gained more confidence in his work through the support of Matisse who was ten years his senior and already enjoyed some reputation as an artist. Over the course of that summer the two painters freed themselves from the rigidity of the Pointillist technique in works such as Figure à l’ombrelle by Matisse and Bateaux à Collioure by Derain, creating a varied, daring and spontaneous technique to be seen in works such as Le Faubourg de Collioure.

The same year, Camoin, Manguin and Marquet spent the summer on the Côte d’Azur. Manguin stayed with his family in a villa with a large garden on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez. This privacy allowed him to use his wife Jeanne as a model in both delicate domestic scenes and interesting nude studies in natural settings. On occasions he met up with his colleagues Marquet and Camoin who were visiting different locations in the area such as Cassis, Agay and Marseilles. There they painted landscapes with intense, daring colours but without the freedom of expression evident in Derain and Matisse’s works.

Vlaminck worked by himself in Chatou, painting vertiginous landscapes of saturated colours. He was always considered the wildest of the Fauves and was probably the only one of these painters to whom the term “wild beast” can truly be applied. Joking and irreverent by nature, Vlaminck’s painting is characterised by a use of unconventional colours and a dynamic, impetuous brushstroke. He was without doubt the most powerful and expressive of the group.

The scandal caused by these paintings at the Salon d’Automne in 1905 strengthened the Fauves’ identity and from that date onwards they regularly exhibited in Paris’s modern art galleries and enjoyed the support of dealers such as Vollard. Commissioned by the latter, Derain made three trips to London where he produced some of Fauvism’s most spectacular paintings. In these works Derain offered a new image of the British capital through his use of fierce colours in works that were totally divorced from any naturalistic description and possessed of enormous stylistic variety In Paris, Marquet also produced an important series of urban views in more muted tones but with an astonishing capacity to convey the city’s atmosphere, discarding details and focusing on the essential. Vlaminck, in contrast, continued to paint on the outskirts of Chatou, focusing his attention on the vibration of the landscape and using increasingly expressionist and exuberant colours that led to a simplification of the volumes through an overflowing, anarchic and vibrant technique.

In early 1906 three painters from Le Havre joined the group: Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz and Georges Braque, who breathed new life into the movement in a dazzling manner, given that the original members from Moreau’s studio had begun to abandon their intense chromatism. They adopted the habit of painting in “teams” as the earlier Fauves had done: Marquet and Dufy travelled along the Normandy coast together, sharing subjects such as the beach and pier at Sainte-Adresse. Braque and Friesz meanwhile spent part of the summer painting together in Antwerp before going on to L’Estaque and La Ciotat, small fishing villages near Marseilles where they spent the winter. Once again the Mediterranean light of these places inspired them to heighten the tone of their palette and create brilliant paintings with exaggerated colours and serpentine forms.

The exhibition concludes with a group of paintings that reveal the different paths taken by the Fauve painters from 1907. While from its outset the movement essentially focused on landscape, many of the artists involved were notably interested in Parisian night-life, a theme that was typical of the avant-garde in general. Vlaminck, Rouault and Van Dongen depicted this world of prostitutes and circus people with enormous immediacy and dynamism using heightened colours and extremely expressive, violent brushstrokes which to some extent connect to the Expressionist painting that was emerging at this period outside France.

Cézanne had died in October 1906 and an important retrospective was organised in his honour at the Salon d’Automne of 1907. Despite the fact that Cézanne’s influence had been markedly present in the Fauves’ style since their earliest years, the rediscovery of his work together with their discovery of primitive sculpture and the impact of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon provoked a rapid abandonment of colour in favour of line and form. This renewed interest in Cézanne was expressed in an important series of bathers, depicted with extremely monumental figures and increasingly muted palettes. In addition, some of the Fauves such as Braque, Derain and Dufy assimilated Cézanne’s new vision of order and of the structure of nature, giving rise to a geometry of forms close to Cubism. For this reason the last section of the exhibition analyses this step from Cézannesque Fauvism to the onset of Cubism.

This section also includes a group of ceramics that establishes an interesting dialogue with paintings created during the last phase of Fauvism.
 Fundación MAPFRE - The Fauves: Passion for Colour" - 22.10.2016-29.01.2017