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The Classical Modern

In 1913, at the Cohen Art Salon in Bonn, August Macke organized the “Exhibition of Rhenish Expressionists”, which showed works by 16 artists. The exhibition heralded the conviction and claim that, in addition to the “Brücke” in Dresden and Berlin, and the “Blauer Reiter” in Munich, in the western part of Germany there was another center for German art. In their art, Rhenish artists, such as Franz Seraph Henseler, Franz M. Jansen, Helmuth Macke, Carlo Mense, Heinrich Nauen, Paul Adolf Seehaus and Hans Thuar oriented themselves mainly to the west, to French art, and, with restrained expressive gestures, remained dedicated to a rather poetic portrayal of reality, not lastly taking their motifs from the landscape of the Rhineland. Early on, when making its purchases the Kunstmuseum concentrated on those artists who took part in the Bonn exhibition in 1913. Thus, a representative survey of the various aspects and goals of Rhenish Expressionism has been the result.

In addition, the Kunstmuseum acquired a series of pictures, which place the works of August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists in the context of the Classical Modern. Of particular significance is, among other things, the painting Formes circulaires, Lune N°2 (1913) by Robert Delaunay, who was the first artist to develop the model of a non-objective art solely from color. Works by Alexei Javlensky and Heinrich Campendonk, who participated both in the circle of Rhenish Expressionists as well as in the Exhibitions of the Blauer Reiter, broaden the spectrum as do pieces of art from the Brücke, including paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

 

Robert Delaunay, Formes circulaieres, Lune No 2, 1913
Alexej Jawlensky, Mädchen mit niedergeschlagenen Augen, um 1912 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010
Heinrich Nauen, Herbstwald, 1911 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010
Hans Thuar, Drei Frauen im Grünen, 1912