Private collecting has a long tradition in Hamburg.
This fact is surprising and has never been examined extensively. Thus,
with the collection of Consul Eduard F. Weber the most important private
gallery of old masters in Germany was in Hamburg up until its sale
by auction in 1912.
The exhibition will concentrate on the subject of the collecting of
modern i.e. at that time contemporary art. Here Hamburg's private
collectors also compiled important, even epoch-making collections.
The history of contemporary art, extending from French impressionism,
to expressionism in Germany and even to abstract art was documented
in Hamburg's collections with major artefacts.
development of modern art in Germany could not be conceivable without
the early and engaged commitment of personalities such as District
Court Judge Gustav Schiefler, the married couple Martha and Paul Rauert,
the art historian Rosa Shapire, the salesman Max Leon Flemming and
Apart from a few works nearly all of these collections which were
founded in Hamburg were dissolved by the end of the twenties.
Although Alfred Lichtwark, the first director of the Kunsthalle, was
an advocate of modern art and acquired impressionist paintings for
the museum, the private collectors on the whole founded their collections
autonomously and independent of the Kunsthalle and thus these retained
always their individual character.
In a few cases, such as with Th. Behrens or M.L. Flemming, the private
collections were far more important than that of the Kunsthalle. It
was also the private collectors who around 1908, at first, discover
the modern art movement "Die Brücke" in Dresden and other modern
developments in art and to some extent acquired these. The exhibition
in Hamburg would like to draw special attention to the importance
of these former collections. A selection of the most qualitative works,
which were formerly in private possession in Hamburg, aims to recall
this forgotten chapter of Hanseatic cultural history.
The exhibition will show paintings, sculptures and graphics from the
French impressionists such as Eduard Manet, Claude Monet and Paul
CÚzanne, their German colleagues Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth
as well as works by Chagall and Picasso and the expresionists Emil
Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner or Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
The exhibition will be supplemented by a handbook-catalogue which,
for the first time, will examine and document this subject.