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Picasso, Beckmann, Nolde and Modernity
Masterpieces from Early Private Collections in Hamburg
23 March - 17 Juni 2001

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.
Lovis CorinthThe 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 many others.
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.

Paula Modersohn- Becker

Hamburger Kunsthalle Glockengießerwall 20095 Hamburg
Telephone 040 - 428 131 200 Facsimile 040 - 428 54 34 09
e-mail: info@hamburger-kunsthalle.de