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Surreal Worlds
Masterpieces from a private collection
Piranesi Goya Redon Klinger Kubin Ernst Dali Magritte Klee Bellmer Wols Dubuffet

18 February-7 May 2000


"Surreal worlds" ventures beyond the traditional, narrow definition of surrealism. Beginning in the 18th century with Piranesi's monumental, utopian prison architectures, the Carceri, and reaching into the second half of the 20th century, the exhibition revolves around the question of reality and its dramatic fractures. In the graphic work of Meryon, Bresdin or Manet the world is presented as a brittle surface of reality, while what is concealed beneath is depicted in the rare and as yet unknown ink drawings by the writer Victor Hugo. Also on show are the ten original drawings for Max Klinger's series of etchings entitled "Ein Handschuh" (A glove), where the question of reality is subjected to a psychological examination. In the work of Odilon Redon, James Ensor and Alfred Kubin, on the other hand, the world makes a turn into the realm of the absurd. Redon in particular is featured here with an outstanding group of works.

The main phase of surrealism is portrayed in a fascinating variety of works by de Chirico, Carrà, Miro, Tanguy, Schwitters, Salvador Dali, Picasso and Magritte. Particular emphasis is placed on the work of Max Ernst, represented here by a series of important paintings, collages and frottages. The inclusion of some 30 works by Paul Klee underlines the proximity of his poetic work to the "surreal worlds".

The exhibition is rounded off by extensive groups of work by Wols and Jean Dubuffet. The small, fragile microcosms portrayed in Wols' delicate watercolours and pen drawings seem to consciously evade singular perception. Equally delicate work can be seen in the rare, fragile collages of butterfly wings by Jean Dubuffet, which are featured along with a number of paintings and drawings.

The over 200 works in the exhibition come from a north German private collection being shown to the public for the first time. After Hamburg, "Surreal Worlds" will tour to the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal and the Kunsthalle Tübingen. A richly illustrated catalogue is available. The exhibition is supported by Sal. Oppenheim & Cie.

Hamburger Kunsthalle Glockengießerwall 20095 Hamburg
Telephone 040 - 428 131 200 Facsimile 040 - 428 54 34 09