Hamburger Kunsthalle Receives Gift of David Novros’ Largest Portable Mural

On the occasion of David Novros' 80th birthday on 8 August 2021, the Hamburger Kunsthalle has accepted his large-scale work Four Seasons (1974) from the Lafrenz family as a donation from their collection. David Novros, born in Los Angeles in 1941 and living in New York, is one of the most important American painters of his generation. David Novros is counted among the most important painters of his day. He belongs to a generation of artists who have explored the possibilities of painting with an analytical eye and has developed independent and entirely new forms of expression. Novros’s work, drawing on both European fresco and Native American wall painting, manifests a tonal and formal power that is at once ntellectually stimulating and visually stunning. His works can be found in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago and the Menil Collection in Houston.

Since the founding of the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1869, gifts and donations from private collectors have been invaluable for the expansion and further develop­ment of the collection, one of the leading public art collections in Germany, with works that are in demand internationally.

Novros’s four-part oil painting, which is over ten metres long and almost four metres high, is the largest of what he calls portable murals, a modular painting technique he developed. Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerto cycle, from which the work borrows its title, provided the inspiration and formal model for the four-part composition. Like a musical beat, Novros introduces a colour-based metre that structures the individual movements, i.e., the horizontal and vertical rectangular panels. Proceeding in reading direction from left to right, Novros’s picture follows Vivaldi’s sequence from spring to winter, with an ascending lightening followed by a descending darkening. In addition the arrangement of the four panels on the wall provides a visual correspondence to crescendo and decrescendo as a horizontal element is followed by two verticals and then another horizontal.

The donation is a significant addition to the Kunst der Gegenwart collection. The work »Four Seasons« can be seen until 5 September 2021 in the collection presentation Back then has always been now. Painting since 1947 reconsidered can be seen in a new presentation.