The Berlinische Galerie presents about 250 works from its collection in a richly faceted chronological tour through the art of Berlin from 1880 to 1980. They range from paintings of the late 19th century, when the Kaiser reigned and tastes were largely determined by the moneyed classes, via Expressionism and the East European avant-garde to post-war modern architecture and the “wild” works of the seventies.
Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the Collection, this is a dialogue between major works of painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and architecture. They illustrate the diversity of artistic styles and techniques, and also the tensions, antagonisms and radical shifts which have been such hallmarks of Berlin as a hub of the arts until the present day. As a modern metropolis attracting more young artists from all over the world than ever before, Berlin is still caught up in the constant whirl of new departures.
Significant works, key artists and styles
In the Fine Arts, there are paintings and sculptures by great artists such as Max Liebermann, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Naum Gabo and Wolf Vostell. There is also a chance to discover works by lesser-known protagonists of Impressionism, Expressionism, the East European avantgarde, New Objectivity, Art Informel and the figurative art of the 1960s and 1970s. We make a special effort to recall those artists who had slipped into oblivion as a result of the two World Wars and, in particular, the repression suffered by art and artists during the Nazi regime, such as Felix Nussbaum, Hannah Höch and Werner Heldt.
The Berlinische Galerie boasts one of Germany’s major collections of artistic Photography, reflecting the significant role Berlin played in the medium’s history from about 1900 until 1980. On display at the moment are early street photographs from around 1900 (Heinrich Zille), modernist works from the 1920s (Steffi Brandl, Fritz Brill), photojournalism of the same period (Erich Salomon, Felix H. Man), Nazi propaganda images from the magazine “Volk und Welt”, pictures of the aftermath of World War II (Yevgeni Khaldei and Ivan Mikhailovitch Shagin), “subjective photography” from the 1950s (Fritz Kühn) and the young movement of Autorenfotografie in the 1970s (Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer).
Highlights in the collection of Prints and Drawings include a considerable volume of output from Dada (Hannah Höch and others), New Objectivity (Jeanne Mammen, Gertrude Sandmann) and the post-war period from 1945 (Hans Uhlmann, Werner Heldt). While a major show on Jeanne Mammen is planned for 2017, others such as Gertrude Sandmann and Hans Uhlmann convey a sense of the difficult years between 1933 and 1945, and the drawings by Werner Heldt are tinged with the melancholy of reconstruction after 1945.
Apart from the model of the Star Church (designed in 1921/1922 by Otto Bartning) and the films and photographs recording projects of the 1930s (Hermann Kaspar, Albert Speer), the Architecture collection offers plans, sketches, photographs and models to illustrate important schemes and buildings in Berlin during the period known as post-war modernism (1950s to early 1970s).
The Artists’ Archives, full of catalogues, magazines, historical photographs and sales records, trace early approaches to publicising modern art. Beginning with the pioneering exhibitions of the Berlin Secession, the pathway leads to the revolutionary ethos of the Weimar Republic. Innovative strategies such as postcards created by artists, published by Herwarth Walden for his gallery Der Sturm, can be explored alongside exhibition guides by the Novembergruppe designed to reach a new audience.
Individual works in the Presentation from the Collection are replaced at irregular intervals because they also have a role to play as loans. Besides, photographs and prints that are particularly sensitive to light are switched over on grounds of conservation. To find out what is currently on display, consult Collection Online on our website www.berlinischegalerie.de.
To mark the Month of Photography, one room has been devoted to Erich Salomon (01.10.2016–28.02.2017). He was one of the best-known pictorial journalists of the 1920s, not to mention one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. The second Thomas Friedrich Scholarship has been used to explore “The unknown Erich Salomon” and unearth new aspects of his self-marketing techniques, which are set out here.
The drawings on temporary display include five from Hans Uhlmann’s Tegel sketchbook: they depict wire heads, designs for sculptures he made secretly in the years 1935-1945. He kept the sketchbook in prison in 1933-1935. Uhlmann had been arrested for distributing antifascist leaflets and was sent down for “preparing acts of high treason” (02.06–05.12.2016).
Until May 2017, photographs, drawings and models will change at regular intervals to highlight the work of the following architects and partnerships as examples of post-war modernism in Berlin during the 1960s and early 1970s: Candilis-Josic-Woods and Schiedhelm, Rolf Gutbrod and Frei Otto, Sergius Ruegenberg. The displays will include the plans for the Freie Universität in Berlin, the Centre Pompidou in Paris (competition entry, 2nd Prize, not implemented) and the German Pavilion for EXPO 67 in Montreal (designs and implementation).
Artists (selected): Otto Bartning, Max Beckmann, Rudolf Belling, Steffi Brandl, Fritz Brill, Candilis-Josic-Woods and Schiedhelm, Robert Capa, Otto Dix, Rainer Fetting, Naum Gabo, Rolf Gutbrod and Frei Otto, Werner Heldt, Hannah Höch, Hermann Kaspar, Yevgeny Khaldei, Oskar Kokoschka, Fritz Kühn, Max Liebermann, Walter Leistikow, Jeanne Mammen, Ludwig Meidner, Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer, Felix Nussbaum, Iwan Puni, Sergius Ruegenberg, Erich Salomon, Gertrude Sandmann, Iwan Michailowitsch Schagin, Eugen Schönebeck, Fred Thieler, Hans Uhlmann, Wolf Vostell, Julie Wolfthorn, Anton von Werner, Heinrich Zille.