This exhibition considers two centuries of remarkable draftsmanship in Germany. The exhibition begins in 1800 with landscape and still life drawings, and includes Expressionist drawings from the first two decades of the 20th century and German Realist drawings of the 1920's, and finally concludes with drawings by post-War and contemporary German artists.
The age of Goethe, from 1750 to 1850, is named for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe whose poetry and novels shaped German thought and culture during the period. Goethe was also a connoisseur of works on paper. His vast collection included French, Italian and Flemish Masters as well as the German artists of the Romantic school. The artists of this era represented in the exhibition are Johann von Dillis, Wilhelm von Kobell, Heinrich Dreber, Friedrich Olivier, and Friedrich Salathé.
With the rise of Expressionism at the beginning of the 20th century, many artists looked back to and referred in their work to the rich graphic tradition in Germany, specifically to the art of Albrecht Dürer and German Romanticism. Drawings by Lovis Corinth, Erich Heckel, and Ernst Kirchner will be included.
Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement of the 1920's was powerfully influenced by the destruction of World War I and the social upheaval left in its aftermath. In contrast to the artists of the previous generation, these artists were drawn to the harsh realities of everyday life. They sketched and drew incessantly, documenting the social and political changes taking place around them. Works by Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Hubbuch, Max Beckmann, Otto Griebel, Carl Grossberg, and Erich Wegner represent Neue Sachlichkeit.
After the Nazis declared most early 20th century art to be degenerate, creative practice in Germany was effectively stilled for over a decade. Then Joseph Beuys, followed by Georg Baselitz, began the reconstruction of Germany's artistic tradition in the 1950's. A.R. Penck, Jörg Immendorff, Martin Kippenberger, Dieter Roth, Erwin Pfrang, Rosemarie Trockel, and Albert Oehlen are also included in the exhibition.