Saturday, November 13, 2010

Berlin museums 6 -- Neue Nationalgalerie

I wrote earlier about the powerful paintings in this museum depicting Germany between the wars.  Today let's step back in time and look at some Expressionist art, mainly from before the war.  This was a pivotal time -- artists had abandoned the classical requirements that paintings should represent reality in terms of color, and that sizes and shapes should obey the rules of perspective.  But they still were drawing recognizable objects.  Within a year of this first painting, Kandinsky would blaze the trail into abstraction.

Wassily Kandinsky, Skizze: Reiter (Sketch: Rider), 1909

Marianne von Werefkin, Prozession bei Ascona (Procession near Ascona), 1924

Emil Nolde, Pfingsten (Pentecost), 1909

I am a big fan of still lifes, so took a lot of pictures of them.

Oskar Kokoschka, Steilleben mit Ananas (Still Life with Pineapples), 1909

Hans Purrmann, Stilleben (Still Life), 1908

Lyonel Feininger, Stilleben mit Pinseln (Still Life with Brushes), 1915


  1. Love these! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. interesting in looking back. The first 2 feel like they aren't helped at all with such a heavy frame. you want to look at the work with out them being contained so strongly.

    Makes you wonder when thinner frames came into vogue. Was it with the abstract pieces because the old style frame was too heavy?
    Sandy in the UK

  3. Sandy, you raise an interesting question. Thought I would try to find an answer but was frustrated in my google attempts. "Frames on paintings out of fashion" brought me a history of picture frame styles and lots of sits from picture framers. "Frames on paintings disappear" gave me stories on art heists where the perps cut the picture out of the frame and left it hanging in the museum. Other tries also yielded nothing.

    I recall having read about this somewhere and think that it had nothing to do with logistics such as weight, but was a deliberate conceptual decision. Can't recall whether it had to do with abandoning the classical idea of the painting as a "view through a window" or with abandoning all things traditional on general principles.

  4. If you find it Kathy, I would be interested.
    when I said old style frames too heavy, I meant visually. So, probably in line with conceptual decision...abandoning view through a window look.
    Sandy in the UK