The Städel Museum is dedicating a comprehensive exhibition to the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) from 23 October 2019 to 16 February 2020. The focus is on the emergence of the "Myth of van Gogh" around 1900 and the significance of his art for modernism in Germany. With 50 central works by van Gogh, the exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation of the painter's works in Germany in almost 20 years.
MAKING VAN GOGH thematizes the special role that gallery owners, museums, private collectors, and art critics played in Germany in the early 20th century for the posthumous reception of van Gogh as the "father of modernity. Almost 15 years after his death, the Dutch artist was perceived here as one of the most important pioneers of modern painting. Van Gogh's life and work met with broad and sustained public interest; his art was collected unusually early in his life in Germany. Already in 1914 the enormous number of around 150 works by van Gogh was in German private and public collections. At the same time, German artists began to engage intensively with his works. For the young Expressionists in particular, van Gogh's painting became a role model and a major source of inspiration - without his art, the emergence of Modernism in Germany would be inconceivable.
The success story of van Gogh is closely linked to the Städel. In 1908, the Frankfurt Museum was one of the first museums to acquire the painting Bauernhaus in Nuenen (1885) and the drawing Kartoffelpflanzerin (Potato Grower) (1885) for the establishment of a modern art collection by the Städel Museum Society. Three years later, one of van Gogh's most famous paintings came into the museum, the Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890).
In three large chapters, the exhibition tells of the origins and effects of the "Myth of van Gogh" in Germany. How did it happen that van Gogh became so incredibly popular in Germany? Who was involved in his work and how did the artists react to him? The exhibition shows van Gogh as a key figure in the art of the German avant-garde and thus makes a decisive contribution to understanding the development of art in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Städel unites more than 120 paintings and works on paper in the exhibition. The core consists of 50 central works by Vincent van Gogh from all creative phases. On display are outstanding loans from private collections and leading museums worldwide. The influence and impact of van Gogh on the next generation are illustrated in the exhibition by 70 works by German artists, including well-known names such as Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alexej von Jawlensky, Paula Modersohn-Becker and Gabriele Münter, as well as rediscoverable positions by Peter August Böckstiegel, Theo von Brockhusen, Heinrich Nauen and Elsa Tischner-von Durant.