NEW YORK – On November 11, Neue Galerie New York opened Modern Worlds: Austrian and German Art, 1890-1940, an exhibition of major works of Austrian and German fine art and design from the permanent collection.
The presentation, organized in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of Neue Galerie New York, will fill the entirety of its landmark Museum Mile building. The opening of this exhibition will offer visitors access to all of the galleries for the first time since March 2020, when the Neue Galerie, along with museums in New York and around the world, shuttered in response to the pandemic.
On view through March 13, 2022, Modern Worlds: Austrian and German Art, 1890-1940 underscores the Neue Galerie’s unique mission to bring a sense of perspective back to Germanic culture of this period, and to make the best of this work available to American and other audiences for both scholarly and aesthetic inquiry. Since the museum opened in November 2001, it has presented a range of exhibitions, each exploring a distinct aspect of the innovative, modern spirit discovered and pursued by artists and designers in Austria and Germany at the turn of the 20th century. This exhibition acknowledges the continued growth and evolution of the museum. Major acquisitions have augmented the Neue Galerie’s holdings, and one of the highlights of the presentation will be Carl Moll’s 1905 work, White Interior, to be displayed at the Neue Galerie for the first time.
Highlights from the museum’s Austrian collection will be featured on the second floor, including Carl Moll’s 1905 White Interior, to be displayed for the first time at the Neue Galerie. White Interior is a remarkable painting that vividly evokes the world of Vienna 1900. It encapsulates various aspects of that era, including the fascination with the arts of Japan and a desire to unite art and life in a cohesive whole. The work even encompasses fashion as the woman portrayed, Berta Zuckerkandl (nee Szeps), poses in an artistic reform dress. It is an early depiction of a Gesamtkunstwerk, or total-work-of-art, environment in the style of Josef Hoffmann.
The Neue Galerie is renowned for significant paintings by Gustav Klimt. Klimt’s 1907 masterpiece Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I and related preparatory sketches will be on view, as well as various landscapes the artist painted during the summer months spent on the Attersee, including the 1914 Forester’s House in Weissenbach I.
Egon Schiele will also be prominently represented with a rich selection of his tour-de-force works on paper. The late canvas from 1917, Town among the Greenery (The Old City III), is another important highlight and atypical for the inclusion of figures in the landscape. Alongside Schiele’s work, an array of Expressionist canvases by his peers, Richard Gerstl and Oskar Kokoschka, underscore the radical efforts by these artists to reconceive the approach to formal portraiture.
In the decorative arts, works made by the Wiener Werkstatte (Vienna Workshops, 1903-32) are another strength. Rare designs by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Dagobert Peche will be shown in an array of media. Especially noteworthy is a group of unique jeweled and almost painterly objects by Hoffmann, including a 1912 tobacco case once owned by collector Otto Primavesi.
Simultaneous with the Austrian Expressionist movement, avant-garde initiatives occurred in Germany in the Brucke (Bridge) and Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) groups with groundbreaking results realized vis-a-vis the use of color and form. Works by German artists from the collection will be presented on the third floor.
Prominent examples of work by Brucke artists will be on view, including Erich Heckel’s 1908 Bathers in a Pond, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s 1914-15 Berlin Street Scene, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s 1910 Landscape with Houses and Trees (Dangast before the Storm). For the Blaue Reiter, Vasily Kandinsky’s Murnau: Street with Women of 1908, and Gabriele Munter’s 1912 Woman in Garden are especially noteworthy. The Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement is also addressed with notable selections, such as works by Otto Dix, including the 1921 Portrait of the Lawyer Dr. Fritz Glaser, George Grosz’s 1926 John Forste, Man with Glass Eye, and Christian Schad’s 1928 Two Girls.
The diversity of the artwork associated with the Bauhaus is vividly illustrated in the canvases of Lyonel Feininger, such as his 1925 The Blue Cloud, Paul Klee’s 1925 Mystical-Ceramic (in the Manner of a Still-Life), Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s A XI of 1923, and Oskar Schlemmer’s 1929 Five Nudes. In the decorative arts, iconic designs by Bauhaus artists, such as Theodor Bogler, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Wilhelm Wagenfeld confirm the prestigious legacy of the school, its faculty, and its students.
Organization and Sponsorship
Modern Worlds: Austrian and German Art, 1890-1940 is organized by Neue Galerie New York. The exhibition is jointly curated by Olaf Peters, Renee Price, and Janis Staggs. Peters, a scholar on Weimar-era art, is a renowned art history professor at Martin-Luther-Universitat in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, a member of the Neue Galerie’s board, and has curated numerous acclaimed exhibitions for the museum, including Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s (2018), Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933 (2015-16), Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 (2014). Staggs, Director of Curatorial and Manager of Publications at the Neue Galerie, has organized numerous exhibitions at the museum, including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (2019-20), Wiener Werkstatte 1903-1932: The Luxury of Beauty (2017), Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold (2015), and Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry (2008), among others. Price is the Neue Galerie’s founding Director, and has shepherded the mission of the museum since its inception. The exhibition is designed by Fernando Eguchi.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the Neue Galerie’s President’s Circle.