Kunst Museum Winterthur: Expressionism Switzerland

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Herman Scherer, The Painter, c. 1925, private collection
Herman Scherer, The Painter, c. 1925, private collection
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With over 120 works by more than 40 artists, the Kunst Museum Winterthur presents a major survey show on Expressionism in Switzerland. The exhibition with works of art from all four parts of the country makes it possible to comprehensively experience the pioneering movement of the 20th century and to rediscover artists who have received little attention up to now.
Expressionism is one of the most important and influential art movements in Switzerland in the 20th century. As in Germany and France, where new experiments were dared with Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Futurism, Swiss artists also took up the new formal language at the beginning of the 20th century, which was characterised by a sometimes uninhibited use of colour. Their aim was no longer to depict the real world but to question their own inner selves and express subjective worlds of feeling.
In view of the historical upheavals of the First World War, the national strike and the Russian Revolution, the traditional bourgeois norms seemed to have failed - a fresh, wild and radical art was the answer. United in artist groups and at the same time always acting as individuals, the artists experimented with bright colours and expressive forms. In addition to socially critical content and the search for identity in self-portraits, they also explored timeless themes such as still life and the native landscape.
Zurich, as a pulsating big city, attracted young artists, and Basel became a late but important centre of Expressionism in the 1920s with the "Red-Blue" group. Here, the work of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who had settled in Davos in 1918 and reoriented his work there under the influence of the Swiss mountains, was particularly exemplary.
The hitherto little-noticed regions of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino are prominently represented. French-speaking Switzerland, traditionally oriented towards France and Paris, remained reserved in its reception of Fauvism, but had two important representatives of the expressive avant-garde in Hans Berger and Alice Bailly. Ticino, on the other hand, became a retreat not only for local artists who sought to escape the confines of the bourgeoisie, but also for international artists. Among them were Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin as well as the members of the little-known artist group "Orsa Maggiore".
The exhibition at the Kunst Museum Winterthur shows over 120 works from the various art regions on two floors. In addition to important oil paintings and sculptures, numerous drawings and prints will also be on display. The exhibition will then be shown in a modified form in the Vogelmann Art Gallery of the Heilbronn Municipal Museums.
10 July 2021 to 16 January 2022, Reinhart am Stadtgarten

Episode 30