Kunsthaus Zürich: Romanticism in Switzerland & Ottilie W. Roederstein

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Ottilie W. Roederstein, Self-Portrait with Hat, 1904, oil on canvas, 55.3 x 46.1 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, photograph © Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Ottilie W. Roederstein, Self-Portrait with Hat, 1904, oil on canvas, 55.3 x 46.1 cm, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, photograph © Städel Museum, Frankfurt on the Main
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The Kunsthaus offers attractive exhibitions of international format and one of the largest art collections in Switzerland, from the 13th century to the present day. Here are the current exhibitions:

Wild at heart. Romanticism in Switzerland
Until 14 February 2021, the Kunsthaus is entirely under the sign of Romanticism. With more than 150 works, the exhibition spans an arc from Johann Heinrich Füssli to Alexandre Calame and the early Arnold Böcklin. It shows the eminent contribution made by Swiss artists to the development of European landscape painting, follows them to academies abroad and reveals the close ties that existed between the painters. With the involvement of renowned Romantic painters from neighbouring countries such as Caspar David Friedrich, Eugène Delacroix and William Turner, this overview pays tribute to the Swiss contribution to Romanticism from an international perspective.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Romanticism unfolded in Europe. Artists began to create works that emphasized the feelings and fascination for the inexplicable over the sober and rational art of classicism. In Switzerland, people discovered the native landscape as a pictorial motif and captured the majestic mountain world and the eternal ice of the glaciers on canvases. Curator Jonas Beyer has devoted himself to this central artistic epoch of the country, which has so far only been examined in many individual aspects.
The focus on a romanticism typically Swiss in character provides a deeper insight into the interplay between site-specific influences and international networking. The special spirit of new beginnings that characterized Swiss art of this period is articulated in the lively exchange with artists from neighboring countries. The public can experience this through thematically grouped paintings, drawings and films in the 1000 square meter exhibition hall. An exhibition of this dimension was made possible by precious loans from Swiss collections and the integration of top-class works from Germany, Austria, Great Britain and France. The list of artists ranges from pre-Romantic painters of the rank of Caspar Wolf and Johann Heinrich Wüest to well-known names from the Romantic period, including the Swiss Alexandre Calame, Charles Gleyre and Léopold Robert, to international greats such as Eugène Delacroix, Caspar David Friedrich and William Turner. The fact that the romantic ideas of the late 18th and early 19th centuries resonate in the present is demonstrated by the video works "Everything is going to be alright" by Guido van der Werve, "Projection (matin)" by Remy Zaugg and "Travel" by David Claerbout.
Until February 14, 2021

Ottilie W. Roederstein
Ottilie W. Roederstein was one of the most important painters of her generation and the most important Swiss portraitist of early modernism.
The contemporary, who often represented Switzerland abroad as the only woman besides Hodler, Amiet and Giacometti, will be honoured with a retrospective at the Kunsthaus Zurich from 18 December 2020 to 5 April 2021.
Ottilie Wilhelmine Roederstein (1859-1937) was the most important Swiss painter during her lifetime. Not only in her home country, but also in Germany and France, she was highly acclaimed for her portraits and still lifes, and from 1883 onwards exhibited her paintings successfully in Paris, London, Frankfurt am Main and Chicago. In 1912 she was the only artist to represent Switzerland at the epoch-making "International Art Exhibition of the Sonderbund" in Cologne - alongside male colleagues such as Ferdinand Hodler, Giovanni Giacometti and Cuno Amiet. Despite her once international esteem, Roederstein fell into oblivion almost immediately after her death. After more than 80 years, the exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich, with some 70 works, is the first monographic show of her work in Switzerland to make the stylistically diverse oeuvre of the artist accessible to a broad public again.
Roederstein, who signed with the abbreviation OWR, worked specifically for the art market to earn her living as a freelance artist. She adhered to the conventions intended for female artists. This is evident at the beginning of her career through the use of a dark-toned colour palette and the choice of her pictorial subjects, the portraits and still lifes. Nevertheless, Roederstein crossed the terrain intended for women painters at an early stage, also venturing into religious pictures and nudes. Inspired by her involvement with works of the Italian and German Renaissance, she began tempera painting around 1893. This technique, which was revived throughout Europe at the end of the 19th century, was regarded as both traditional and avant-garde. In her more mature work, Roederstein increasingly opened herself to other currents and incorporated both impressio- nistic and symbolistic elements. In the 1920s she found her own objective and sober visual language. Her numerous self-portraits play an important role in her work. The exhibition, conceived by curator Sandra Gianfreda with a representative selection of paintings and drawings, follows Roederstein's most important stations in his life chronologically - Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt am Main and Hofheim am Taunus. The show is enriched by previously unpublished photographic and archive material. The Kunsthaus, which acquired works by the artist as early as the 1890s and showed them in 15 solo and group exhibitions until 1934, is represented with around a dozen works from its own collection.
18 December 2020 until 5 April 2021

Episode 13