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Staatsgalerie Stuttgart offers a journey through two hundred years of art history
Pablo Picasso, The Open Window (The Artist's Studio), 1929, oil on canvas, 130 x 162 cm Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Sammlung Steegmann, © Succession Picasso / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

STUTTGART.- For the first time, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart’s 2012 Large State Exhibition is paying tribute to the importance of the artist’s studio and its depiction in modern art in a comprehensive survey. In the various media of painting, photography and video art as well as in major installations, the exhibition presents nearly two hundred works spanning the epochs from Romanticism to the present in suspenseful and often unexpected dialogues. Exploring the studio depiction as the point of departure for self-reflection and self-presentation on the part of the artist, the exhibition poses the question as to how art conceives of itself.

The Studio in the Nineteenth Century: Hermitage, Salon, Firmament
In the early nineteenth century, the studio – as the arena of artistic creation – becomes a core theme in art. In Romanticism it offers such painters as Caspar David Friedrich and Carl Gustav Carus a retreat for concentration on inner pictorial worlds; in Frédéric Bazille’s “Studio” it is envisioned as a refuge for artists ostracized from society as members of the Impressionist milieu. Yet the artist’s studio also undergoes a virtually cultic process of gentrification as a sumptuous setting for the self-staging of “painter-princes” like Hans Makart.

The Studio in the Modernist Period: Life Theme and Anti-Bourgeois Affirmation
In the early modernist era, artists’ preoccupation with the subject of the studio intensifies. Prominent studio scenes of the early twentieth century such as the “Painter’s Studio at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin” (1902) by Max Liebermann form the transition to key works of “classical” modern art by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, René Magritte, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gabriele Münter, Giorgio de Chirico, Georges Braque, Max Beckmann and others. An entire room, featuring photographs, sculptures, paintings and original fragments of the artist’s studio wall, is devoted to Alberto Giacometti.

A faithful reconstruction of Piet Mondrian’s workroom will provide visitors with a vivid means of investigating the studio theme. From 1921 to 1936, Mondrian lived in the Rue du Départ 26 in Paris in a studio room 32 square metres in size. We are hitherto familiar with the constructivist style he so rigorously pursued through his compositions in black, white and the primary colours – the replication of his studio allows us literally to enter and experience his conception of art three-dimensionally.

The Depiction of the Studio in the Present: Factory, Office and Social Network
Beginning in the sixties, the studio once again became the subject of intense – to an extent critical and satirical – preoccupation with the myth of the artist and his studio. Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Paul McCarthy and Lois Renner broadened the theme with regard to media by making the studio the subject of installations, video art and computer technology – but also with regard to content, by configuring the artist’s workshop as a combination living space, laboratory and stage.

Paul McCarthy in his video work “Painter “(1995) and Jonathan Meese in the video installation “The Fairy Tale Prince” (2007) take what are perhaps the most critical – indeed, parodic – views of the studio as workshop and myth.

Among the most prominent works featured in the show is the seven-channel installation “Mapping the Studio” (2001) by Bruce Nauman, and one of the most recent works is the astonishingly “messy” studio scene “Room 758 from the ‘Raft’ Series” painted by Ben Willikens in 2010.

Numerous works from well-known museums and collections worldwide
The exhibition curator, Dr. Ina Conzen, was able to obtain the support of numerous prominent lenders in Germany and abroad for the show.

In addition to the two central workshop scenes “Studio with Plaster Head “(1925) and “The Studio” (1927/28) by Picasso from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a work not presented in Europe for many decades – Henri Matisse’s “Three O’Clock Sitting “ (1924) from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art – traveled to Stuttgart for the exhibition.

Among the further outstanding loans are Carl Spitzweg’s “The Poor Poet” from the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the famous painting “The Human Condition (La condition humaine)” (1933) by René Magritte from the National Gallery in Washington, Picasso’s dark variation on “Las Meniñas” (1957) from the Museu Picasso in Barcelona and Gerhard Richter’s six-metre-wide triptych “Atelier” (1985) from the Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

The Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in Paris sent wonderful fragments of the walls of the artist’s legendary Parisian studio for presentation in the Stuttgart show.

The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart moreover presents important works from its own collection: Edouard Manet’s painting “The Painter Monet in His Studio “(1874), Picasso’s large-scale atelier scene “The Open Window (The Artist’s Studio)” of 1929, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s wood figures Adam and Eve (1921) – which stood in front of “In den Lärchen”, his house in Davos –, sculptures and paintings by Alberto Giacometti, and Dieter Roth’s “BAR O” (1979/98).

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart | 2012 Large State Exhibition | Caspar David Friedrich | Carl Gustav Carus |

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