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Special Report

Blauer Reiter in Cologne – Picasso in Munich

Pablo Picasso
Harlekin mit gefalteten Händen, Arlequin,
les mains croisées, 1923
© Succession Picasso/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2003.


COLOGNE AND MUNICH, GERMANY.- In 2004, the Museum Ludwig (Cologne) and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich) will be going on the road with some heavy-duty luggage. From March 13 until June 27, 2004, the renowned museums will be almost completely exchanging entire sections of their famous collections with one another. The unique Cologne Picasso collection, the third-largest world-wide, will be on view for a quarter of a year in Munich. In exchange, the Museum Ludwig will be presenting the masterworks of the “Blauer Reiter” (“The Blue Rider”) to art lovers in the Rhineland and the bordering Benelux countries.

Neither of these exhibition complexes has ever been loaned out in such sizable proportions before. Both museums are combining this new initiative with the intention of presenting their institutions and their exhibition programs to the other region and thus enhancing their familiarity to art audiences on both a national and international level.

“Der Blaue Reiter” for Cologne

The primary focus of the “Blauer Reiter” presentation will be on painting. Some 65 top-level paintings from the Lenbachhaus collection will be out on loan, among them such “Blauer Reiter” icons as the “Blaue Pferd” (“Blue Horse”) (1911) and the “Tiger” (1912) by Franz Marc, Kandinsky’s Impression VI (Sunday) (1911) as well as the “Improvisation 26 (Ruder)” (“Improvisation 26 (oars)”) (1912), “Türkisches Café” (“Turkish Café”) (1914) by August Macke as well as his “Zoologischer Garten” (“Zoological Garden”) (1912), along with the “Bildnis Marianne von Werefkin” (“Portrait of Marianne von Werefkin”) (1909) by Gabriele Münter. Works by Alexander von Yavlensky, including the “Bildnis des Tänzers Alexander Sacharoff” (“Portrait of the Dancer Alexander Sacharoff”) (1909) will be going to Cologne, along with a late work by Paul Klee, the “Rosengarten” (“Rose Garden”) (1920/44). 

The presentation of the “Blaue Reiter” in Cologne will be looked after by Kasper König and Ulrich Wilmes, who are currently devising a new concept for the “Blaue Reiter” Exhibition in Cologne, which will differ in essential points from the familiar way they are hung in Munich. In Munich itself, an interim exhibition will be assembled from the rich inventory of the Lenbachhaus to secure the continued presence of the “Blaue Reiter” in Munich during the loan-out period, while providing new insights into the magnificent collection reserves.

Picasso for Munich

The Picasso collection from Cologne’s Museum Ludwig will be loaned out almost in its entirety to Munich, where it will be shown in the Kunstbau, the annex to the Lenbachhaus opened in 1994. Curators for the exhibition will be Helmut Friedel and Annegret Hoberg. This marks the first time Picasso’s artistic œuvre will be presented in Munich covering all his work phases and revealing the full scope of his artistic creativity (painting, sculpture, ceramics and graphic prints). The highlights include Picasso’s “Harlequin with Folded Hands” (1923), “Woman with an Artichoke” (1942), the late self-portrait “Portrait of a Man with a Hat” (1970). In the sculpture field, viewers will see, among others, the “Woman’s Head (Dora Maar)” from 1941. Another focus at the Munich Picasso exhibition will be on the graphic prints, which have hardly ever been exhibited in this completeness before. On display, among other works, will be the three comprehensive graphic cycles “Suite Vollard” and the Suites 347 and 156. In his numerous lithographs, etchings, aquatint sheets and linocuts, Picasso turned his attention to his own work, the artist/model relationship and primarily our rich artistic heritage (Rembrandt, Goya). The exhibit list for Munich comprises some 180 original works (painting, paper works, sculpture) and approximately 600 graphic prints and objects. Picasso’s later works held a special interest for collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig. This work phase, which is represented in extraordinary fullness in the Cologne collection, represents an outstanding synthesis from all the artist’s creative processes and once again reflects Picasso’s fascinating joy in experimentation.

Both museums are targeting these exhibitions, which are concurrently high-ranking art historical as well as impressive events on a wide audience and thus hope to set new accents in the exhibition landscape.

The exhibitions are sponsored by the Stadtsparkasse Munich and the Stadtsparkasse Cologne.

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