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Lovis Corinth: A Feast of Painting on View at the Belvedere
Lovis Corinth, Tirolean Landscape with Bridge, 1913. Oil on canvas 95,5 x 120,5 cm. Belvedere, Vienna © Belvedere Vienna.

by: Agnes Husslein-Arco

VIENNA.- Closely scrutinizing the way museums operate today leads to the impression that many institutions are placing increasing value on large-scale, temporary exhibitions that are popular with the public. Of course, generating a large number of visitors is an important aspect in times when museums are pressed to think and act economically. However, museums are also obliged to concentrate on their real assets: their collections and how best to preserve, expand and present them. This is one of the considerations behind the Belvedere’s newly conceived series of exhibitions called Masterpieces in Focus. Twice a year, the museum will focus on thematic areas, individual artists, or outstanding masterpieces from the collection. Although the presentations will be integrated into the permanent exhibition in the Upper Belvedere, they will be architecturally spotlighted, thus focusing on the importance of the chosen works in the context of the collection and in connection with the art and culture of their time. Carefully chosen loans will underline the high quality of the holdings that we have been able to so judiciously acquire over the years.

Lovis Corinth—A Feast of Painting is initiating this new series of exhibitions. This is the first time that the ten paintings and one etching by this exceptional artist in the Belvedere’s collection are shown together. The works, which were created between 1896 and 1924, provide an extensive overview of Corinth’s creativity from his beginnings in Munich, over his period as a painter of Berlin society, and as an artist and president of the Berlin Secession. At the same time, they impart an outstanding impression of the restless and creative character of this artist who attempted to overcome the after-effects of a stroke through an excess of creative power.

The Corinth holdings in the Belvedere were acquired under the two directors Franz Martin Haberditzl (1916–1938) and Bruno Grimschitz (1938–1945). The first must be merited with courageously purchasing the most modern art of his time—including The Herzogstand on Walchensee in the Snow and, even more excessive, the portrait of Herbert Eulenberg—whereas his controversial successor must be thanked for not only assuring that these works by an artist who was condemned during the National Socialist era were not lost but augmented by additional purchases from earlier phases in Corinth’s career which make it possible for the Belvedere to provide such a remarkable overview of the artist’s oeuvre.

This “Feast of Painting” provides us with a brilliant opportunity to open the museum's exciting new series of Masterpieces in Focus and we hope that this new project will meet with an enthusiastic response from the Belvedere’s friends and visitors from all over the world.

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