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The Morgan hosts exhibition of master drawings from Munich's Staatliche Graphische Sammlung
Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Portrait of Kaspar Nützel, 1517. Inv. 13 Z© Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.

NEW YORK, NY.- This fall, The Morgan Library & Museum hosts an extraordinary exhibition of rarely-seen master drawings from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, one of Europe’s most distinguished drawings collections. On view October 12, 2012–January 6, 2013, Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich marks the first time such a comprehensive and prestigious selection of works has been lent to a single exhibition.

Dürer to de Kooning was conceived in exchange for a show of one hundred drawings that the Morgan sent to Munich in celebration of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung’s 250th anniversary in 2008. The Morgan’s organizing curators were granted unprecedented access to the Graphische Sammlung’s vast holdings, ultimately choosing one hundred masterworks that represent the breadth, depth, and vitality of the collection. The exhibition includes drawings by Italian, German, French, Dutch, and Flemish artists of the Renaissance and baroque periods; German draftsmen of the nineteenth century; and an international contingent of modern and contemporary draftsmen.

Dürer to de Kooning occupies the Morgan’s two principal galleries. One gallery contains more than sixty Italian, German, Dutch, and French drawings of the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. Represented here are such celebrated artists as Mantegna, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Raphael, Titian, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Bellange, and Friedrich. The second gallery features nearly forty late nineteenth-century and modern and contemporary works, including drawings by Vincent van Gogh, Emil Nolde, Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, David Hockney, Georg Baselitz, and Sigmar Polke.

“It is difficult to overstate the splendor and importance of the works on view in this exhibition,” said William M. Griswold, director of The Morgan Library & Museum. “With full access to the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung’s extraordinary collections, our curators and theirs carefully selected a wide-ranging group of drawings, which they felt best exemplified the quality of Munich’s holdings. The result is an unforgettable encounter with some of the greatest masters of both past and present.”

The Staaliche Graphische Sammlung is home to some 3,500 Italian drawings. The collection’s strength is sixteenth-century drawings by the most celebrated artists of the period: Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolommeo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, and Pontormo, all of whom are represented in the exhibition. Sheets by Benvenuto Cellini, Annibale Carracci, and Pietro da Cortona are also of particular note.

Germany is the school most richly represented in Munich’s graphics collection, and many examples are included in the exhibition. An impressive variety of works is on display, including Hans Burgkmair the Elder’s Christ with the Crown of Thorns, the earliest red chalk drawing by any German artist; a fragment of a highly finished procession scene by Hans Holbein the Younger; window designs by Hans Schäufelin and Jörg Breu the Elder; fresco painter Melchior Steidl’s watercolor design for a monumental ceiling painting; landscapes by Joseph Anton Koch, Caspar David Friedrich, and Carl Rottmann; and a bold graphite-and-charcoal self-portrait by Wilhelm Leibl, a major figure in German art during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Of the Graphische Sammlung’s approximately 1,700 works by artists from the northern and southern Netherlands, fourteen of the finest were selected for the exhibition. Dutch drawings on view include important examples from sixteenth-century artists Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques de Gheyn, and Jan Harmensz Muller; and seventeenth-century drawings by Rembrandt, Ferdinand Bol, and Aelbert Cuyp. Outstanding seventeenth-century Flemish works by Peter Paul Rubens and Jacob Jordaens are also on display.

Dürer to de Kooning features five examples from Munich’s select but impressive group of French drawings. On view is a stylistically diverse group of drawings by Antoine Caron, Jacques Bellange, Simon Vouet, and Laurent de la Hyre.

The Graphische Sammlung has become a top-ranking museum for modern European and American drawings and its holdings in this field now number some 7,000 sheets. Dürer to de Kooning includes twenty-six outstanding works by Vincent van Gogh, Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Jean Dubuffet, and David Hockney, among many others.

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