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Upper Belvedere opens a comprehensive exhibition of works by Lovis Corinth
Lovis Corinth, The Lodge Brothers, 1898/99. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich.

VIENNA.- Life as an excess of color: Lovis Corinth's universe was one of blazing joie de vivre and intoxicating sensuality. The artist left behind a body of work that defies any classification in terms of art-historical epochs or categories; yet in his paintings, he managed more than most to portray life in all its facets. The Belvedere now pays tribute to Lovis Corinth in a comprehensive exhibition.

Stella Rollig, CEO of the Belvedere says: „Even at the time, the art of Lovis Corinth represented a kind of antithesis to that of Gustav Klimt’s – and it is precisely for this reason that it must be shown at the Belvedere. With his expressive, impulsive painting style, Corinth was for decades a gentle beast standing apart from mainstream art historical trends..“

German artist Lovis Corinth was a founding member of the Munich Secession. Together with Walter Leistikow and Max Liebermann he was one of the leading figures and First Chairman of the Berlin Secession. Corinth was a crossover artist, seducer, bon vivant, and sensualist: he and his wife, Charlotte, were a constant presence in Berlin's social life. While enjoying his life to the fullest, he was also aware of the transience of everything earthly. This is reflected in his contradictory and unique work. His paintings cannot be categorized as Symbolism, Impressionism, or Expressionism, yet his works combine their stylistic elements. Even today, his work defies any art-historical classification.

Alexander Klee, curator of the exhibition, explains: „Contradiction and vitality define Lovis Corinth's work, drawing together joie de vivre and morbidity, a delicate use of color and the ferocious application of paint.“

Based on the artist's choice of subjects, the exhibition examines Corinth's self-image as a painter, his unique position in art history, and the areas of tension and ambivalence in his artistic oeuvre and biography. The wide variety of motifs reflects his sweeping intention to depict life in all its dimensions. His paintings range in composition from a refined, almost academic application of color and arrangement to a practically ecstatic style of painting.

The exhibition is organized according to themes Corinth pursued over his many decades of artistic production: family; still life, including the vanitas motif, which accompanied him throughout his life and appeared early on in his violent slaughterhouse paintings; the body and nudes, as well as his pre-eminent position as a (self-)portraitist; his stylistic and thematic transgressions, expressed primarily in mythological or literary themes; and finally, his landscapes, which he painted primarily later in life during numerous sojourns at his summer home at the Walchensee.

The exhibition is based on the holdings of the Belvedere – which owns nine outstanding paintings – and the Saarlandmuseum in Saarbrücken, supplemented by numerous loans.

Following its presentation at the Belvedere, the exhibition will be on view at the Saarlandmuseum as of November 2021.

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