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12.12.2012

 

Kunsthaus Zürich and ‘Me as Sander’ and ‘we follow suit’; plus Gauguin, the Giacomettis and Füssli

CREDITS / DETAILS

KUNSTHALLE ZURICH

Location: Kunsthalle, Zurich
Photographer: GoSee

German August Sander is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Gillian Wearing has adopted his role and we are in hot pursuit. ‘Me As Sander’ – the self portrait by the British video artist provided us with a common thread that led us through the beautiful museum in Zurich, with surprises lurking around almost every corner. From paintings, to photographs and even sculptures. We found the Sander portrait on the back cover of the catalogue of the upcoming large scale museum restructuring. The game was a foot.

Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) is universally celebrated as one of the founding fathers of modern painting and his works can be admired at the museum until 20 January 2013. What is far less known, however, is that he left a relatively small but diverse and innovative repertoire of graphic works, most of them woodcuts. Gauguin found in woodcuts the ideal expressive medium for his non-illusionistic style, with its emphasis on the plane. Yet while his paintings chiefly depict the serene and carefree side of life in the South Seas, the woodcuts also reveal the unfathomable, nocturnal and demonic aspect of the tropical paradise. The exhibition presents almost the entirety of Gauguin’s graphic work, with around 60 plates.

The Müller Building presents works obtained by the Kunsthaus only recently upon the death of the art patron Bruno Giacometti.

Works from the mature period from the collection of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation are installed on a temporary basis in the painting gallery of the Müller Building, where, at the end of 2017, after the opening of the expanded Kunsthaus the entire inventory of Alberto Giacometti pieces will find their new home.

To parallel the Giacometti inventories of the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, the Zürich Art Society, will present significant additions that we owe to Alberto's recently deceased younger brother, Bruno Giacometti (1907-2012). Together with his wife Odette, Bruno was a great patron of the Kunsthaus and of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation. Upon his wish, after his demise important works of his father, Giovanni, and his brother Alberto come into the collection of Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft.

An additional highlight of the museum: Johann Heinrich Füssli (1741–1825). It was as a young man studying theology under the tutelage of Johann Jacob Bodmer that Fuseli became familiar not just with the Romantic notion of the genius with its elevation of the fantastic and sublime to a new aesthetic form, but also its heroes – Homer, the epic “Nibelungenlied”, Dante, Milton and Shakespeare.

In 1770 he arrived in Rome determined to devote himself to his art. Through a radical economy of style and a rigorous application of pictorial resources together with a correspondingly sharp increase in emotional tension he rejected the charm and grace of early classicism in favour of two-dimensional pictorial unity with a strongly conceptual and anti-naturalistic character; the result is decidedly modern. In 1779 he settled permanently in London. Here the eccentric art of the wild Swiss soon became the focus of attention; he was subsequently to dominate the Royal Academy for decades as professor and keeper.

Our favourite painting is: ‘Titania erwacht, von aufwartenden Fairies
umgeben und in Verzückung an den eselsköpfigen Bottom geschmiegt’, 1793/94, inspired by Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, IV, 1, acquired in 1941
thanks to the support of the Zurich friends of art trust Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde.

Füssli’s work constantly deals with the world of dreams and visions, often with terror, and he was inspired by English ghost stories.

Photographs from the museum collection can also be viewed by booking an appointment.


Kunsthaus Zürich
Heimplatz 1
CH 8024 Zürich
Tel.: +41 (0)44 253 84 84

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