This section contains an overview of the most relevant exhibitions. Each item is connected to the organizing museum.

Modern Capitalism

The Ambassdaor of the Dutch Republic Cornelis van der Mijle and the Doge of Venice, 1609. Zeeuws Archief Middelburg, Photo: Landesmuseum

The exhibition in the Landesmuseum tells the story of the origins of our contemporary economic system, capitalism, in the historic maritime republic of Venice and during the “Golden Age” of Amsterdam – Venice from the 13th century and Amsterdam in the 17th century. Both cities played a key role in the economic and social development of the West. Merchants and traders invented new forms of finance, credit and commerce which we still use today. Both cities looked out towards the sea, took risks, built ships, pursued trade overseas, suffered losses, but also made large profits. With growing affluence and the birth of a pre-modern civil society, for example in Amsterdam, culture and splendour became more attractive than risky overseas trade. This marked the start of investment in culture and luxury – and also the end of the “Golden Age” of both cities. Though capitalism is as old as mankind, modern capitalism has its roots in late medieval and early modern history.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the burning of Moscow

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). Photo: Wikipedia

The exhibition is dedicated to Schinkel’s oeuvre regarding the history of architecture and building aesthetics, as well as the entire Schinkel art universe, newly appraised and translated into descriptive arrangements of art works with special attention given to the transformation achievements of the early historism period. According to Schinkel, “History and Poetry” exceed pure function and material value and as a consequence elevate a piece of work to a work of art. Enlightenment, romanticist and classicist notions flash up in those two terms. Schinkel restaged the burning of the city of Moscow on 6 September 1812 and created a sophisticated optical diorama, which was enthusiastically received by the Berlin audience. The exhibition will open with a reconstruction of this impressive construction.

Paul Gauguin and his flight to Tahiti

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Martinigue, 1897. Photo: Wikipedia

Primarily focusing on Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and his flight to Tahiti, the exhibition in Madrid will analyse how this journey to supposedly more authentic worlds resulted in an updating and rethinking of his creative idiom and to what extent this experience affected the transition towards modern art. The exhibition will survey the period that opens with Gauguin’s visual experiments in the South Seas and continues with the artistic investigations of subsequent artists such as Emil Nolde, Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and August Macke, with the aim of revealing Gauguin’s influence on the early 20th-century avant-garde movements.

An Impressionist and Photography

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Paris, c. 1885. Photo: Wikipedia

The Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt will dedicate a comprehensive exhibition featuring numerous paintings and drawings to the French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte. Caillebotte’s oeuvre provides new, fundamental, and complementary ways to approach Impressionist painting: his radical, highly modern, and photographic-seeming depictions very convincingly reconstruct the close connection between photography and painting in the development of a new way of seeing. Many of Caillebotte’s works anticipate a photographic perspective—especially in the particular angle of view and the way the images are cropped, but also in their approach to themes like movement and abstraction—that does not emerge in the medium of photography until later. For this reason the exhibition will also incorporate outstanding examples of photography from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and in so doing will provide a clear demonstration of Caillebotte’s role as trailblazer.