Centennial Vortexes

You can blame it on my being an emotional woman if you’d like, I take full responsibility for that, but when I discovered the Wallraf-Richardtz-Museum’s intention to reunite some of the pieces from the 1912 Sonderbund Exhibition of Post-Impressionism through German Expressionism, featuring Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Munch, Picasso, Macke, Nolde, Schiele, Signac, etc., I got a bit teary-eyed.

Pieces that have been separated (and sometimes out of view) will be reunited in Cologne until year’s end. It’s reminiscent of one’s days in University and coming back so many years later (clearly not 100) to see how much you’ve changed – or in the case of these paintings and sculptures, hopefully not changed – over time. Maybe one of the girls in the paintings featured below is still alive and will turn up!

 

Pablo Picasso, Le Gourmet (The Greedy Child), 1901.
Oil on canvas, 92.8 x 68.3 cm.
Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fränzi in front of a Carved Chair, 1910.
Oil on canvas, 71 x 49.5 cm.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

 

Egon Schiele, Seated Girl Facing Front, 1911.
Watercolour and pencil, 46.5 x 31.8 cm.
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung, Munich.

 

There is a fear in the back of my mind, however, that in reuniting these pieces in the same city 100 years later, in a year that’s predicted to end the world, that a vortex will open up and visitors will end up in some alternate universe. Were that universe one with Schiele and friends hanging out enjoying a few glasses of absinthe, I might be keen to jump through and not look back. Sadly, I’m willing to place bets that the other side of that vortex is one of zombies without ears, boundless womanising, and crippling bouts of manic-depression – maybe not so much unlike society today. Would you jump through the vortex unknowing what you’d find?

Nevertheless, I say take the chance and do yourself a favour; book a ticket to Cologne immediately to see 1912-Mission Moderne, as this opportunity to see over 100 pieces of the wonder that was Sonderbund in one place will not come again in our lifetime. Whether you can or cannot make it, purchase these beautiful representations of the pieces on display and more in ebook form: Cézanne, Gauguin, Kirchner, Picasso, Schiele, and Van Gogh.

-Le Lorrain Andrews

 

 

 

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