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The Age of Menzel. Drawings by German Masters of the 19th Century.
From works taken to Russia after Second World War
15 September 2006 - 19 November 2006

The exhibition in the Twelve-Column Hall of the Winter Palace displays more than 100 works of graphic art which came to the Hermitage from various collections in Germany including art treasures which were removed to Russia after the Second World War. The exhibition continues the showing of art works which for a long time remained inaccessible to both researchers and museum visitors.

The name A.F.E. von Menzel links the Age of Romanticism with the period of Expressionism in German fine arts. The years of Adolf Menzel's life marked an important period, one might say a turning point in German history: from the end of the war of liberation in 1815 to 1905, the eve of the First World War. Adolf Menzel had a passion for drawing and engaged in it during his entire life and in all circumstances. His only art school was the lithographic studio of his father who settled in Berlin in 1830. From the age of 16, following the death of his father, Menzel worked professionally in the field of applied graphics: he created labels, invitations, posters and drawings for art albums. During the course of the 1830s, the artist practiced tirelessly drawing from nature. This self-schooling in drawing prepared Menzel for work at paintings. He drew his first paintings in the second half of the 1830s. During the period from 1840 through the 1850s, the artist actively used pastels and gouache, and he drew on colored paper. A commission for the painting of the Coronation of Wilhelm I in Koenigsberg in 1861 provided the artist with access to the Court and established his position as the first court painter. In the years from 1870 to the 1890s, he held a very high position in the art world of the Prussian capital.

The exhibition presents 19 works dating from the early 1840s to the middle of the 1890s. These illustrate the multi-faceted career of Adolf Menzel. Among them, one finds in particular a group portrait of the family of a friend of the artist - The Family of Doctor Pulman - which was done in the fashion of a genre painting. One also should mention the portrait of Baron Alexander von Ungern-Sternberg, the writer and publicist, as well as the pastel drawing The Dancer Pepita de Oliva, which shows a rare combination of pastels and gouache.

Given the virtuosity and lightness of the drawing and the expression of the composition, the pastel is one of the artist's most remarkable works in this technique.

The exhibition is rounded out by works of Adolf Menzel's contemporaries.

More than 40 of the drawings on display were part of the so-called collection of Dr. Friedrich Lukanus. Most of the drawings from this collection are linked with the Dusseldorf School. One can see in the exhibition a work by the director of the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts Wilhelm Schadow and drawings of his first students: Julius Huebner, Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt, Carl Ferdinand Sohn, Eduard Bendemann and Carl Friedrich Lessing. The Lukanus collection also includes works of the Munich masters Domenico Quaglio, Maximilian Johann Gearg von Dillis, Johann Jakob Dorner and Wilhelm von Kaulbach, as well as artists who worked in Dresden - Gustav Heinrich Naecke, Adrian Ludwig Richter and Gustav Ferdinand Metz. From among works by Berlin masters, ther is a landscape by Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

An illustrated scholarly catalogue to the exhibition has been prepared and published (State Hermitage Publishing House, 2006). The author of the catalogue and curator of the exhibition is Michail Dedinkin, senior researcher of the Department of the History of Western European Art in the State Hermitage.


Portrait of Jacob Lenen
Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt
Larger view
 
Karolina Hetzenecker as of Iphigenia
Moritz Ludwig von Schwind
Larger view
 
       

 

 


Young peasant girl standing in a doorway
Benjamin Wauthier
Larger view


Bavarian pastorale
Lorenzo Quaglio
Larger view


The family of Dr. Pulman
Adolf von Menzel
Larger view


Child of the Minister of Justice Merker with a young lady
Adolf von Menzel
Larger view


Begging monk
Adolf von Menzel
Larger view


Angels supporting a Christmas tree over a city
Karl Theodor Reiffenstein
Larger view


Country Dance (Westerwald)
Joseph Hoegg
Larger view


Travel Impression
Caspar Scheuren
Larger view


Children on a balcony
Julius Scholtz
Larger view


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