Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98-1543), Frgment of a Scene with Classical Figures, ca. 1519/20 Inv. 1036 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Mechanism for Gold Processing, before 1495, Inv. 2152 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Raphael (1483-1520), Mercury Offering the Cup of Immortality to Psyche, 1517/18 Inv. 1984:19 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Portrait of Kaspar Nützel, 1517 Inv. 13 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), Flute Player, 1947 Inv. 1983:79 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Francis Picabia (1879-1953), Masque en transparence (Transparent Mask), 1925, Inv. F 53 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) Nude Girl in an Interior, ca. 1910, Inv. 1978:1 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
A. R. Penck (b. 1939), I and the Cosmos (Figure with Starry Sky), 1968, Inv. WAF Slg. PF 121; permanent loan from the Collection Herzog Franz von Bayern, Wittelsbacher Fund, Munich, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Standing Man, ca. 1951, Inv. WAF Slg. PF 83; on permanent loan from the Collection Herzog Franz von Bayern, Wittelsbacher Fund, Munich, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, © 2012 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), St. Peter (after Massaccio) with Arm Studies, ca. 1492, Inv. 2191 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Avenue
Dürer to de Kooning:
100 Master Drawings from Munich
October 12, 2012-January 6, 2013
Morgan Library & Museum hosts an extraordinary exhibition of rarely-seen master drawings from Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, one of Europe’s most distinguished drawings collections. The exhibition marks the first time such a comprehensive and prestigious selection of works has been lent to a single exhibition.
Dürer to de Kooning was conceived in exchange for a show of 100 drawings that the Morgan sent to Munich in celebration of Staatliche Graphische Sammlung’s 250th anniversary in 2008. The Morgan’s curators were granted unprecedented access to Graphische Sammlung’s vast holdings, choosing 100 masterworks representing the breadth, depth, and vitality of the collection. The exhibition includes drawings by Italian, German, French, Dutch, and Flemish artists of the Renaissance and baroque periods; German draftsmen of the 19th century; and an international contingent of modern and contemporary draftsmen.
Dürer to de Kooning occupies the Morgan’s two principal galleries. One gallery contains more than 60 Italian, German, Dutch, and French drawings of the 15th through 19th centuries. Represented here are artists such as Mantegna, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Raphael, Titian, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Bellange, and Friedrich. The second gallery features nearly 40 late-19th-century modern, and contemporary works, including drawings by Vincent van Gogh, Emil Nolde, Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, David Hockney, Georg Baselitz, and Sigmar Polke.
“It is difficult to overstate the splendor and importance of the works in this exhibition,” said William M. Griswold, director of Morgan Library & Museum. “With full access to the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung’s extraordinary collections, our curators and theirs carefully selected a wide-ranging group of drawings, which they felt best exemplified the quality of Munich’s holdings. The result is an unforgettable encounter with some of the greatest masters of both past and present.”
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung is home to some 3,500 Italian drawings. The collection’s strength is 16th-century drawings by celebrated artists of the period: Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolommeo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, and Pontormo, all whom represented in the exhibition. Sheets by Benvenuto Cellini, Annibale Carracci, and Pietro da Cortona are of particular note.
Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557), Two Standing Women, after 1530(?) An outstanding example of Pontormo’s Mannerist style, this drawing is remarkable for its dynamism. It may be preparatory for one of the artist’s enigmatic depictions of the Visitation, envisioning the meeting of the pregnant Virgin Mary with her cousin Elizabeth. The abstraction of form, bold linearity, and tension between the figures contribute to the powerful appeal of this sheet.
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), Dancing Muse, ca. 1495 Recognized in his lifetime as the leading painter in Italy, Mantegna spent the latter part of his career working for the Gonzaga court in Mantua. This is likely the final study for one of the main figures in Mantegna’s Parnassus in the ducal palace of Mantua. It is especially notable for the artist’s masterful handling of the folds in the muse’s clothing. The figure’s face and hairstyle—both rendered in a sculptural style typical of the artist—appear in slightly different form in the finished painting.
Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), The Age of Bronze: Design for a Mural in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, ca. 1641 In celebration of his marriage, Ferdinand II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned Cortona to decorate Florence’s Palazzo Pitti with frescoes representing the Four Ages of Man, a theme drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This preparatory study for the Age of Bronze is notable for its energy, fluidity of draftsmanship, and broad, painterly pools of wash that signal its exploratory and inventive character.
Germany is richly represented in Munich’s graphics collection, and many examples are included in the exhibition. An impressive variety of works is on display, including Hans Burgkmair the Elder’s Christ with the Crown of Thorns, the earliest red chalk drawing by any German artist; a fragment of a highly finished procession scene by Hans Holbein the Younger; window designs by Hans Schäufelin and Jörg Breu the Elder; fresco painter Melchior Steidl’s watercolor design for a monumental ceiling painting; landscapes by Joseph Anton Koch, Caspar David Friedrich, and Carl Rottmann; and a bold graphite-and-charcoal self-portrait by Wilhelm Leibl, a major figure in German art in the second half of the 19th century.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Portrait of Kaspar Nützel, 1517 Dürer, the most important artist of the German Renaissance, returned to large-format portraiture in 1514 after an absence of more than ten years. This striking portrait of Kaspar Nützel, the artist’s friend and an important Nuremberg diplomat, has a storied provenance; once part of Paulus Praun’s celebrated collection of some 10,000 objects, the drawing was likely purchased by Crown Prince Ludwig, later (in 1809) King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Matthias Grünewald (ca. 1470/80-1528), Study of a Woman with Her Head Raised in Prayer Few Grünewald drawings survive, but those that do exhibit a haunting quality associated with his work that impressed 20th-century artists diverse as Otto Dix and Francis Bacon. This study and another on the reverse of the same sheet have been connected with figures of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene on the crucifixion panel of the artist’s Isenheim Altarpiece.
Of the Graphische Sammlung’s 1,700 works by artists from northern and southern Netherlands, 14 of the finest were selected for the exhibition. Dutch drawings include important examples from 16th-century artists Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques de Gheyn, and Jan Harmensz Muller; and 17th-century drawings by Rembrandt, Ferdinand Bol, and Aelbert Cuyp. Outstanding 17th-century Flemish works by Peter Paul Rubens and Jacob Jordaens are also on display.
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669), Saskia Lying in Bed, a Woman Sitting at Her Feet, ca. 1638 The exhibition includes three works by Rembrandt. The bedridden woman in this study, the most personal by the artist in the show, is most likely his wife Saskia, often ill or sapped of energy by her four pregnancies. Saskia’s precisely observed likeness, rendered by a fine pen, is juxtaposed to that of her maid in the foreground, whose figure was added in a cursory fashion with broad brushstrokes. The contrast between these two drawing techniques sharpens the focus of the composition on Saskia’s pensive face.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Study for the Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma, 1603 Rubens was just beginning his career when he completed this study for a larger-than-life equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma, commander-in-chief of the Spanish cavalry. The artist invested significant time and effort in perfecting the details of this, his largest known drawing, which is vividly worked with pen and brush. The resulting dynamic new approach to equestrian portraits would soon inspire imitations by the artist’s many followers.
Dürer to de Kooning features five examples from Munich’s select but impressive group of French drawings. On view is a stylistically diverse group of drawings by Antoine Caron, Jacques Bellange, Simon Vouet, and Laurent de la Hyre.
Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Man Bending Over in Three-Quarter View, Two Heads with Turbans, ca. 1636 This luminous drawing likely served as preparation for one of Vouet’s most ambitious and lauded fresco commissions. Depicting the Adoration of the Magi, the frescoes adorned the chapel of the Hôtel Séguier, the private residence of Pierre Séguier, chancellor of France under Louis XIII and a preeminent patron of the arts. The chapel, now destroyed, was described by the 18th-century collector Dézallier d’Argenville as meriting “the attention of connoisseurs [because of] the beauty of his paintings and … the clarity of its gilding as fresh as if they were newly painted.”
Jacques Bellange (before 1575–1616), Adorationof the Magi, ca. 1610 Bellange is best known as a printmaker, although a small group of elegant Mannerist drawings reveal his talents as a draftsman. He used quick long lines in this first conceptual sketch for his largest etching, Adoration of the Magi. This work is remarkable for its bold approach to the composition and its exceptionally free handling, which exhibits a powerful use of line comparable to that later used in the etching.
The Graphische Sammlung has become a top-ranking museum for modern European and American drawings and its holdings in this field now number some 7,000 sheets. Dürer to de Kooning includes twenty-six outstanding works by Vincent van Gogh, Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Jean Dubuffet, and David Hockney, among many others.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Standing Man, ca. 1951 The mask-like face of the figure in this study became one of the hallmarks of de Kooning’s Woman series, which laid the groundwork for a style — essentially a synthesis of abstraction and figuration — that revolutionized abstract art. The stylized ribs of the figure in this drawing were to reappear later in the artist’s crucifixion scenes of the early 1950s.
A. R. Penck (Ralf Winkler) (b. 1939), I and the Cosmos (Figure with Starry Sky), 1968 Penck was born in what became the German Democratic Republic, and remained behind the Iron Curtain until 1980. In order to elude the authorities and exhibit internationally, the largely self-taught artist — who was born Ralf Winkler — took on various aliases, the first and most lasting being A. R. Penck. In this striking sheet, a dramatically simplified solitary figure, identified in the title as the artist himself, faces a starry sky. The combination of red and black holds political connotations for its associations with anarchism and socialism.
About Staatliche Graphische Sammlung The Staatliche Graphische Sammlung houses roughly 400,000 works covering the entire spectrum of drawing. Although the origins of the collection likely date to the sixteenth century, its documented history begins with Elector Carl Theodor (1724-1799) of the Palatinate who commissioned the creation of a kabinett of copperplate engravings and drawings for his palace at Mannheim in 1758. This collection, enlarged over time through continual acquisition, was moved to Munich in 1794-5 in order to safeguard it from approaching French revolutionary forces, forming the basis of the StaatlicheStaatliche Graphische Sammlung. The collection opened to the public in 1823 and became an independent museum in 1874.
Matthias Grunewald (ca. 1470/80-1528), Study of a Woman with Her Head Raised in Prayer, Inv. 1983:85 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669), Saskia Lying in Bed, a Woman Sitting at Her Feet, ca. 1638, Inv. 1402 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1517), Self-Portrait, 1510/12 Inv. 2167 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Female Nude, 1905-6, Inv. 1972:18 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557), Two Standing Women, after 1530(?), Inv. 14042 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Man Bending Over in Three-Quarter View, Two Heads with Turbans, ca. 1636. Inv. 13760 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Study for the Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma, 1603, Inv. 1983:84 Z, © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), Dancing Muse, ca. 1495, Inv. 3066 Z © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München.