Previous Exhibitions - The Palazzo Grassi

German Expressionism.

The exhibition focuses on complex questions concerning the cultural environment in which the movement developed. It also studies the remarkable works of art resulting from the movement and the artists who produced them.

Approximately 250 works, including paintings, sculptures, and graphic works, are on display at the Palazzo. These works come from some fifty museums as well as public and private collections in seven countries: Australia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

The countries that have made the greatest contribution to the exhibition by lending works in their possession are Germany (loans from 21 museums and 5 private collectors) and the United States (loans from 7 museums and 3 private collectors).

Obtaining loans for the exhibition was not easy in view of their rarity and fragility and they have been insured for a total of 250 billion lire (US$ 147,000,000).

The artists with the largest numbers of paintings on display at the exhibition include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Beckmann, and Oskar Kokoschka.

The exhibition, occupying 25 rooms of the eighteenth-century Palazzo Grassi, recreates the atmosphere of the Expressionist period through multiple projections, music and historical reconstructions.

Essentially the exhibition aims to give an overview of the history and cultural background of German Expressionism and to analyse this in conjunction with the society in which it developed. It intends to illustrate the relationship between the main events in Europe from 1909 to 1923 and the works of artists who were the exponents of Expressionism in Germany.

The exhibition is divided into three large sections: the years before the war; the war experience itself; the November revolution and the years between 1918 and 1924.

Included in the display are a selection of self-portraits by artists such as Otto Dix, Erich Heckel and Alexej Jawlensky, as well as a reconstruction of the Einstein Tower.

Built in Potsdam between 1919 and 1923 to a design by Erich Mendelsohn the Einstein Tower is considered one of the most outstanding edifices of Expressionist architecture.

Architecture gives a clear indication of the relationship between art and society and as a result it plays an important role in the exhibition.


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