“Van Gogh is dead, but the Van Gogh people are alive. And how alive they are! It’s Van Gogheling everywhere”, wrote Ferdinand Avenarius in “Der Kunstwart” in 1910 to describe the fascination Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) paintings held for artists in Germany – particularly the younger ones – in the early twentieth century. The largest and most elaborate show in the history of the Städel to date will revolve around the special significance of German gallery owners, collectors, critics and museums for the success story of this precursor of modern art, while also illuminating his role as a decisive figure for the art of German Expressionism. It will feature more than 120 paintings and works on paper, including around 50 of the artist’s key works and 70 artworks by German artists.
The exhibition will be the first ever to take an in-depth look at Van Gogh’s œuvre in the context of its reception in Germany. Its point of departure is a selection of major works from all phases of the Dutch painter’s career. Building on that foundation, the presentation will be devoted to Van Gogh’s significance for the development of German art at the beginning of the twentieth century. Here an important reference point will be the Städel’s extensive collection of Expressionist works. Alongside well-known examples by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gabriele Münter and Max Beckmann, the show will also feature artists meriting rediscovery – and on whom Van Gogh had an equally formative influence –, for example Peter August Böckstiegel, Maria Slavona or Heinrich Nauen.
The Städel will present outstanding works from collections in Germany and abroad, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in Prague and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Among the highlights will be the self-portraits from the Art Institute in Chicago and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, but also the famous paintings “Augustine Roulin” (Rocking a Cradle) (1889, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) and “Fishing Boats on the Beach at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” (1888, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).