“With a belief in evolution, in a new generation of creators as well as appreciators, we call together all youth. And as youth that is carrying the future, we intend to obtain freedom of movement and of life for ourselves in opposition to the older, well-established powers.” With this 1906 summons to young citizens—not unlike the rallying cries of our present moment—the German artists of Die Brücke (The Bridge) declared themselves to be agents of change who would break with the establishment and usher in an age of self-determination. To this end, the members of this creative movement, and the others who soon followed on its heels, marshaled new techniques and materials and developed sensibilities appropriate to their increasingly violent and technologically mediated age.
This exhibition celebrates the transformative gift of the Norma Boom Marin Collection of German Expressionist Prints. The widow of John Marin Jr. and the daughter-in-law of the acclaimed American artist John Marin (1870–1953), Norma Boom Marin has been a generous benefactor of the Museum for decades, and is a Life Member of its Board of Governors. This extraordinary collection of twenty-eight prints, many of them brilliant or rare impressions, spans the years 1907 through 1924, when artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner were working at the top of their form. The spectacular 1915 drypoint Die Granate (The Grenade), one of only twenty editioned impressions, thrums with the cacophony of combat that Max Beckmann had experienced as a wartime medic.
The exhibition title Self and Society, though alluding to the tensions between the individual and the collective at play in the works on view, is also meant to acknowledge Norma Boom Marin’s foresight and generosity as a private collector intent on building public collections.