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From a German Perspective:
Moscow’s Pushkin Museum Currently Showing Masterpieces from the Deutsche Bank Collection

Exhibition view:
Wassily Kandinskys "Aquarell mit rotem Fleck" (1911)

The Deutsche Bank Collection makes a guest appearance at the Pushkin Museum: with around 120 selected works, the exhibition From a German Perspective – Masterpieces of the Deutsche Bank Collection traces the stations in the development of 20th-century German art. Rarely exhibited works by artists such as Emil Nolde, Ludwig Kirchner, Gerhard Richter, or Neo Rauch were borrowed from bank buildings around the globe and sent to Moscow, where they can be seen through mid-January 2005. As a reflection of German culture and history, the show offers a fascinating insight into both the concept and development of one of the most important corporate collections worldwide, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.

Ernst Barlach, Drunk Beggar Woman, 1906/07
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Barlach Lizenzverwaltung Ratzeburg

For the German sculptor and painter Ernst Barlach, Russia began in Berlin. While it seemed to him at the beginning of his train journey to the Ukraine in 1906 as though "half of Russia" were hanging around the Friedrichstrasse train station, he was already overcome by the almost mystical "happiness of an awakening soul" when he reached Warsaw. For him, the reality of the czardom, the everyday misery of the politically and socially disenfranchised became a "plastic reality." Previously an adherent of Art Nouveau, his encounter with simple rural people helped the artist find his own personal style. The basic expression of the humane that he experienced in Eastern Europe prompted the previously unknown sculptor to vigorously pursue an expressive reduction in his work and arrive at the style that quickly made him famous. The dynamic lines and elementary forms of Barlach’s sculptures and drawings depict the nature of the suffering creature in an expressive, yet faceless way. In his portraits they are condensed into an essence that unites the bodily and the spiritual. A part of Barlach’s Russian Journal, the charcoal drawing Drunk Beggar Woman from 1907 reveals an urge to grasp the nature of the subject directly, with all one’s senses, while at the same time distilling something universal from it that radiates far beyond the confusion of the time.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Bahnhof Königstein, 1917
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Dr. Wolfgang & Ingeborg Henze Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern

Nearly a century after it was made, Barlach’s drawing, together with works by Käthe Kollwitz, Emil Nolde, Paula Modersohn Becker, and Lovis Corinth marks the beginning of the exhibition From a German Perspective – Masterpieces of the Deutsche Bank Collection at Moscow’s Pushkin Museum. The emergence of German modernism occurred almost at the same time as the establishment of Russia’s prominent art institutions: along with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Pushkin Museum, founded in 1898 by Czar Nicholas II, today houses Russia’s most important art collection ranging from Ancient Egypt to the early 20th century. Exhibited in the Museum for Private Collections attached to the main building, the manifold artistic perspectives introduced in From a German Perspective direct the viewer’s attention to a chapter of German history that was as much determined by intellectual upheaval as it was by the catastrophic effects of two world wars. In this sense, the show traces the highlights of artistic movements ranging from Expressionism and New Objectivity to post-war art, ending with prominent representatives of contemporary positions.

Uwe Kowski, Untitled, 1992
Deutsche Bank Collection
©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2004

Arranged chronologically, exceptional paintings, drawings, and sculptures by around 50 German-speaking artists from the collection are presented in seven of the museum’s exhibition rooms, each of which is assigned a certain aspect: From One Bank to the Other – the Expressionists of 'The Bridge; Max Beckmann, Big City Dweller – Dream and Reality of the Weimar Republic; History as Material – Postmodernism and an Unsurmounted Past. Step by step, each section mirrors the development of German art of the past century with treasures from the Deutsche Bank Collection that have seldom been seen in public. Thus, along with Emil Nolde’s oil painting Autumn Sea (1910), Wassily Kandinsky’s Watercolor with Red Spot (1911), or Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s painting Königstein Station (1917), Max Beckmann’s Warrior With Bird Woman (1939), watercolors by Joseph Beuys, and Gerhard Richter’s Kahnfahrt (1965) also count among the exhibition’s highlights.

Max Beckmann, Ruderer, 1928
Sammlung Deutsche Bank
©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2004

Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, Global Head Deutsche Bank Art presents the catalogue to the press

As Dr. Ariane Grigoteit, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art, writes in her foreword to the accompanying catalogue, it seems as though the collection had succeeded in grasping "the essential – and, by deciding on the medium of paper, in documenting the many different aspects among the main developments of the last century." Accordingly, the exhibition takes on a double meaning.

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