Saturday, February 21, 2009

Frye Museum – The Munich Secession


The show The Munich Secession and America is at the Frye Art Museum from January 24, 2009 to April 12, 2009. It’s an interesting show and definitely a worthwhile a trip to the museum – even if the words Munich and Secession in the same sentence seems a little intimidating.

The first question in our minds was: “Who seceded from what?” The answer is that a group of German artists in the late 19th century seceded from the Künstlergenossenschaft – which was sort of the sanctioned art exhibiting venue in Germany founded in 1868. The secessionists found the Künstlergenossenschaft a bit lame, too democratic, catering to popular tastes, and really not that diverse. So, eleven artists kicked off (in an orderly way) the Munich Secession in 1892.The movement emphasized experimentation, individualism, and diversity in art as well as a departure in how artwork was shown. Rather than using the salon-style (many paintings crowded together) presentation, the secessionists opted for sparse presentations, close to what we are accustomed to today. The Munich movement followed and preceded other secessions. All of the secessions, collectively, in the late 19th century are considered important in helping to form the basis of the 20th century modern art movement.

Many of the key works of the Frye Founding Collection are works that fall into the Munich Secession category. One of the best known works in their collection is Franz von Stuck’s Sin (one of the many versions of this theme). Other works you’ll see at the exhibit include Max Slevogt’s Wrestling School – 1893, Eugen Spiro’s Baladine Klossowska – 1901, Oskar Zwitnscher’s The Dead Man by the Sea – 1913, Leo Putz’s Summer Dreams – 1907 and our favorite of the show: Hans Thoma’s Calm Before the Storm.

Pictured on the brochure is Spanish Dancer by Otto Hierl-Deronco.
Zwintscher - Dead Man By the Sea

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