VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Drawing from Nature: Landscapes by Liebermann, Corinth, Slevogt
September 12 - December 5, 2010
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the exhibition Drawing from Nature: Landscapes by Liebermann, Corinth, Slevogt. On view Sunday, September 12 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 at the Audrey Jones Beck Building.
Drawing from Nature complements the concurrent MFAH exhibition German Impressionist Landscape Painting: Liebermann—Corinth—Slevogt. They are the first exhibitions in the United States devoted exclusively to the landscapes created by the three leading champions of the Impressionist style in Germany: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, and Max Slevogt. On view only at the MFAH, Drawing from Nature comprises works on paper that establish a dialogue with the paintings in German Impressionist Landscape Painting.
Drawing from Nature offers an extraordinary glimpse into the creative process and demonstrates the significant role landscape played throughout the careers of the three artists. More than 40 works are showcased, gathered from 20 museums and private collections in the United States and Europe. The selections reveal the artists´ exceptional mastery of the expressive powers of drawing and printmaking.
This exhibition features a range of works by Max Liebermann (1847—1935), the prolific draftsman and leader of the German Impressionist movement. Included are his pensive renderings of rural landscapes, such as Karren in den Dünen (Carts in the Dunes) in black and white chalk; intimate views of Wannsee, his private retreat; and conversational images of bourgeois leisure set within an urban landscape.
Lovis Corinth (1858—1925) is represented by his abstracted portrayals of the mighty trees and mountain vistas of Walchensee, which played a dominant role in his works on paper. These etchings and watercolors provide insight into an artist who strove for and achieved a body of graphic works that stands independent of his paintings.
The delicate watercolors and richly narrative lithographs by Max Slevogt (1868—1932), including an offering of illustrations inspired by James Fenimore Cooper´s Lederstrumpf (The Leatherstocking Tales), give a sense of the artist´s passion for depicting the subjects of his travels as well as his imaginings of the distant American frontier.
Drawing from Nature: Landscapes by Liebermann, Corinth, and Slevogt, organized by Dr. Dena M. Woodall, MFAH assistant curator of prints and drawings, examines their creative process as they explore nature directly in a variety of graphic media: etchings, lithographs, chalk, and pencil. The works on paper present images of the artists at home and abroad, as well as Slevogt´s imagined American West through lithographs that he created to illustrate James Fenimore Cooper´s Leatherstocking Tales. Pastels and watercolors will also be on view, providing a bridge between the works on paper and the paintings.
Documentary footage of the three artists painting, a photomontage of their portraits, and a map tracing the artists´ movements across Germany will provide background to the art on view.
Max Liebermann (1847-1935)
Liebermann was born in Berlin to a Jewish family and began his career as a Realist painter, very much influenced by Jean-François Millet during his sojourn in Paris. His summer holidays in Holland, starting in the early 1870s, and his introduction to ´The Hague School´ artists influenced him to paint from nature. Some years after his return to Berlin, Liebermann started to collect the works of Manet, Degas, Monet, etc, amassing the best private collection of French Impressionism in Germany; and he also advised the director of the Berlin Nationalgalerie in the acquisition of French Impressionist paintings for the museum. Liebermann became the leader of a generation of German Impressionist painters, enjoying great success in Berlin, especially as the president of the ´Berlin Secession.´ Liebermann devoted his final years to painting the gardens at his Wannsee villa— much as Monet focused on Giverny. Derided by the Nazis, who considered his art ´degenerate,´ he died in 1935.
Lovis Corinth (1858-1925)
Born in East Prussia, Corinth studied art for eleven years in Königsberg, Munich, Antwerp, and Paris (where he was taught by Academic painter William Adolphe Bouguereau). After his studies, Corinth established himself in Munich in 1891 and was a founding member of the ´Munich Secession´. In 1901, Corinth moved to Berlin, where he sold work at the Cassirer gallery, established a popular women´s art school, married a student, and joined the ´Berlin Secession.´ After Liebermann resigned presidency Corinth became his successor, but suffered a serious stroke that same year and had to give up his office. Corinth´s late works, painted from his house in Bavaria looking onto the sparkling lake Walchensee, show an expressionistic urgency full of bright colors and vital brushstrokes.
Max Slevogt (1868-1932)
Slevogt studied as a naturalist painter at the Munich Academy, spending a final semester at the Académie Julian in Paris before returning to live and work in Munich. One of his paintings was awarded honorable mention when shown in Paris in 1900 and this trip exposed him to French Impressionism. By 1901 Slevogt had lightened his palette and joined Liebermann and Corinth in Berlin and became renowned as one of the most important German Impressionists. A 1914 trip to Egypt inspired Slevogt to create more than 20 exotic landscape paintings, and he continued to focus on landscape after World War I.
Pictured: Lovis Corinth, detail Walchensee, 1925. Collection of David Lachenmann. (full image, below)