until 2 June 2013
Heads of the Twenties
Works from the Hamburgische Sezession

The MKG is holding an exhibition with some 25 portraits from the collection of the Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) in the MKG, representing the most important painters of the Hamburgische Sezession. When the Hamburg artists organized themselves after the First World war to found the Sezession, the path towards Expressionism, on which the painters of the Brücke had set out a good ten years earlier, was already pre-ordained for them. For their paintings of people and things, they chose extreme colours and exaggerated forms in order to express an inner feeling. This search for a deeper reality refers both to the model, whose inner life should ideally be reflected in the brushwork, and the artist’s own sensibility, which should “work off” its perception of reality in the subject of the painting. The expressive portraits of the Hamburg Sezessionists can bring across to us the feeling of those years characterized by hardship in the aftermath of the First World War and at the same time the longing for a new Paradise. In Expressionist art, the parameters of the beautiful and the ugly shifted. Generations of artists before the Expressionists had obeyed the ideal of classical proportions – now, instead of a generally accepted aesthetic canon of beauty, which had also dominated portrait painting, the desire for individual expression came to the fore.  For the face, this meant: noses could be deformed, the chin could be long and pointed or eyes could be shown disproportionately large. What shocked the contemporaries of the Brücke painters when they embarked on this path three or four generations ago has so influenced our way of seeing in the meantime that we are generally open for the Expressionist view of reality and perceive it as beautiful. In 2011, the cooperation between the MKG and Haspa over many years was put on a new footing when the Haspa Gallery in the MKG was set up. The exhibition “Heads of the Twenties” is the second presentation in these new rooms. You can find further details on the collections of the Hamburger Sparkasse by clicking here.

Fig.: Anita Reé, Mädchenbildnis, vor 1922, Öl auf Pappe, auf Holz aufgezogen, 52 x 40 cm
Foto: Margot Schmidt, Hamburg