22 March 2019 until 9 February 2020
“A Lively Museum ...”
Max Sauerlandt and the Hamburg Secession

In 2019, the Hamburg Secession celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) has been taking this occasion to present an exhibition with more than 40 paintings and graphic art focusing on the Secession’s heyday, a period that was also an exciting one for the museum. Graphic art by Secession members Rolf Nesch, Arnold Fiedler, Kurt Löwengard, Heinrich Steinhagen, Willy Davidson, Richard Haizmann, and Heinrich Stegemann has been on display alongside other artworks in the Haspa (Hamburger Sparkasse) Gallery. The show also featured paintings and decorative art by artists including Alma del Banco, Fritz Kronenberg, Anita Rée, Gretchen Wohlwill, Karl Kluth, and Willem Grimm among others. Aside from the many protagonists of the Hamburg Secession, the exhibition was also dedicated to Max Sauerlandt, director of MKG from 1919 to 1933. As a passionate advocate of international modernism, Sauerlandt supported the artists who came together to form the Hamburg Secession in 1919 with the intention of reinvigorating Hamburg’s cultural life after its hiatus during the First World War. He bought the Secessionists’ works and left a lasting mark on Hamburg’s art scene as director of the Landeskunstschule (State Art School of Hamburg). “The more alive a museum is,” Sauerlandt said in 1925, “the livelier the public’s participation in its fortunes will be.” The impact of this public commitment is reflected in Rolf Nesch’s conjecture that Hamburg would soon overtake Berlin as the modern metropolis par excellence.

Ill.: Fritz Kronenberg, Ana (reclining nude), 1930, oil on canvas, 74 x 120 cm, permanent loan of the collection of Hamburger Sparkasse, photo: Fotostudio Grünke, Hamburg