Karl Blechen’s Blick auf das Kloster Santa Scolastica bei Subiaco (1832) has enriched the collection of the Kunsthalle since 1969. Now, after detailed examination, this outstanding testament to German enthusiasm for Italy must be restituted. Previously the property of the Jewish art collector Rudolf Mosse (1843–1920), the painting was separated from the collection of his heirs in a forced auction in 1934. Last year the Kunsthalle made contact with Mosse’s heirs and their lawyers with regards to the case for restitution, and inquired as to the possibility of repurchasing the painting. Until a final decision is reached, the painting will remain on loan for a period of 18 months in the Kunsthalle. In order to announce the painting’s unique story to the public, a small, special presentation about the work and its history has been organised.
Karoline Luise of Baden (1723–1783) shaped the art collection of the margraves of Baden more than any other before or since. In 2015 the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe will be devoting a Great State Exhibition to this passionate art collector. The exhibition is due to run from 30 May to 6 September 2015 and will coincide with celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the city of Karlsruhe.
The centrepiece of the show will be the presentation of Karoline Luise’s Mahlerey Cabinet, a collection that once boasted more than 200 paintings, most of which are still preserved in the Kunsthalle today. Her original collection included Dutch masterpieces of the 17th century and great works of French painting from the 18th century, among them canvases by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, David Teniers, and Jean Siméon Chardin.
The Many Sides of the Margravine
What can a red whelk reveal to us about Karoline Luise von Baden? What exactly does a prescription for ‘sheep lice in de-pitted cherries’ have to do with the Margravine? What were her fields of activity, this ‘knowledgeable, questioning mind’ – as Enlightenment philosopher Johann Caspar Lavater described her? In this exhibition, 11 different objects disclose the interests and passions of this exceptional woman.
Inspired by Karoline Luise’s curiosity, younger visitors are invited on their own journey of discovery to investigate for themselves the many pursuits of the Margravine.
At the heart of this exhibition of works by the Welsh artist Bethan Huws (b. 1961) is her piece entitled Forest from 2008/09. The work consists of 88 bottle racks, of the kind that were once a common sight in many a French household. From within this dense ‘forest’ of (once) everyday objects glows a bottle rack fashioned from neon tubes. As a piece of sculpture, Forest is at once alluring and enchanted; it pervades the exhibition space while simultaneously remaining a mystery. In selecting the bottle rack as the starting point for her installation, Huws makes direct reference to one of the great revolutionaries of 20th-century art – Marcel Duchamp. A bottle rack was one of the first found objects he pronounced, without any further embellishment, a work of art (Readymade).
Bethan Huws’ art is astonishingly multifacetted. Her work includes watercolours and whole-room installations, textual interventions and changeable letter boards, object-like sculptures and video works. The exhibition is being held in the Orangerie at the Kunsthalle, alongside other contemporary works from the museum’s collection. In addition to the exhibition of her own work, Bethan Huws will also select works for display from the museum’s collection of 20th-century art.
The self-portrait is a truly European genre of visual art. It arises from the fundamental need of the modern individual to investigate and represent him or herself as a means of continually grappling with the question of human existence. The self-portrait is unique as a genre because the artist is not only the creator of the representation, but also provides the content for the work.
Self-portraits spanning a period of five centuries provide the focus for this tri-national project, a collaboration between the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, the Scottish National Galleries in Edinburgh, and the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. On display in the exhibition are around 100 works employing different artistic media and techniques, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and video art.
Self-awareness and self-representation carry great importance in the lives of children and those coming of age. How do our young visitors perceive and represent themselves? Within this process, what roles do age, sex, ancestry, and fashion play? What impact do our social networks have on the configuration of the self?
Accompanying the five centuries of artistic self-portraits on display in the main building, the exhibition in the Junge Kunsthalle seeks to encourage reflection on today’s forms of self-presentation in digital media. It features various activities involving perception, designed to support the development of identity in youth through experimentation with various creative and imaginative aesthetic styles.