High Modernism

Expressionism, Constructivism, Surrealism

From the late 1950s onwards, conscious efforts have been made to develop and expand the Kunsthalle’s modern collection. It focuses on German and French painting from the first half of the 20th century. The collection’s highlights include works by the French Modernists, from Robert Delaunay’s celebrated Eiffel Tower and cubist works by Fernand Léger and Juan Gris, to sculptures by Amedeo Modigliani and Jacques Lipchitz.


The Kunsthalle also possesses a wealth of German Expressionist art, represented by paintings from the group known as Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Bold paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, August Macke and Franz Marc attest to the influence the French avant-garde had on German art. Works by artists of the ‘New Objectivity’ offer a formal counterpart, which, along with Otto Dix, is primarily represented in the Karlsruhe collection in paintings by students and teachers from the Karlsruhe academy such as Alexander Kanoldt, Karl Hubbuch and Georg Scholz.


The ensemble of works by the exceptional artist Max Ernst in the Kunsthalle represents the ‘Surrealist revolution’ of the interwar period. Three paintings and a sculpture from the middle of his artistic career, shown alongside works by Joan Miró and Yves Tanguy, demonstrate the vital importance of the subconscious mind and dreams in artistic creation. In contrast, visitors can explore the formal austerity of geometric Constructivist art through works by Lyonel Feininger, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Erich Buchholz and Naum Gabo.