23 July 2019
At Milan “The Tannahauser collection. From Van Gogh to Picasso“
From October 17th 2019 to March 1st 2020 at Palazzo Reale an unique exhibition
The exhibition entitled “Guggenheim. The Tannahauser collection. From Van Gogh to Picasso“ to be held at Palazzo Reale from October 17th 2019 to March 1st 2020, will feature around 50 works by the great Impressionists, Post-Impressionists and exponents of the early 20th-century avant-gardes, including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh and an important number of works by Pablo Picasso.
The show tells the story of the extraordinary collection built up over the years by Justin K. Thannhauser, who in 1963 donated the collection to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, who placed them on permanent display in a designated space in its New York museum ever since. Promoted and produced by the Milan City Council – Culture, Palazzo Reale and MondoMostre Skira, and organized in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, the exhibition is curated by Megan Fontanella, Curator of Modern Art at the Guggenheim.
"This exhibition," Councillor for Culture Filippo Del Corno explains, "tells the story of an extraordinary art collection spanning the entire 20th century. It was made possible by the Guggenheim New York's desire to give the people of Milan the chance to appreciate its masterpieces without having to cross the Atlantic, and Palazzo Reale's commitment to present annually an exhibition featuring the collections of the most prestigious museums in the world. A winning combination that enriches Milan's cultural offer."
For the very first time the most important masterpieces from the Tannhauser collection of the Guggenheim Museum will be on show in Europe. After travelling to the Guggenheim in Bilbao and then the Hotel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence, Palazzo Reale will be the final venue of the exhibition, after which the collection will return to New York. This exhibition offers the public a unique chance to view these exceptional works by iconic European painters, which have never been displayed together outside of the United States.
The Milan exhibition will feature two paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Woman with Parakeet (1871) and Still Life: Flowers (1885); four paintings by Georges Braque, including Landscape near Antwerp (1906), Guitar, Glass, and Fruit Dish on Sideboard (1919) and Teapot on Yellow Background (1955), which belonged to Thannhauser, juxtaposed with Still life (1926–1927) owned by the Guggenheim.
Six works by Paul Cézanne will be shown, four of which were owned by Thannhauser – two landscapes: The Neighborhood of Jas de Bouffan (1885-1887) and the magnificent Bibémus (1894–1895), both painted near Mont Sainte-Victoire where the artist rented a cabin to work undisturbed, using the colours of Provence; and two still lifes: Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug (c. 1877) and Still Life: Plate of Peaches (1879–1880) – set against another landscape and the well-known Man with Crossed Arms (c. 1899), the first work by Cézanne acquired by the Guggenheim in 1954 for 97,000 dollars: a price that caused a sensation at the time.
Thannhauser had collected various pieces by Edgar Degas, including the three superb bronze sculptures on display, executed between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century: Dancer Moving Forward, Arms Raised, Spanish Dance and Seated Woman, Wiping Her Left Side. There is also another exceptional bronze, Woman with Crab by Aristide Maillol, dating to the early 20th century.
In 1928 the Thannhauser gallery in Berlin had organized a major Paul Gauguin retrospective, and the splendid landscape Haere Mai painted on Tahiti in 1891, reflecting the Romantic idealization of a virgin paradise that seduced Europeans at the end of the 19th century, will also be on show in Milan.
Thannhauser collected works by the celebrated artist Edouard Manet, such as Before the Mirror (1876), one of the most important paintings in the collection. This portrait of a courtesan – the mistress of the heir to the Dutch throne – seen from behind, with her corset partly unlaced, conveys an extraordinary feeling of intimacy and is characterized by free and nuanced brushstrokes that create a fleeting image. It is juxtaposed with Woman in Striped Dress (c. 1877–1880) which, left unfinished by Manet, was later radically altered. It is being displayed in Milan after the painstaking restoration carried out in 2018, which has brought to light the artist’s rapid brushwork and the vibrant bluish-purple colour of the fabric.
Also featured are Claude Monet’s superb view of Venice, The Palazzo Ducale, Seen from San Giorgio Maggiore (1908), donated to the Guggeheim by Hilde Thannhauser.
Three works by Vincent van Gogh are included in the show: Roadway with Underpass (1887) – profoundly influenced by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and restored by the Guggenheim in 2018 – Landscape with Snow (1888) and Mountains at Saint-Rémy (1889).
The works by Pablo Picasso, a great friend of Justin Thannhauser, deserve a special mention: thirteen paintings will be on display, 12 of which belonged to Thannhauser, the other one, Landscape at Céret (1911), is owned by the Guggenheim. They range from 1900 to 1965, and are quite remarkable: Le Moulin de la Galette and The Picador (1900); In the Café and The Fourteenth of July (1901), which the artist painted when he was twenty years old during his first stay in Paris; Fernande with a Black Mantilla (c. 1905) of fauvist inspiration; Woman in an Armchair (1922), indebted to classical statuary; the stunning Woman with Yellow Hair (1931), a portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter and one of the highlights of the collection, which reveals a new departure in Picasso’s painting; Still Life: Fruit Dish and Pitcher (1937); Still Life: Fruits and Pitcher (1939); Garden in Vallauris (1953); Two Doves with Wings Spread (1960) and Lobster and Cat (1965), which bears an affectionate dedication from the artist to his collector friend, and was actually Picasso’s wedding present to the Thannhausers.
Together with the splendid works from the Thannhauser Collection, the Guggenheim Foundation has chosen to display a number of other prestigious works by the same iconic artists and other great masters, in order to further enrich the exhibition and to show the marked affinity between the two collections.
Thus, the exhibition will also feature: Henri Rousseau’s Artillerymen (c. 1893–1895) and The Football Players (1908) which Justin Thannhauser owned in 1910, then sold; Georges Seurat’s three magnificent paintings on a rural theme, Farm Women at Work, Peasant with Hoe and Peasant Woman Seated in the Grass, executed between 1882 and 1883; Robert Delaunay’s The City (1911), displayed in the first Blue Rider exhibition organized by Thannhauser in Munich in 1911-12; André Derain’s Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1913–1914); Juan Gris’ Cherries (1915); Vasily Kandinsky’s Blue Mountain (1908–1909), a cornerstone of the artist’s trajectory and a favourite of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who was a great collector of Kandinsky – indeed the museum possesses over 150 of his works. There is also a painting by Paul Klee – another leading member of the Blue Rider group, who had his first exhibition in Germany organized by Thannhauser in Munich in 1911 – entitled Flower Bed (1913) in which the naturalistic subject is interpreted through fragmented forms in jarring colours; Yellow Cow (1911) by Franz Marc, another member of the Blue Rider group, and Henri Matisse’s Nude in a Forest (1909–1912).
The Thannhauser Collection is one of the jewels of the Guggenheim Museum, focused mainly on abstract art, who only had a few Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works at the beginning of the 1960s. With this exhibition the American museum is paying tribute to the great German collector, by bringing to Europe works of exceptional quality that were fundamental to the creative development of each artist.
Justin Thannhauser (after losing his first wife and two sons, ) said: "My family, after 500 years of living in Germany, is now extinguished. That is why I wish to donate my collection". Through his philanthropic donation to the Guggenheim in 1963, he felt that "finally the work of my entire life finds its meaning".
Al Museo Guggenheim questa meravigliosa collezione viene ammirata ogni giorno da centinaia di americani e di turisti in visita nell’edificio-culto realizzato da Frank Lloyd Wright; a Milano per alcuni mesi queste opere straordinarie rendono nuovamente omaggio al ruolo di questa famiglia nella difesa e nella promozione degli artisti di avanguardia europei durante oltre mezzo secolo.
At the New York Guggenheim Museum this stunning collection is admired by thousands of visitors in the building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; at Palazzo Reale in Milan, these unique works will once again honour the Thannhauser family and their defence and promotion of European avant-garde artists for over half a century.
A brief history of this unique Thannhauser collection
In 1905 Heinrich Thannhauser, a Jewish art dealer and the father of Justin, opened his first gallery in Munich where, in 1908, he presented the first major Van Gogh retrospective in Germany. In 1909, his young son Justin began working with him, gradually taking over the organization of the exhibitions in the various galleries they had since opened in Europe, and the buying of artworks. In 1911-12 the first show of works by Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group was staged, and in 1913 one of the first major exhibitions devoted to Picasso, which marked the start of a long friendship between Justin and the Spanish master, which would last until the artist's death in 1973. During World War I Justin served in the army and, after being wounded in action, was decorated with the Iron Cross; he married Käthe, with whom he had two sons, Heinz and Michel. In 1920 Justin opened a gallery in Lucerne with his cousin Siegfried Rosengart and in 1926 he mounted an important exhibition on Degas at the Munich gallery. In 1927 he opened a new gallery in Berlin. During this period he organized major exhibitions devoted to Gauguin, Matisse and Monet. In 1935 his father Heinrich died, and in 1937 he moved to Paris opening a new gallery. When German troops took Paris in 1940 Justin was in Switzerland and could not return to France. At the end of that year he boarded on a ship in Lisbon and sailed to New York. In 1944 his son Heinz was killed in combat during World War II and his other son, Michel, committed suicide in 1952. His wife Käthe died in 1960. Two years later Justin married Hilde Breitwisch. In the space of two decades the Thannhausers' New York home became a meeting place for luminaries in the world of culture, art, music, theatre, cinema and photography, including Leonard Bernstein, Louise Bourgeois, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Renoir and Arturo Toscanini. Like Solomon R. Guggenheim, he championed innovation in art and, now that he had no heirs, he decided to donate 75 works from his collection, including 30 Picassos, to the American museum. In 1965 the pieces were presented in a designated gallery at the Guggenheim Museum. Justin Thannhauser died in Switzerland in 1976, at the age of eighty-four. In 1984 his wife Hilde donated another ten works to the museum, which entered the Guggenheim collection upon her death in 1991.
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Piazza Duomo 12. From October 17th 2019 to March 1st 2020. Info: www.palazzorealemilano.it - www.mostraguggenheimmilano.it
Edited by Nicolò Villa
Source and photos: Exhibition Press Office/Milan City Council
Foto opere d'arte con diritti riservati, © Copyright.
Visual Milan: © Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
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