Menzel and Berlin - Homage on the occasion of the centenary of the artist's death

11.03.2005 to 05.06.2005

Adolph Menzel has lived and worked in Berlin for 75 years, and was identified with the city in a way unlike other artists of his time. Although he was born in Breslau and only came to Berlin with his family at the age of 16, the Prussian capital deeply formed him as a man and artist. He became the embodiment of the 'Berliner'. At a great age, Menzel was made an honorary citizen, and soon after that ennobled. After his death (in 9 February 1905) he was given a burial organised by the State, the only Prussian artist ever honoured in this way.

The Cabinet of Prints and Drawings, holding some 7,000 drawings and 1,500 prints, preserves the most important Menzel collection in the world. Its richness is based mainly on the vast artistic output bought by the National Gallery with the assistance of the government of the time in 1906 - and which the National Gallery was later able to complete.

By means of a representative selection of drawings, pastels, gouaches and important graphic works, which are complemented by loans from other collections of the National Museums in Berlin, this exhibition traces the meaning of Berlin in the oeuvre of Menzel.

In this context, areas surrounding the city, above all Potsdam, are also of interest. The exhibition gives full coverage to the topographical facet of Menzel's work, while also including significant cultural and historical aspects.

In addition to this anniversary exhibition, the Cabinet of Prints and Drawings is showing aquarelles, gouaches, drawings and documents dealing with 'Menzel and the court', another important facet in the late works of Menzel. These are on display at the Old National Gallery (9 February - 5 June 2005), and focus mainly on the impressive, colourful portrait sketches for the 'Krönungsbild' ('painting of the coronation') in Potsdam as well as sketches and studies of festivities at the court.