Menzel. Painter on Paper

20.09.2019 to 19.01.2020
Kupferstichkabinett

Adolph Menzel was the eye of the nineteenth century. In autumn of 2019, the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett – which possesses the largest collection of works on paper by this German artist, comprising more than 6,000 works – is rediscovering Menzel as a painter of works on paper with a major solo exhibition. The show will feature around 100 works in watercolour, pastels and gouache from the museum’s own holdings, along with a number of key loans. Together, they offer the first comprehensive survey of Menzel’s painterly works on paper. 

Adolph Menzel (1815–1905) is known as a painter of large works on canvas, and as the creator of countless studies in pencil. But it was first as a painter of works on paper that he began to employ the full palette of his artistic gifts of expression, creating colourful works ranging from experimental portrait studies through to elaborately composed paintings.

The majority of the works shown in the exhibition are standalone works, however there are also a number of preparatory studies for famous paintings – including the portrait studies carried out in preparation for the coronation picture commissioned by King Wilhelm I, which Menzel painted between 1861 and 1865, and which represents the largest and of Menzel’s paintings, depicting countless figures.

Menzel’s multi-faceted oeuvre in 10 chapters

The exhibition presents the different sides of Menzel’s work as a painter of works on paper chronologically and according to techniques, arranging selected works into 10 ‘chapters’. At the same time, it gives visitors an insight into the specific effects of watercolours, pastels and gouache, and Menzel’s particular mixed technique. There is a particular focus on his pastel technique, which between the mid-1840s and the late 1850s functioned as a crucial bridge between drawing and painting for Menzel.

Alongside fragmentary sketches, the show will also feature experiments and abandoned drafts – such as a detailed “drapery study” rendered by Menzel in luminous chalk on paper, and later destroyed with energetic gestures.

The portrait pair Gentleman and Lady in a Train Compartment back together again

Hidden among the scenic depictions, a particular sensation awaits audiences in the form of the portrait pair Gentleman and Lady in a Train Compartment (1859), which first joined the collection in 1907. Presumed lost for decades after disappearing during the Second World War, the “Lady” was recently able to be regained for the Kupferstichkabinett’s collection. The couple, so cold in their interaction with one another, observed by Menzel with his keen sense for the twists and turns of human relationships, is now back together for the first time in more than 70 years.

Loans, new acquisitions and recovered works

Also on show are works that are not just sketched out as scenes, but are also worked over in other media covering the full expanse of the sheet. Platz für den großen Raffael (Room for the Great Raphael), a loan from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, represents Menzel’s tendency to rework pictures using various techniques: begun in 1855 in pastels, Menzel completed the work four years later in gouache.

The figures in Schlittschuhläufer (Ice Skaters), acquired for the Kupferstichkabinett in 2018, are also rendered by Menzel in pastel on a monumental scale – in this case though, the work was not later reworked in gouache. This work was produced in 1855, shortly after Menzel’s first visit to France, and bears testament to the modernity that Menzel had been able to witness first hand in Paris, and which is represented in the exhibition by the loan from the Hamburg Kunsthalle, Erinnerung an Paris (Memory of Paris). 

From the 1860s onwards, Menzel’s production was dominated by a polished gouache and mixed technique. An impressive example of this can be found in Schutzmann im Winter (Constable in Winter, 1860/1865), a full-sheet depiction of his own contemporary context. As was the case with the portrait Oberregierungsrath Knerk (Senior Privy Councillor Knerk, 1863/1865), the whereabouts of the Constable had been unknown since 1941 as a result of the war. Back in the museum’s collection as of this spring, the works can now be presented to the public once more.

Other works from the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett

The exhibition is capped off by three outstanding groups of works from the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett: the Kinderalbum (Children’s Album), which was produced as an unbound series of 44 gouache paintings for Menzel’s niece Gretel and nephew Otto; the commissioned work on the designs for the “kitchenware” made by the Royal Porcelain Manufacture Berlin for the silver wedding anniversary of the Crown Prince and Princess in 1883; and Menzel’s idiosyncratically interpreted allegories.   

Menzel: Painter on Paper is curated by the Menzel experts Werner Busch and Claude Keisch, Anna Marie Pfäfflin (curator for nineteenth-century art at the Kupferstichkabinett) and Georg Josef Dietz (Director of the conservation and restoration department of the Kupferstichkabinett).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive publication released by Imhof Verlag.

A special exhibition by the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Offers for

Adolph Menzel, Ein tanzender Maler (Selbstbildnis), Detail, flüchtige Skizze zu „Kronprinz Friedrich besucht den Maler Antoine Pesne während der Arbeit auf dem Gerüst“, um 1861
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Sun 22.09.2019 11:30 am
Kupferstichkabinett
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Sun 29.09.2019   Sun 06.10.2019   Sun 13.10.2019   Mehr

Adolph von Menzel: Balkonzimmer, 1845
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 03.10.2019 03:00 pm
Alte Nationalgalerie
Exhibition talk
Adults
More Dates : Sun 06.10.2019   Sun 20.10.2019   Sun 17.11.2019   Mehr

Adolph Menzel, 50 Jahre Maschinenfabrik Heckmann in Berlin, Adresse zum Jubiläum der Firma Heckmann, 1869, Gouache
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 10.10.2019 10:00 am
Kupferstichkabinett
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Thu 10.10.2019   Thu 17.10.2019   Thu 17.10.2019  

Adolph Menzel, Oberregierungsrath Knerk, Detail, Brustbild nach links, 3/4-Profil, mit Bezeichnung des Dargestellten, Porträtstudie zum Gemälde „Die Krönung Wilhelms I. in Königsberg“, 1863/1865, Aquarell und Gouache über Vorzeichnung mit Bleistift auf Vélinpapier
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Thu 10.10.2019 04:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Curator tour
Adults

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Tue 05.11.2019 11:00 am
Kupferstichkabinett
Academy: conversations on art and culture (over several days)
Adults

Adolph Menzel, Schlittschuhläufer, Detail, 1855/1856
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Wed 06.11.2019 04:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Academy: conversations on art and culture (over several days)
Adults

Adolph Menzel, Herr im Coupé, Detail, 1859
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 07.11.2019 10:00 am
Kupferstichkabinett
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Thu 07.11.2019   Thu 14.11.2019   Thu 14.11.2019  

Adolph Menzel, 50 Jahre Maschinenfabrik Heckmann in Berlin, Adresse zum Jubiläum der Firma Heckmann, 1869, Gouache
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Sun 10.11.2019 01:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Curator tour | Expert talk | Workshop (several days)
Adults

Adolph Menzel, Dame im Coupé, Detail, 1859
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Thu 14.11.2019 04:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Curator tour
Adults

Adolph Menzel, Ein tanzender Maler (Selbstbildnis), flüchtige Skizze zu „Kronprinz Friedrich besucht den Maler Antoine Pesne während der Arbeit auf dem Gerüst“, um 1861
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 05.12.2019 10:00 am
Kupferstichkabinett
Public tour
Adults
More Dates : Thu 05.12.2019   Thu 12.12.2019   Thu 12.12.2019  

Adolph Menzel, Der rote Ara und Kakadus, Detail, aus dem „Kinderalbum“, 1863-83, Gouache auf Papier
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 12.12.2019 04:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Curator tour
Adults

Adolph Menzel, Herr im Coupé, Detail, 1859
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders

Thu 09.01.2020 04:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Curator tour
Adults

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Valerie Schmidt

Sat 21.09.2019 02:00 pm
Kupferstichkabinett
Workshop
Children 6 – 12 years
More Dates : Sat 19.10.2019   Sat 16.11.2019   Sat 21.12.2019   Mehr

Adolph Menzel, Ein tanzender Maler (Selbstbildnis), Detail, flüchtige Skizze zu „Kronprinz Friedrich besucht den Maler Antoine Pesne während der Arbeit auf dem Gerüst“, um 1861
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Jörg P. Anders
Die Welt festhalten


Ausstellungsgespräch

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kulturforum/ Anika Büssemeier
Die Welt in Pastell


Workshop

Related content

Adolph Menzel, Ein Schutzmann im Winter (A Constable in Winter), full-body profile from the left, ca. 1860, black and coloured chalk, watercolour and gouache on paper
© Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Dietmar Katz
Kupferstichkabinett

Works by Adolph Menzel Recovered: The Couple in the Train Compartment Reunited

Portrait of Senior Privy Councillor Knerk, 1865, watercolour and gouache over pencil
© SPK
Kupferstichkabinett

A Menzel Returns to the Kupferstichkabinett

(v. l. n. r.) Markus Hilgert (Generalsekretär der Kulturstiftung der Länder), Dr. Dagmar Korbacher (Direktorin des Kupferstichkabinetts), Dr. Anna Pfäfflin (Kuratorin am Kupferstichkabinett), Martin Hoernes (Generalsekretär der Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung) und Prof. Michael Eissenhauer (Generaldirektor der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin) präsentieren den Neuerwerb
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / David von Becker
Kupferstichkabinett

New Acquisition of a Work by Adolph von Menzel for the Kupferstichkabinett

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