Anton Graff (1736-1813), an artist from Winterthur in Switzerland, was the most important portraitist of the German Enlightenment. Like no other painter at the time, he shaped the image of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, of poets and thinkers, and of emancipated women at the cusp of modernity. In the words of Swiss philosopher and aesthetics scholar Johann Georg Sulzer, Anton Graff's talent lay in his ability to look "into the depths of the soul".
When Graff died in 1813 at the age of 76, he left behind an exceptional panorama of the era in which he lived, from portraits of Frederick the Great and Friedrich Wilhelm II to Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Henriette Herz, Friedrich Schiller and Johann Gottfried Herder. These portraits of prominent figures and his numerous portraits of his family and of himself demonstrate Graff's outstanding ability to capture the individual essence and mindset of the person standing across from him.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death, the Alte Nationalgalerie is hosting the first comprehensive monographic showing of his work in fifty years, showcasing about 90 paintings and 45 works on paper, which illustrate Graff's great artistic achievements.
The exhibition 'Anton Graff - Faces of an Epoch' was organised in cooperation with the Museum Oskar Reinhart in Winterthur. An exhibition of about 80 works will be held there from 22 June to 29 September 2013.
The retrospective at the Alte Nationalgalerie has been made possible by the support of the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie and funded by the cultural foundations of the German states and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
For hints for events and the supporting programme of the exhibition please click here.
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