The Alte Nationalgalerie is dedicating a long-overdue exhibition to the painter Johann Erdmann Hummel (1786–1822), an artist who, despite his historical significance, has long been neglected. The Nationalgalerie hosted a first retrospective of Hummel’s work back in 1924, while under the direction of Ludwig Justi. Based on works from the collection of the Nationalgalerie, the show Magical Reflections – Johann Erdmann Hummel allows audiences to rediscover Hummel’s painting, some 100 years on.
Inventive reflections, nested spatial constructions and refined uses of light were some of Hummel’s key interests. His artfully constructed, at times hyperrealistic-seeming compositions are executed with a graphic clarity that anticipated movements such as New Objectivity. At the same time, Hummel’s teaching at Berlin’s Akademie der Künste on optics, perspective and architecture were highly influential, both throughout Germany and beyond, as were his research and publications on the laws of visual perception. Beginning in 1904, Hugo von Tschudi was able to acquire three of Hummel’s major works for the Nationalgalerie, in Game of Chess, The Polishing of the Granite Basin and The Granite Basin in the Berlin Lustgarten. The exhibition features some 45 paintings and 50 drawings by Hummel, as well as a number of selected works representative of the aesthetics of New Objectivity.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Sandstein-Verlag, with a catalogue raisonné of his painted work.
The exhibition is made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie.
A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin