“Warning! A collection of paintings by the obscure painter Paul Gaugin is advancing slowly towards Berlin. Following on the idiot Van Gogh comes now Gaugin.” Thus wrote an art critic for the magazine Die Kunst-Halle in 1905, not presciently, to say the least. So much for critics! But, if you are going to listen to them, we prefer the comments of another German observer: “Van Gogh struck modern art like lightning.”
Indeed, lightning will surely strike any viewer of this exhibit, clearly one of the most remarkable in Los Angeles art history: so many great works by so many great artists, all in one place – a feast for the eyes, heart, and mind of any observer!
This exhibit showcases the early 20th century works of artists from Germany and France influenced by modern masters such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gaugin, whose art is also on display. More than 40 artists are exhibited, including Kandinsky, Matisse, Nolde, Marc, Macke, Kirchner, Delaunay, and Bonnard, so the avid viewer should count on at least three separate viewings, all of which will be glorious!
Exhibition curator Timothy O. Benson and LACMA CEO Michael Govan believe that the unfettered exchange of ideas during this period between artists of the two countries was fostered and cross-pollinated by exhibitions, collectors, gallery owners, critics, museums, and the artists themselves. Given such a spirit of cooperation within such a culturally rich cosmopolitan milieu, art could not but bloom, and it did! Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the images and color you encounter, as you march both chronologically and geographically through this creative period and learn how the artists and art movements such as the Fauves, Die Brucke, and Blaue Reiter all developed. Sadly, the outbreak of World War I in August, 1914 brought an abrupt halt to the fruitful exchanges which had led to such a blossoming of art.
Below, we pick some pieces which “struck us with lightning.”
The Pile Drivers by Maxmilien Luce
Harlequin and Columbine by Heinrick Campendonk
Dodo with a Feather Hat by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Arabian Cemetery by Wassily Kandinsky
Wheatfield with Reaper by Vincent Van Gogh
Landscape with Cows and Camel by August Macke
Stony Path by Franz Marc
But, there are so many more! This is, quite simply, a show one cannot afford to miss. In these times of global conflict, this exhibit will both invigorate the spirit and educate the mind, as is re-echoes what a spirited outpouring of art international cooperation can bring.The exhibit runs at LACMA from June 8 to September 14, 2014.