MYTHOS WORPSWEDE

Ocztober, 25th 2020 - February, 28th 2021

 

Museum Kronberger Malerkolonie
Heinrich Winter Straße 4a, Kronberg im Taunus

 

The popularity of painting in plein air encouraged the establishment of artists' colonies across Europe from around the mid-19th century onwards. The Worpswede Artists' Colony is one of the most famous of such colonies in Germany. Fritz Mackensen was the first to discover Worpswede for as a place for art and artists in 1884. Together with Otto Modersohn and Hans am Ende he founded the colony in 1889. It was, however, Otto Modersohn's wife, the artist Paula Modersohn-Becker who famously interwove painting, poetry, love, longing and suffering and thereby inspired numerous writers to produce countless publications and films about the artists working in the Teufelsmoor (devil’s bog) area north of Bremen. The fates of the Worpswede artists and their timeless depictions of the clouds, bog and birch landscapes soon became a 20th century myth.

The term Worpswede school was first coined when Fritz Mackensen, Otto Modersohn, Hans am Ende, Fritz Overbeck and Heinrich Vogeler exhibited at the Bremen Art Gallery at the end of 1895 and shortly afterwards celebrated their successful breakthrough in the Munich Glaspalast (Crystal Palace). Worpswede soon established itself as a magnet for artists. Artists came together often and there were regular festivals, especially at Vogeler's Barkenhoff estate. In 1899, the artists' community dissolved, and from 1902 onwards, joint exhibitions ceased. 

The fact that women were denied access to public academies of arts at the time meant that many female artists attended private art schools, which included Worpswede. Leaving the male artists aside, the importance of Paula Modersohn-Becker‘s influence on the colony’s female artists cannot be overestimated. Strictly speaking, Modersohn-Becker belonged to the "second" generation of Worpswede artists. The significance of her legacy in the context of art was probably only recognised during her lifetime by her husband.

As with Paula’s oeuvre, the works of many of the female artists were overshadowed during their lifetime by the male artists whose wives they often were. After her tragic death, Paula's distinctive style enjoyed such broad recognition, however, that many later generations of artists, both male and female, such as Lisel Oppel, were drawn to paint in Worpswede. 

Our guest exhibition traces the multifaceted picture of this legendary artists’ colony up until after 1945, by presenting around 70 works by 25 artists, on loan from private and public collections.

Site Plan Kronberg im Taunus