San Diego Museum of Art opens The Human Beast. German Expressionism exhibition

. July 22, 2012 . 0 Comments

San Diego Museum of Art presents The Human Beast. German Expressionism an exhibition on view through November 11, 2012, highlights the recent bequest of 48 German Expressionist paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints from the Estate of Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger along with works from the Museum’s permanent collection. A total of approximately 80 works of art will be on display starting July 21, 2012.

Otto Dix. Lion Cannoneer,1914. Oil on paper. From the Estate of Vance E. Kondon and Elisabeth Giesberger. Art © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

The exhibition, dedicated to the modernist movement that developed in Germany and Austria in the first decades of the twentieth century, will offer a broad survey of German Expressionism. Expressionism was not the work of a single, closely associated group of artists, but, rather, it is a movement associated with painters, sculptors, and printmakers in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, and Vienna who were united by common interests and artistic styles. Together, they created art that explored themes such as primitivism, raw emotion, the solace of nature, the terror of the First World War, and the social chaos of Weimar Germany. Depictions of unidealized nudes and of prostitution are likewise typical of the Expressionists’ attempt to evoke primal emotion. The Human Beast will explore the complexity of these themes.

“It is with great joy that we received this bequest that will augment and enhance our collection of German expressionism” says Roxana Velasquez, Maruja Baldwin Director of The San Diego Museum of Art, “we recognize this movement among the most relevant of the past century. The works on view in this exhibition reflect the soul and spirit of human beings as they navigated the emotions, and questioned the social movements, surrounding World War I.”

Major new acquisitions from the Kondon-Giesberger bequest include paintings by Otto Dix, Gabriele Münter, and Max Pechstein, as well as watercolors and drawings by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Ernst Kirchner, and Emil Nolde. These join a strong group of Expressionist paintings and drawings that have long been at the Museum, among which works by Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Max Beckmann, and George Grosz are particularly notable. A small group of loans will round out the selection, allowing the Museum to tell a comprehensive story of German Expressionism.

The San Diego Museum of Art is located at 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, Calif., 92101. General Information, (619) 232-7931, Group Sales: (619) 696-1935, Website:

Category: Fine Art

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