Museum Folkwang Presents Taking the Train through Europe

The Museum Folkwang presents Taking the train through Europe. Poster on luxurious travel around 1900

On 5 June, 1883, the Train Express d’Orient (Paris-Constantinople) was the first completely luxury train which also had sleeping and dining cars, the beginning of a success story which continued, with breaks, until 1939. Even today the names of such trains stand for luxury and adventure, although, like the Orient–Express or the Transsiberian-Express, they haven’t been running for decades.

Advertising for the luxury trains demanded more than just putting up a timetable, as it was not the transport, but the experience which was sold. The exhibition shows about 30 posters of important trains around 1900 as well as about 20 made in the 1920s. Taking the train through Europe. Poster on luxurious travel around 1900 also shows around 20 posters of preferred destinations throughout Europe and the luxurious hotels there. The posters in the exhibition come from the collection Reisen in Luxus, Essen, with over 300 posters, which the Deutsche Plakat Museum in the Museum Folkwang has been housing as a permanent loan since 2008.

Image: Museum Folkwang

The Museum Folkwang owes its reputation to its excellent collection of 19th century and classical modern paintings and sculpture, post-1945 art and photography. The core of this major collection is 19th and 20th century German and French painting. Forerunners of modernism are represented with masterpieces by Cézanne, Gauguin and van Gogh. Also present are German Romantics (C.D. Friedrich, Canus) as well as Courbet, Daumier, Manet and Renoir. The numerous works by German Expressionists and the Blaue Reiter are of unique quality. From the 50’s and 60’s, special mention is due large format American color field painting (Newman, Rothko, Reinhard, Stella) and German Informal Art (Nay, Schumacher, Thieler).

Beyond the paintings and an extensive Graphic Arts collection, a Photographic Collection was founded in 1978 as a further important department of the museum. Today the Painting and Sculpture Collection contains 550 paintings and 250 sculptures, the Graphic Arts Collection ca. 12,000 works on paper, the Photographic Collection more than 50,000 photographs and a number of artists’ estates.

One special aspect of the collection is the large holdings of antique and non-European art and European and non-European crafts from 4000 B.C. to the 19th century, with around 1300 objects. This is still a hidden treasure, only small portions of which have been exhibited up to now.

Also organizationally part the Museum Folkwang is the German Poster Museum whose collection of ca. 340,000 posters is the largest of its kind in Europe. It documents the development of German posters in a European context.

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