The Städel collection welcomed a number of international visitors on the occasion of its bicentennial. A show that has been conceived by all the Städel’s curators together confronted key works of the institution’s own holdings with masterpieces from the most renowned museums over the world.
The fascinating and inspiring comparisons encompassed—both in terms of contents and space—all collections of the Städel Museum: visitors came upon temporary “partnerships” in about 40 selected places throughout the house. Jan van Eyck’s “Annunciation” (c. 1434/36) flew in from Washington, for example, and met with the master’s “Lucca Madonna” (1437) that resides in the Städel. The two paintings, which rank among the most beautiful and, as regards their contents, most complex Madonnas of the most famous Early Netherlandish artist, were part of the splendid old masters collection of William II, King of the Netherlands, until 1850.
The confrontation of Edgar Degas’s “Musicians in the Orchestra” (1872–1876) with his “Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Robert Le Diable’” (1876) reveals a common ground in terms of both contents and motifs, in particular in regards to the depicted relationship between orchestra and dancers. Bringing together loans such as “Geschlecht mit Klößen (Sex with Dumplings)”, (1963) with paintings from the collection of the Städel Museum like “Acker (Field)”, (1962) elucidated the painter Georg Baselitz’s early work as a crucial position in the history of German twentieth-century painting. The Department of Prints and Drawings was also visited by works of Elsheimer, Goltzius, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and others.
The approximately 40 encounters of important anniversary guests with works from the Städel’s collection not only yielded insights into exciting and sometimes surprising art-historical and historical connections but also unfolded a background for reassessing the Städel’s own holdings.
Curators: Dr. Bastian Eclercy, Dr. Martin Engler, Dr. Felix Krämer, Prof. Dr. Jochen Sander, Dr. Jutta Schütt, Dr. Martin Sonnabend
Project Supervision: Dr. Eva Mongi-Vollmer (Curator for Special Projects, Städel Museum)
DZ Bank, Kulturfonds Frankfurt Rhein Main, Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne
Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain gGmbH, Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, Kulturstiftung der Länder
Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurter Neue Presse