New acquisitions

A museum thrives on its research activities, the intensive communication of that scholarly work, and not least of all the expansion of its holdings. With targeted purchases and gifts, we continually enlarge and round out the collection, while also developing it further with regard to quality.

New acquisitions make their way into the collection by many routes: purchases are carried out with funds from our own budget or support from foundations or private persons. In keeping with longstanding tradition, the Städelscher Museums-Verein also buys works for the Städel. What is more – entirely in the spirit of Johann Friedrich Städel – we are frequently the recipients of generous gifts from private persons and artists. In the area of contemporary art, new acquisitions also come to the collection through the dedication of the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert, a support society unique in Europe. The following is a selection of the Städel’s most recent acquisitions.

Our most recent purchases and donations

  • + More
    Tata Ronkholz: Beverage Kiosks (1978)

    Tata Ronkholz: Beverage Kiosks (1978)

    The Städel Museum is the recipient of a generous gift of Becher class photographs: four photographs from the “Beverage Kiosks” workgroup by Tata Ronkholz (1940–1997) are entering the collection of contemporary art as a donation from the Van Ham Art Estate. Thanks to this and the gift of a work by Volker Döhne (b. 1953), the Städel is expanding its photography collection through the addition of important early works by two artists who have enjoyed heightened attention in recent years.

    Tata Ronkholz’s austere black-and-white photos show kiosks, retail shops, snack bars and refreshment stands in Duisburg and Düsseldorf, as seen in the four new works in the Städel Museum holdings: “Beverage Kiosk, Duisburg-Wedau, Kalkweg 217”, “Beverage Kiosk, Düsseldorf, Gladbacherstraße 40”, “Beverage Kiosk, Düsseldorf-Bilk, Konkordiastraße 85” and “Beverage Kiosk, Düsseldorf, Höherweg 300” (1978). Whereas the frontality of the views possess a rigorous documentary quality, the shots also testify to a certain pleasure in narrative detail. In the tradition of her teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ronkholz’s archive of a Rhenish institution – the Trinkhalle (beverage kiosk) – portrays venues that are subject to temporal change. Yet whereas the Bechers were concerned primarily with the expansion of photography into the realm of the sculptural or conceptual, Ronkholz focused above all on social aspects and the transitions between public and private.

    The Becher Class

    The artistic work of Tata Ronkholz received major recognition in the Städel Museum’s comprehensive 2017 survey “Photographs Become Pictures: The Becher Class”. Featuring some two hundred works by Andreas Gursky (b. 1955), Candida Höfer (b. 1944), Axel Hütte (b. 1951), Jörg Sasse (b. 1962), Tata Ronkholz (1940–1997), Thomas Ruff (b. 1958), Thomas Struth (b. 1954), Volker Döhne (b. 1953) and Petra Wunderlich (b. 1954), the show introduced the first Becher class to a broad public. The class of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf art academy is known for a radical approach to the photography medium. The Bechers’ pupils not only influenced photography decisively on an international scale, above all in the 1990s, but also fundamentally redefined the status and perception of artistic photography in general. Their works are the expression of a self-confident emancipation of photography as an artistic medium, while at the same time they reflect the moment – both analogue and digital – in which the boundaries between the mediums dissolve.

    Tata Ronkholz (1940–1997)
    Beverage Kiosks (1978)
    31 x 40,5 cm
    Gelatine silver print on baryta paper
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    © Tata Ronkholz / Van Ham Art Estate

  • + More
    Volker Döhne: Rheinstrasse (1990)

    Volker Döhne: Rheinstrasse (1990)

    The Städel Museum is receiving a generous gift: the work “Rheinstrasse" by Volker Döhne (b. 1953) – a Becher class photograph – is entering the collection of contemporary art as a donation from private holdings. Thanks to this and a gift of works by Tata Ronkholz (1940–1997), the Städel is expanding its photography collection through the addition of important early works by two artists who have enjoyed heightened attention in recent years.

    In 1990, Volker Döhne photographed a street in Krefeld in a frontal view for his “Rheinstrasse” series. The residential buildings, shops and bars stand one beside the other with no apparent compositional intention. Already Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) had proceeded in a similar manner in 1966 in his iconic early work of concept art “Every Building on the Sunset Strip”, portraying the clubs, restaurants and boutiques on that Los Angeles boulevard in a series of photos glued together in a row. Both artists captured a commonplace street with what is only seemingly a documentary approach, thus producing works that oscillate between individual shot and series, between still and film.

    The Becher Class

    The artistic work of Volker Döhne received major recognition in the Städel Museum’s comprehensive 2017 survey “Photographs Become Pictures: The Becher Class”. Featuring some two hundred works by Andreas Gursky (b. 1955), Candida Höfer (b. 1944), Axel Hütte (b. 1951), Jörg Sasse (b. 1962), Tata Ronkholz (1940–1997), Thomas Ruff (b. 1958), Thomas Struth (b. 1954), Volker Döhne (b. 1953) and Petra Wunderlich (b. 1954), the show introduced the first Becher class to a broad public. The class of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf art academy is known for a radical approach to the photography medium. The Bechers’ pupils not only influenced photography decisively on an international scale, above all in the 1990s, but also fundamentally redefined the status and perception of artistic photography in general. Their works are the expression of a self-confident emancipation of photography as an artistic medium, while at the same time reflecting the moment – both analogue and digital – in which the boundaries between the mediums dissolve.

    Volker Döhne (born 1953)
    Krefeld, Rheinstraße between Ostwall and Lohstraße, 1990 (2018)
    Series of 10
    Inkjet print
    388 x 297 mm / 305 x 240 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    © Volker Döhne

    Picture: Exhibition view (detail), Part 1–5, Photo: Städel Museum – Esra Klein

  • + More
    Kai Althoff: Untitled (2014)

    Kai Althoff: Untitled (2014)

    The Städel Museum now has in its contemporary art collection a work by one of the most enigmatic painters of the present: Kai Althoff’s “Untitled”. His monographic exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2016/2017 was the long-awaited “sign of life” from an artist as fascinating as he is sought after. One of the highlights of that New York show is now on display in the Städel’s Garden Halls. The museum has the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert to thank for the purchase of “Untitled”.

    Grey. That’s likely to be the first thought that comes to mind when we contemplate this painting – a thought that raises a lot of questions. On closer inspection, we discern the silhouette of a hen and, almost completely concealed behind it, a human being. Minimal tonal gradations and the relief created by the paint give shape to these figures on an otherwise grey, concrete-façade-like surface enlivened only by isolated scratches and streaks.

    A typical feature of Althoff’s works is that they seem to elude our grasp at first sight. For one thing, the artist experiments with various genres, motifs and materials. Devoted for the most part to figuration, he invents strongly allusive protagonists – people in pubs, people walking, soldiers – which he combines with perplexing references and accessories to create sceneries now cryptic, now utopian. If you let it, Althoff’s painting will carry you off to his still “untitled” fantasy world.

    About the artist

    Kai Althoff (b. 1966 in Cologne) has a reputation for being a kind of art-world allrounder who avails himself of the possibilities of art production in nearly every conceivable medium. Whether painting, drawing, collage, installation, video or music, Althoff’s oeuvre spans a broad spectrum of mutually corresponding objects and, with its enigmatic works, remains in the realm of the possible and as-yet-unspoken.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Kai Althoff (*1966)
    Untitled, 2014
    Oil and varnish on cloth
    117 x 112 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2018 with funds from the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert. Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
    © Kai Althoff

  • + More
    Richard Oelze: Archaic Fragment (1935)

    Richard Oelze: Archaic Fragment (1935)

    The painting “Archaic Fragment” is a magnum opus by the German Surrealist Richard Oelze and represents a significant enhancement to the Frankfurt museum’s Surrealist holdings. With the generous support from the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States and a contribution from the Kurt and Marga Möllgaard Foundation, the Städelscher Museums-Verein and the Städel Museum have jointly purchased the work from a private collection.

    Long thought lost, the work is one of only three large-scale canvases from the artist’s most important creative period in Paris. The other two – “Expectation” (1935–36) and “Everyday Torments” (1934) – are now in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf, respectively.

    Richard Oelze cultivated contacts with the chief exponents of the Surrealist movement – among them André Breton, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dalí – whose ideas and styles left distinct marks on his oeuvre. The artists of this group were primarily interested in themes that ran contrary to human logic: dreams, visions and explorations of the subconscious. In “Archaic Fragment”, the fantastical motifs of the Surrealists combine with the precise painting style of New Objectivity, which Oelze had learned from his Dresden teachers Otto Dix and Richard Müller. And although this precision applies to even the smallest details, the depiction as a whole defies conclusive interpretation. A hybrid entity of plant, animal and human forms hovers as if alive before an imaginary landscape. It is a meeting of the familiar and the strange which, in keeping with Surrealist logic, unite to form an unsettling fabrication of the subconscious. Yet the artist also plays with erotic undertones and sparks the fears and desires that slumber in the human psyche like “archaic fragments”.

    About the artist

    Richard Oelze studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1921 to 1925. From 1926 to 1929 he lived in Dresden; in 1933 he went to Paris. He was called up for war service in 1940, and following his return, he began painting again, if initially with some hesitation. The decade following his first solo exhibition, which took place at the “moderne galerie” in Cologne in 1950, would prove be one of his most productive periods. He figured prominently at the Documenta II (1959). In 1969 he was one of three artists representing Germany at the Venice Biennale. Among his numerous distinctions is the Max Beckmann Prize of the city of Frankfurt am Main, which he received in 1978, two years before his death.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Richard Oelze (1900–1980)
    Archaic Fragment, 1935
    Oil on canvas, 98 x 130 cm
    Joint property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e. V. and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired with support from the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States and a contribution from the Kurt and Marga Möllgaard Foundation
    © Estate of Richard Oelze

  • + More
    Giacinto Brandi: A Hermit Saint (ca. 1670/80)

    Giacinto Brandi: A Hermit Saint (ca. 1670/80)

    This hitherto unknown work came to the Städel in late 2017 as a generous gift from a private owner. A late example of the chiaroscuro painting style first developed by Caravaggio and Ribera, it makes a splendid addition to our collection of Baroque paintings from Rome and Naples.

    The picture shows a seated saint as a half-length figure, his hands folded in prayer and one arm resting on a pile of books. With a sudden movement, the aged, white-haired man turns, directing his gaze towards heaven as though an angel or the Lord himself was appearing to him there. From the same direction, a bright beam of light falls on him, setting his illuminated figure off against the surrounding darkness. His naked body, covered only by a cloak draped around his loins and his left arm, is vigorous but marked by age and privation. This is clearly a saint who spends his life in penance and prayer as a hermit in the wilderness. He could be St Paul the Hermit, or possibly St Jerome or St Bartholomew. No distinctive attributes are shown.

    About the artist

    On stylistic grounds, the work can with all likelihood be attributed to the Roman Baroque painter Giacinto Brandi. In the second half of the seventeenth century, Brandi executed frescoes and altarpieces for a large number of important churches and served more than once as head of the Academy of Painting (Accademia di San Luca) in Rome. Artistically, he was influenced mainly by the works of his teacher Giovanni Lanfranco and his friend Mattia Preti. For this painting, however, Brandi – an artist as yet barely represented in German collections – took his inspiration from Saint Paul the Hermit by Jusepe de Ribera (Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum).

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Giacinto Brandi (1621–1691)
    A Hermit Saint (Paulus Eremita?), ca. 1670/80
    Oil on canvas
    111 x 89 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2017 as a gift from private holdings

  • + More
    Lucian Freud: Pluto (1988)

    Lucian Freud: Pluto (1988)

    Already back in 1994, funds from the Heinz und Gisela Friederichs Stiftung enabled the Städel Museum to acquire a print by Lucian Freud – “Large Head”, a powerful portrait of the bald-headed performance artist Leigh Bowery. And in 2018, once again thanks to the dedication of the Friederichs Stiftung, Freud’s etching “Pluto” of 1988 has likewise entered the Städel’s collection of prints and drawings.

    The etching grants us a close-up view of the artist’s whippet snuggling up to the reclining woman behind it and dozing. “I like people to look as natural and as physically at ease as animals, as Pluto my whippet”, Freud once said in an interview. What he meant was the unaffected creatureliness that also accounted in great part for his fascination with his human models. On the advice of his friend the artist Frank Auerbach, Freud had the printing plate cut to such a radical degree that the female figure ends, quite startlingly, above the shoulder. The whippet’s right front paw had been cut off by the edge of the plate from the start. Thus suspended between the plate’s edges, the image concentrates not only on the sleeping dog, but especially on the close attachment between human and animal expressed in their mutual physical contact: the woman’s hand on the dog’s back, the dog’s head on the woman’s foot. Shaded by hand in a greyish hue in some parts, this etching is perhaps one of the most intimate of Lucian Freud’s works of printmaking.

    About the artist

    Lucian Freud was born in Berlin in 1922. His father, a son of the Viennese psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was an architect. The assimilated Jewish family emigrated to England in 1933 after the National Socialists came to power. Lucian Freud is today considered one of Great Britain’s outstanding contemporary figurative artists.

    Lucian Freud (1922–2011)
    Pluto, 1988
    Etching and drypoint on Somerset Satin White wove paper, partially shaded by the artist in watercolour
    32.2 × 60.4 cm (plate); 41.5 × 68.7 cm (sheet)
    Copy 20 of the published edition of 40
    Printed by Mark Balakjian, London; published by: James Kirkman and Brooke Alexander, London and New York
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2018 with funds from the Heinz und Gisela Friederichs Stiftung and the Städelsches Kunstinstitut
    © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images

  • + More
    Frank Auerbach: Self-Portrait (2017)

    Frank Auerbach: Self-Portrait (2017)

    The Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V. acquired this striking self-portrait in graphite in 2017 with funds from the Jürgen R. und Eva-Maria Mann Stiftung. So far as is known, it is the first acquisition of a work by Frank Auerbach for a German museum. It enhances the Städel’s holdings of contemporary British figurative art with a work by another important exponent of that school.

    Like all of Auerbach’s major drawings (that is, drawings that can be considered finished artworks as opposed to mere sketches), this self-portrait was the result of many weeks of sittings, at each of which the artist draws one picture. If it does not bear up to his critical appraisal at the next sitting, he erases it and starts over again on the same sheet of paper. With rapid, forcefully applied lines, the artist shows himself here with the corners of his mouth turned upward in a restrained smile. Traces of the previous endeavours underlie the portrait like grey shadows and lend it a certain dynamic.

    The constant process of re-seeing and re-creating is typical of Auerbach. His concern is not with resemblance or the representation of outward appearances but with insight. “I try to translate what I see into what is”, the artist explained in an interview in 1986, “and then paint what is”.

    About the artist

    In 1939, when Frank Auerbach was seven years old, his parents arranged for him to flee from Berlin to England; they themselves were killed in the Holocaust. Auerbach began studying art in London in 1948. His most important teacher would be David Bromberg. He had his first show at the Beaux Arts Gallery in London in 1956. Along with his friends Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Leon Kossoff, Auerbach is today considered one of the most important figurative painters of the post-war period in England.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Frank Auerbach (b. 1931)
    Self-Portrait, 2017
    Graphite on paper
    76.8 × 57.5 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2017 with funds from the Jürgen R. und Eva-Maria Mann Stiftung
    Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
    © Frank Auerbach, courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

  • + More
    Frank Stella: Cieszowa III (1973)

    Frank Stella: Cieszowa III (1973)

    The Städel Museum has recently acquired a work from the “Polish Village” series by the American artist Frank Stella (b. 1936): “Cieszowa III” (1973). The Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert funded the purchase.

    In his artistic work, Frank Stella strove to extend two-dimensional, abstract painting into real space. From 1970 onward, he developed several series in which he expanded the uniform picture plane, not only visually but also physically, by departing from the traditional flat format of the canvas. Executed in 1973, “Cieszowa III” forms part of the “Polish Village” series on which he worked from the 1970s onwards, and which represents a major turning point in his artistic oeuvre. In this series, Stella made reference to the visual culture of the Polish Jews whose wooden synagogues, dating from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, were destroyed by the National Socialists. He dedicated a large-scale wall relief to every town that had once had such a synagogue. Translating the architectural lines into wall reliefs consisting of various-coloured elements, he produced geometrical works that make a powerful artistic statement to keep alive the memory of historic buildings destroyed in war. The “Polish Village” series is innovative in both appearance and technique. The artist retained the irregular forms of his “shaped canvases” of the late 1960s, but replaced the minimalism of his earlier paintings with three-dimensional reliefs that project forwards from the picture plane into the surrounding space. His aim was not to paint a painting, but – to use his own expression – “construct” it, and to break through the boundaries of two-dimensional space. For his wall reliefs he used unusual materials not normally associated with art, for example fabric, felt, wood and aluminium.

    About the Artist

    Frank Stella (b. Malden, MA, 1936) studied history at Princeton University in New Jersey from 1954 to 1958. After completing his Bachelor’s degree he moved to New York, where he came into contact with artists such as Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns and Mark Rothko. Deriving from the principle of all-over painting, the compositions of his “Black Series” and “shaped canvases” are based on a combination of geometrical construction and the free development of coloured areas. The painted lines reach to the very edges of the canvases. Today Stella’s works are to be found in famous collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Frank Stella (*1936)
    Cieszowa III, 1973
    acrylic, fabric, felt and canvas on a construction of particle board and cardboard
    243.8 x 228.6 cm
    Purchased in 2016 with funds from the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert
    Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
    © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

  • + More
    Wilhelm Freddie: Pro Patria (1941)

    Wilhelm Freddie: Pro Patria (1941)

    With the acquisition of the painting “Pro Patria” (1941) by Wilhelm Freddie (1909–1995), the Städel Museum is adding an important surrealist painter to its modern art collection. The painting was purchased to mark the departure of Felix Krämer (Head of the Modern Art Department at the Städel Museum from 2008 to 2017) using funds from the Werner Wirthle estate.

    When Freddie executed the painting “Pro Patria” in 1941, he had already been barred from entering Germany for some years because of his political views. Motifs such as the half-open coffin at the right or the man on the left leaning out through a hole in the wall in a strangely lifeless manner, his legs bound with a gag, evoke a sinister, morbid atmosphere that contrasts bizarrely with the laughing boy who seems to be running joyfully towards the viewer. Prominently placed, he holds the Danish flag, the “Dannebrog”, which here – in the middle of the period of National Socialist occupation – functions as a patriotic icon, powerfully conveying Freddie’s resolute political stance.

    ABOUT THE ARTIST

    Wilhelm Freddie was born in Copenhagen in 1909. From the 1920s onwards, he undertook an in-depth exploration of the fantastical creations of the French surrealists. By 1930 he was exhibiting alongside such artists as Man Ray, René Magritte and Salvador Dalí at the Free Autumn Exhibition in Copenhagen, and he quickly became the most significant exponent of surrealism in Denmark. Stylistically his works reflect an artistic dialogue with the veristic surrealism of Magritte and Dalí and are characterized by a dreamlike atmosphere. During the German occupation of Denmark, the artist – proscribed by the National Socialists as “degenerate” – was also persecuted on political grounds because of the often explicitly antifascist content of his works, and in 1944 he fled into exile in Sweden. In 1947 André Breton invited him to take part in the surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Maeght in Paris, and he was prominently represented there with three paintings. In 1989, a few years before his death, the National Gallery in Copenhagen honoured his life’s work with a large-scale retrospective exhibition.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Wilhelm Freddie (1909–1995)
    Pro Patria, 1941
    Oil on canvas
    100.4 x 77.0 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Purchased 2017 with funds from the Werner Wirthle estate to mark the departure of Felix Krämer (Head of the Modern Art Department at the Städel Museum, 2008–2017)
    © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

  • + More
    François Gérard: Orpheus Trying to Keep Hold of Eurydice (ca. 1791)

    François Gérard: Orpheus Trying to Keep Hold of Eurydice (ca. 1791)

    François Gérard is an artist hitherto not represented in the Städel Museum’s collection of prints and drawings. Thanks to a generous gift, this drawing now enhances the department’s rich eighteenth and nineteenth-century holdings with a Neoclassicist work.
    The tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the great myths of classical antiquity. Virgil recounted it in the Georgics, Ovid in the Metamorphoses, and the tale has inspired countless artistic interpretations by musicians, painters and poets of the Middle Ages to the present. In despair over his wife’s violent death, Orpheus goes down to the underworld. With his music he seeks to convince the gods to return his beloved Eurydice to him. His wish is granted, but under one condition: that, as the two make their way up from Hades, he must not turn around to look at her. Seized with doubt, however, Orpheus turns around – and loses Eurydice forever: “She spoke, and suddenly fled, far from his eyes, like smoke vanishing in thin air, and never saw him more”, writes Virgil. This is precisely the instant described by Gérard’s dramatic composition. Orpheus’s abrupt movement has flung his cloak aside in sweeping folds to expose his naked body as it twists around. He holds the lifeless Eurydice in his arms. White heightening gives her body a deathly pale cast. And in keeping with Virgil’s account, Gérard has surrounded her with billows of smoke that drift away into the darkness of rocks rendered in black ink. In the two figures, the artist has masterfully captured the contrast between life and death.

    About the artist

    In 1786, François Gérard (1770–1837) entered training with Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), one of France’s most influential history and portrait painters. David’s Neoclassicist artistic language, combining austere form with splendid colour, would have a strong impact on Gérard. The teacher moreover paved his talented student’s way to various commissions. In the 1790s, Gérard carried out a number of drawings for the publisher Pierre Didot to serve as the basis for illustrations in large-scale luxury editions of classical and modern literature. It was also in this context that he executed "Orpheus Trying to Keep Hold of Eurydice", the drawing donated to the Städel Museum in 2017. An engraving of the inverted composition appears in Didot’s 1798 edition of Virgil’s Georgics, the first volume of the publication project initiated by David.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    François Gérard (1770–1837)
    Orpheus Trying to Keep Hold of Eurydice, ca. 1791
    Pen and ink, washed in black and brown, watercolour and gouache in white
    21.1 × 15.5 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2017 as a gift from C. and H. B. to the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main

  • + More
    Abraham Bloemaert: Moses Striking the Rock (1611)

    Abraham Bloemaert: Moses Striking the Rock (1611)

    Abraham Bloemaert’s painting „Moses Striking the Rock“ of 1611 closes a conspicuous gap in the Städel Museum’s Old Masters’ collection. This important acquisition was made possible by the Städelscher Museums-Verein thanks to the generosity of a private donor.

    The painting depicts a climactic Old Testament episode (Exodus 17:1–7; Numbers 20:2–11): Moses striking water from a rock to save the Israelites from dying of thirst in the desert. Bloemaert staged the scene in highly dramatic manner, focussing more on the people’s reactions than on the miracle worker or the miracle itself. Whereas genre motifs, still-life elements and animal depictions dominate the foreground in a manner quite typical of the artist’s time, the religious event that inspired this wealth of imagery has been relegated to the background. Narrative drama, vibrant colours, the fine-painterly reproduction of even the smallest details and virtuoso handling of the light make this signed and dated painting one of the Utrecht artist Abraham Bloemaert’s masterworks and opera magna.

    About the artist

    A founding member of the Utrecht painters’ guild and teacher to many younger painters, Bloemaert was one of the most influential artists at the dawn of the “Golden Age” of Dutch painting. His own style, which bore the stamp of international Mannerism, reaped the high regard of his contemporaries but already faded into obscurity in the course of the eighteenth century. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the artist was rediscovered – along with his pupils, the “Utrecht Caravaggists”, among them Dirck van Baburen. The Städel purchased the latter’s 1622 painting of a Young Man Singing just ten years ago; now Bloemaert will enter into direct dialogue with it in the museum’s Rembrandt Hall.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Abraham Bloemaert (1566–1651)
    Moses Striking the Rock, 1611
    Oil on wood
    85 x 120 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

  • + More
    Lotte Laserstein: Boy with a Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger), 1933

    Lotte Laserstein: Boy with a Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger), 1933

    After the Jewish painter Lotte Laserstein was compelled to leave Germany in 1937, her œuvre fell into oblivion – not to be rediscovered until 2003, when the Ephraim Palais in Berlin staged a Laserstein exhibition. Interest in her work has grown tremendously over the past years. Already back in 2014, the Städel Museum succeeded in purchasing one of the artist’s opera magna from the Swedish town of Nybro – the “Russian Girl with Powder Box of 1918“. The acquisition of the portrait “Boy with a Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger)“ represented an excellent opportunity for the museum to enhance its New Objectivity holdings. What is more, the work forms a striking counterpart to Laserstein’s portrait of a girl.

    The artist painted “Boy with a Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger)“ on commission from the Kargers, a Jewish couple. Anna Karger, formerly Anna Guggenheim, herself repeatedly posed for portraits by Laserstein. Her husband Alfred was a lawyer. In the year the boy’s likeness was painted, Karger was deprived of his licence to practise law on account of his Jewish origins. The family emigrated to Ecuador in 1941. Laserstein masterfully staged the Kargers’ son before a plain white background. He holds two hand puppets, Kasper and the Devil, in his arms. The artist thus subtly pictured the young boy between childlike gaiety and melancholy. Her mode of expression – objective and sensitive at once – was unequalled in the art of the Weimar Republic.

    About the Artist

    Lotte Laserstein studied at the Berlin art academy, where she was awarded the gold medal in 1925. She had her first solo exhibition at Fritz Gurlitt’s renowned Berlin gallery in 1931. Hardly had her career begun than it was brought to a halt by National Socialism. In 1937, on account of her Jewish background, the artist saw herself compelled to emigrate to Sweden, where she died in 1993. Lotte Laserstein executed her most impressive works in the late 1920s and early ’30s. In terms of subject and basic approach, they bear an affinity to New Objectivity. Laserstein’s painting style, however, is neither coldly objective nor demonstratively socio-critical.

    Details in the Digital Collection

    Lotte Laserstein (1898–1993)
    Boy with a Kasper Puppet (Wolfgang Karger), 1933
    Oil on wood
    46 x 38 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Acquired in 2016
    © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Masterworks

From Botticelli to Bacon: Explore 700 years of European art under one roof

To the Collection

Support the Museum Work!

Private individuals, companies or foundations – anyone can contribute to the Städel Museum and help continue its history into the future.

To Support

Practicalities at a glance

Practical pointers on our opening hours, admission fees, the café, the bookshop, the library and much more visitor services

To Information & Service

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.