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Lovis Corinth: Paintings

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Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
18.11.22 - 28.01.23

Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne

Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 6.30 pm

Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

Opening

on Friday, November 18, 2022 from 7 - 9 pm to coincide with ART COLOGNE 2022.

Introduction by Dr Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy.

Galerie Karsten Greve is delighted to dedicate an exhibition to the painter Lovis Corinth (1858-1925). This first such presentation at Karsten Greve's Cologne location was preceded by a premiere at his Paris gallery space in the spring of 2022. On display will be fifteen pieces from Lovis Corinth's late creative years (1915-1925), in which the artist passionately devoted himself to the subjects of landscape, self-portrait, and floral still lifes, motifs that have always been linked to the idea of the finite nature of existence. Among the fifteen works on show are fourteen paintings and watercolors from the Karsten Greve Collection as well as an original etching on loan from the Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See.

Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche
Installation view, Lovis Cornith, Malerei, Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, 2022. Photo: Lisa Busche

The presentation focuses on painterly aspects, such as the tempo, the color palette, and Corinth's search for "pure painting". The exhibition invites visitors to rediscover one of the most important and versatile German painters who was a respected artist in his lifetime, but whose legacy was overshadowed by the social and political turmoil of the 20th century. In 1937, hundreds of works by Lovis Corinth were labelled "degenerate" and fell victim to a confiscation campaign carried out by the National Socialists throughout Germany, his works were stolen from private collections or scattered through distress sales, and gradually disappeared from the public eye. To this day, numerous pieces are believed to have disappeared during the Second World War, many are suspected of being Nazi-looted art, and others are the subject of a restitution claim.

Lovis Corinth painted flower pieces of infinite delicacy such as Helle Rosen, 1915, and Flieder im Kelchglas, 1923. His Chrysanthemen im Krug, from 1918, is a magnificent display of flowers reminiscent of bouquets of chrysanthemums painted by Auguste Renoir or Gustave Caillebotte, or of depictions of the Giverny garden that fascinated Claude Monet so much. As Herbstblumen in Vase, 1924, impressively demonstrate, Lovis Corinth increasingly developed an interest in lush floral compositions whose variety of shapes and intense colors corresponded to his expressive use of pictorial means. The radiance of the marigolds or dahlias oscillates between warm yellow and brownish red.

The dissolution of the subject matter in the act of painting is part of his artistic concept: "true art means using unreality. This is the highest goal!" Lovis Corinth jotted down in his diary on March 31, 1925. His focus shifts from the floral motif to the quality of the color and its effect. Seen from close up, the 1923 oil painting Blumen in Bronzekübel shows an explosion of superimposed or juxtaposed impasto brushstrokes in a mixture of green, red, purple, orange, and brown tones with white and yellow reflections. Fine traces of the brush bristles are clearly visible on the surface of the painting: "Every brushstroke is throbbing life," as art critic Gustav Pauli described this phenomenon in 1924. In his late work, Lovis Corinth achieves a unique balance between the representation of the subject and "pure" painting which, in individual parts, is by no means inferior to the gestural painting of a William de Kooning or Cy Twombly.

Franz Heinrich Louis Corinth, known as Lovis Corinth, was born in 1858 in Tapiau in East Prussia (today Gvardeisk, Russia). After Corinth studied at the Munich Art Academy between 1880 and 1884, the artist went to Paris for three years from 1884 to 1887. At the time, the French capital was scarred by the immediate aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War; an environment in which Corinth learned classical painting at the prestigious Académie Julian under William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury. In 1891 he moved to Munich, where he was one of the founding members of the Munich Secession. A member of the Berlin Secession since 1899, he moved to Berlin between 1900 and 1902, opened his own painting school, was highly regarded as an artist, and was generally held in high esteem. In 1911 he suffered a stroke. The comparison to his artistic production of the previous years does not reveal a stylistic break, but rather a development.

In 1911, he suffered a stroke. When comparing his artistic production with that of the previous years, no stylistic break is apparent, rather a development. Since 1919, he spent fruitful annual working stays in his summer retreat in Urfeld on Lake Walchen. When Lovis Corinth traveled to Amsterdam in 1925, he contracted pneumonia, and died in Zandvoort on July 17. During his lifetime he was honored with awards, solo and group exhibitions; international exhibitions held up to today bear witness to the continued appreciation and popularity of the artist. His work is represented in important private and public collections worldwide, including the collection of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, Munich; the municipal museum Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau, Munich; Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Tate Britain, London; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna; Kunstmuseum Basel and Kunsthaus Zürich; the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Press release
Accompanying publication

Artists

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