Masterworks in dialogue – Eminent Guests for the Anniversary
Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Städel collection welcomes a number of international visitors on the occasion of its bicentennial. A show that has been conceived by all the Städel’s curators together confronts key works of the institution’s own holdings with masterpieces from the most renowned museums over the world.
The fascinating and inspiring comparisons will – both in terms of contents and space – encompass all collections of the Städel Museum: visitors will come upon temporary “partnerships” in about 40 selected places throughout the house to be explored for three and a half months. Jan van Eyck’s “Annunciation” (c. 1434/36) will fly in from Washington, for example, and meet 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) elucidates 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 will also be 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 will not only yield insights into exciting and sometimes surprising art-historical and historical connections but also unfold a background for reassessing the Städel’s own holdings.
Image: © Left: Sandro Botticelli, Idealised Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as a Nymph), ca 1480/85, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, detail; Right: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Fazio’s Mistress (Aurelia), 1863 (revisited by the artist in 1873), Tate, London, detail