Multiple modernisms on exhibit in New York

Editorial Staff Art, Exhibitions

Early twentieth—century modernism-particularly that of Austria and Germany—seems to be all over New York this fall, with two exhibitions at the GuggenheimKandinsky, and Gabriel Munter and Vasily Kandisnky 1902-14: A life in Photographs—one at the Museum of Modern ArtBauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity, and yet another at the Neue Galerie: From Klimt to Klee: Masterworks from the Serge Sebarsky Collection, which displays paintings and works on paper by seminal modernists including Kokoschka, Beckmann, and Kirchner. The works on view at the Neue Galerie are taken exclusively from the collection of the museum’s founder, Serge Sabarsky, who, Austrian himself, became a leading advocate and collector of Austrian and German art in the United States in the mid-twentieth century-a time when modernism was perceived as a uniquely French phenomenon.

On November 12 the Neue Galerie hosted a lecture by Rose-Carol Washton Long, professor of art history at the City University of New York on “Multiple Modernisms” which compared works by the likes of Matisse and Picasso to ones by their Austrian and German counterparts. In one example she juxtaposed a painting of a nude woman by Matisse to Erich Heckel’s similarly composed nude. Madchen mit Puppe [Franzi], of a prepubescent girl with a doll, which she argued was a far more radical departure from classical painting in both color and content. Heckel’s painting and other highlights can be seen in the slideshow below. Other upcoming lectures that explore the “Modern Moment”-the overarching name for the exhibition programming organized by the Neue Galerie, Gugghenheim, and MoMA—include a series at MoMA on women and the Bauhaus that features metalworker Marianne Brandt on December 9th.