Oil landscape painting
Carl Gustav Carus, German, 1789–1869; “Wanderer on the Mountaintop”, 1818; oil on canvas; 17 x 13 1/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum Shop Fund 323:1991

St. Louis is home to a world-class collection of German art, and the exhibition “Storm of Progress: German Art from the Saint Louis Art Museum” confirms that fact by displaying more than 120 works dating from the early 1800s right up to the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989.

Oil landscape painting
Caspar David Friedrich, German, 1774–1840;
“Sunburst in the Riesengebirge”, 1835; oil on canvas; 10 × 12 1/2 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Friends Fund, Museum Purchase, Director’s Discretionary Fund, the Ann Goddard Trust, and the Third Wednesday Group 1:2019
Oil painting of a woman looking away
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), “Betty,” 1988, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 x 28 1/2 in., Saint Louis Art Museum, 23:1992 © Gerhard Richter

The strength of the museum’s holdings owes much to Morton D. May, who once led May Department Stores Co. nationwide. His passions included German Expressionism, and his 1983 bequest included a large collection of paintings by Max Beckmann (1884–1950). That gift spurred the museum to prioritize acquisitions of important works by contemporary German artists.

Woodcut image of horse
Franz Marc, German, 1880–1916; “Riding School”, 1913; woodcut; image: 10 9/16 x 11 11/16 inches, sheet: 14 x 15 1/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by the Children’s Art Bazaar 478:1979
Woodcut image of woman with child
Käthe Kollwitz, German, 1867–1945; “Sleeping Woman with Child”, 1929; woodcut; image: 11 3/4 x 14 1/8 inches, sheet: 16 1/8 x 20 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Julian and Hope Edison Print Fund and Museum Shop Fund 221:1992
Mixed media figurative art
Georg Baselitz, German, born 1938; “Untitled”, from the “Hero” series, 1965; gouache, ink, graphite, and oil pastel on paper; 25 15/16 x 19 in.(65.9 x 48.2 cm) framed: 37 3/16 x 29 3/4 in. (94.5 x 75.6 cm); Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum Shop Fund 11:1994; © Georg Baselitz 1965

Now totaling more than 2,500 objects by artists from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the museum’s holdings continue to grow. A recent purchase is Sunburst in the Riesengebirge, one of very few U.S.-owned paintings by the Romantic Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840).

Figurative art oil painting
Max Beckmann, German, 1884-1950; “Christ and the Sinner”, 1917; oil on canvas; 58 3/4 x 49 7/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Curt Valentin 185:1955; © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Landscape oil painting
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German (active Switzerland), 1880–1938; “View from the Window”, 1914; oil on canvas; 47 1/2 x 35 3/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Morton D. May 902:1983
Figurative art oil painting
Carl Hoeckner, American (born Germany), 1883 –1972; “The Homecoming” of 1918, 1919; oil on panel; 57 × 83 3/4 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of John and Susan Horseman 700:2018

“Storm of Progress” will showcase a range of media, including paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, and decorative arts. Among the artists represented are Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter, Joseph Beuys, and Georg Baselitz.

Exhibition capacity will be limited, and visiting protocols related to COVID-19 will continue to be enforced. The exhibition is on view through February 28, 2021. For more details, please visit slam.org.

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