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March 24, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-24

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 24, 1997

German collection makes deep
impressions at DIA exhibit

By Anftha Chalamr
Daily Arts Writer
The Detroit Institute of Arts, or the
DIA, is the 5th largest museum in the
country. As one might expect, the
museum's permanent collection is
large; more than 90 percent remains

same time, Expressionism was a rejec-
tion of bourgeoisie ideals and values.
German Expressionism celebrated the
primitive and believed in searching for
new freedoms in art, as they felt that
contemporary art had become stultified
and was headed nowhere. The physical

unseen in


given trip to the
museum. But in
this recent exhibi-
tion, located in the
Schwartz Graphic
Arts Galleries, the
DIA displays

( s J Twentieth Century
German Prints
The Detroit Institute of Arts
Through May 18, 1997

appearance of
Expressionist art
was often startling,
f e a t u r i n g
grotesquely dis-
torted and exag-
gerated forms,
shocking contrasts

Emst Barlach's "The First Day" Is on display at The Detroit Institute of Arts through May 18.

approximately 75 early 20th century
German prints, as well as a smaller
number of related drawings and
watercolors, drawn exclusively from
its own significant collection of
German Expressionist artists. The
show notes in particular the recent
acquisition of Erich Heckel's 1918
color woodcut, "Portrait of a Man
German Expressionism began at the
turn of the century. The movement was
based on the idea that art should be
expressive, unmeditated and "authen-
tic." Art from this group was based on
the artist's instinctive response to the
world around him, imbibed with per-
sonal thoughts and feelings. At the
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of color, and a number of unconven-
tional techniques.
Die Bricke (The Bridge) was the
formal art group organized around this
movement, and forms the core of this
DIA exhibition. Die Briicke was begun
in Dresden, Germany, in 1904 by four
students of architecture: Fritz Bleyl,
Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The pur-
pose of the organization was to form an
exhibiting society and an artist's colony
based on total artistic freedom. The
name, Die Briicke, was taken from
19th century German philosopher
Friedrich Nietzche, and gave the impli-
cation that this group was to be a
bridge,,or link, between the past and
the present.
Though the Expressionists worked in
a variety of media, the medium par
excellence was the woodcut. While the
traditional art of the status quo was dis-
graceful in the eyes of the
Expressionists, they were an extremely
nationalistic body, and very much
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admired the woodcuts of distinguished
Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht
Darer. Working in woodcut also helped
to establish the bridge between past and
present tradition. In addition to wood-
cuts, on display are pencil drawin4
drypoint sketches, etchings, aquatints,
watercolors and lithographs. Subject
matter in this exhibition is equally
diverse, from goats to nudes to religious
scenes and carousels.
The exhibition's featured artists
include all four founding members of
Die Briicke, as well as Emil Nolde, per-
haps the most celebrated member of the
group, though only very briefly a part
of it. In addition, one can view works
Max Beckmann, Otto Herbig, Ot
Meuller, Max Pechstein and Ernst
Barlach among others.
The exhibition is a good one, for a
number of reasons. First, the exhibition
is fairly large, almost 100 works, and
thus presents a fairly clear notion of
German Expressionism. Second, the
media and subject matter are diverse
and make for an interesting trip
through the gallery. But the third, a
perhaps best reason, is that the exhib
tion is scholarly; a significant number
of works have explanations posted next
to them, and every major artist in the
exhibition has their own biography.
This facilitates an understanding of the
history of the artists as well as the his-
tory of the movement, and thus one
leaves the exhibition having gained
The DIA is a good museum, and this
exhibition is only added incentive 4
make the trip to Detroit.


Dear Student,
If you have a conflict between a religious observance and any of your
scheduled final examinations for the Winter Term, you must inform
your instructors of your need for a religious accommodation by
March 31, 1997, so that appropriate alternative arrangements can be
made. If you have not requested an accommodation by that date you
will be expected to take your exams according to the published
Please consult the Winter Term Time Schedule if you have questions
about the final examination schedule.


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