A Parisian mansard or a light-flooded loft apartment strewn with empty wine bottles, canvasses and tools, all bathed in the aroma of oil paint and turpentine... These are some of the romantic images conjured up when we think about artists' ateliers. A new exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart lifts the curtain on these hallowed creative spaces.
Curators at the Staatsgaleire Stuttgart spent two years bringing together artworks from around the world. Sources range from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to private collections. The exhibition encompasses works from 200 years of art history by more than 70 artists. This image from 1870 by early Impressionist Frédéric Bazille is one of the few works by the artist depicting interior spaces.
This photograph taken in 1912 shows Ernst Ludwig Kirchner with his partner Erna Schilling in an atelier in the Berlin district of Wilmersdorf. After the First World War, Schilling successfully marketed Kirchner's art. They remained a couple until his suicide in 1938. Kirchner was a drug addict and was personally severely affected by the Nazis' dismissal of his art as "degenerate."
Carl Spitzweg portrayed the stereotypical poverty stricken artist in "The Poor Poet" in 1839. Spitzweg's portrayal proved controversial: Artists were unhappy about being shown in such a light. From then on, the artist signed his works with a small monogram. Today the painting is one of the most popular in Germany.
"The Atelier" (1927/28) is just one of over 100 works by Pablo Picasso depicting different studio spaces from his 70-year career. These include drawings, paintings, sculptures and diagrams of his various ateliers, muses, and, of course, his own artworks.
American Pop Art sensation Roy Lichtenstein took direct inspiration from Picasso's painting in his work "Reflections on the 'Artist's Studio'" (1989). Hugely influenced by Picasso, Lichtenstein reworked the original in his famous comic book style. The two images can be seen together for the very first time at the exhibition in Stuttgart.
"The Fairytale Prince" (2007) shows Jonathan Meese in his Berlin atelier. The video captures the artists painting three canvasses simultaneously and singing a hit by the Austrian band Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung. Meese, one of the world's hippest contemporary artists, is a painter, sculptor, set designer, actor, playwright, installation and performance artist, and agent provocateur.
Bruce Nauman's video installation "Mapping the Studio" (2001) is a much less raucous affair. He filmed his atelier during the night using an infrared camera. The video observes what happens when the artist is absent from his creative space: namely, little more than a mouse scurrying from one corner of the studio to the next.
Photographer Jeff Wall depicts scenes from daily life that on first glance look like snapshots. "Many believe that ''I plan a photograph from beginning to end," he said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit. "That's a false cliché. I know how I will begin, but I never know where I'll end." This photograph of an atelier, "Picture for Women," was made in 1979.
Dieter Roth (1930-1998), a poet, illustrator, video and action artist, was extremely eccentric. Out of anger, Roth stepped into one of Joseph Beuys' buckets of fat during an exhibition, and then proceeded to hulk around Beuys' installation with fat-smeared shoes. That was the beginning of an ill-fated collaboration between the two artists. The installation "Bar O" was created in 1979 and 1998.
Works by two of Germany's most important contemporary painters Georg Baselitz (his atelier in pictured on the left in 1980) and Gerhard Richter (right, 1985) are in the show alongside other big-name artists such as Polke, Matisse, Mondrian and Giacometti. "The Studio: Workshop and Myth" runs through February 10, 2013 at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
A new exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart examines the relationship artists have to their ateliers and work spaces.