Germany has more internationally acclaimed museums than almost any other country in the world. Now, works by two pioneering French artists are on display in Frankfurt and Karlsruhe. Gustave Caillebotte, the "unknown" Impressionist, awaits visitors in Frankfurt.
Over the past few years, Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle has developed into a leading museum of modern and classic art. The current exhibition, "Gustave Caillebotte: An Impressionist and Photography," traces a creative arch from painting to photography, illustrating the influence of the one medium on the other.
The new exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe shows the work of the trailblazing French artist Camille Corot (1796-1875). Though his art stood in the tradition of classical painting, his works anticipated stylistic developments made by future generations and he is now regarded as a pioneer of modern art. The subject of his painting "Repose" (1860) looks coquettishly at the viewer.
Corot may be a heavyweight of art history, the show in Karlsruhe is the first large-scale retrospective of the groundbreaking artist's work in Germany. Around 180 paintings, drawings and prints await visitors at the Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe.
Exhibitions like that of the work of Caillebotte and contemporary photographers in Frankfurt fulfill many aims. They shine a spotlight on artists whose names - unlike Caillebotte's contemporaries Renoir and Monet - are not so well-known in Germany. Because different works are placed side-by-side, the exhibition also opens up new perspectives on classic works of art.
As a young man, Corot went to Italy. At that time the country, with its rich cultural history and art collections, was a must-see for visual artists and writers. Corot produced especially beautiful depictions of buildings and landscapes in Rome. The almost photographic-looking reflection on the water is the most stunning aspect of his painting "The Island and Bridge of San Bartolomeo" (1826-28).
In Frankfurt, visitors can discover the significant role played by Caillebotte in making Impressionism popular among the wider public. Today, Impressionism is a classic and much-loved part of the art historical canon. But that wasn't the case during Caillebotte's lifetime. As a collector and patron, the Parisian brought critical attention to Impressionism in France.
The exhibitions are not only targeted at an adult audience. These days, museums cannot afford not to offer a comprehensive educational program for children and young people. Such programs awaken their interest in art, museums in general, and even persuing their own creative endeavors.
A great many paintings in the exhibitions in Karlsruhe and Frankfurt are on loan from other institutions around the world. Caillebotte's famous "The Parquet Planers" (1875) is normally on display in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. Both the Caillebotte and Corot exhibitions are unique opportunities to view paintings from some of the most important collections in the world.
At the exhibitions, art lovers in Germany can delve deep into the modern history of French art. Due to high public demand, the Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe has extended the Corot exhibition through January 20, 2013. The Caillebotte show at Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle closes on the same day.
Works by two French masters of modern art are currently on show in Frankfurt and Karlsruhe.