Two largely unknown early Modernist painters are the subjects of career surveys in Frankfurt and Ludwig.
Richard Gerstl: Retrospective at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt is the first show organised in the country to focus on the work of the Austrian Expressionist. In Austria, Gerstls work is always mentioned together with the great masters like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, but it is internationally only recognised by the experts, says Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer, the curator who organised the exhibition.
The exhibition includes most of Gerstl's oeuvre. Fifty-three of around 80 known paintings are due to be shown, such as a nude self-portrait from 1908 that was painted shortly before he committed suicide that year at the age of 25. Around 10 works in the show are borrowed from private collections, while the remainder come from various Austrian and Swiss museums and the Neue Galerie in New York.
At the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Otto Freundlich: Cosmic Communism is the first career survey of the abstract artists work in 40 years. Around 80 works of art are included.
The German Jewish artist died in a concentration camp in 1943 during the Second World War and much of his worksuch as a sculpture titled Large Head (1912) that was pictured on the cover of the programme for the Degenerate Art exhibition, which was organised by German Nazis in 1937was destroyed or lost during Hitler's regime. Some of these works have been revived for the exhibition through life-sized photo reproductions.
The show includes loans from international museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is accompanied by a catalogue raisonn of Freundlich's work. Julia Friedrichs, the curator behind the show, says the show "may give orientation in a world that is now increasingly xenophobic and opportunistic.
Richard Gerstl: Retrospective, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 24 February-14 May
Otto Freundlich: Cosmic Communism, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 18 February-14 May