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Prints of the German Expressionists and Their Circle: Collection of The Brooklyn Museum

DATES September 15, 1988 through November 28, 1988
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT European Painting and Sculpture
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  • March 11, 1937 Three woodcuts by Durer were hung in the place of the colored German XVth Century Woodcuts by anonymous artists which have been on exhibit for several months. The new prints, lent by Kennedy & Company, are from the early Apocalypse series, and show St. John in scenes of extremely mystical character. They are three early prints belonging to the Apocalypse Series, executed about 1495. The subjects are St. John Commanded to Swallow the Book; The Seven Gold Candlesticks; St. John Is Directed Toward Heaven. They are all in quite good condition and have magnificent composition and the characteristic Durer quality of line. They would be of interest to lovers of early German prints.

    During the month, a letter was sent to principals of Brooklyn High Schools in which Medieval History is taught. The letter invited all teachers interested to use illustrative medieval material from the Museum in connection with their classes. A set of fifty slides has been prepared, with mimeographed lists and explanations, for circulation in the Public Schools. Also, classes may arrange to have Gallery Tours after their interest is aroused, For the use of teachers wishing to do special study in the Medieval field, a bibliography has been printed and a reserve shelf arranged in the library. It is hoped that these efforts will increase the value of the Medieval Department to the Schools, and will augment interest in the Medieval collection.

    On February 5th, a small exhibit, of Peasant Costumes was opened to the public. This exhibition was arranged in the balcony gallery, and consisted of costumes from the Museum collection which had not been on view for some time. It was arranged according to nationality, beginning with Spanish and Italian textiles and embroidery and comprising most of Central Europe. Not only were actual articles of clothing displayed, but bedspreads, curtains and large embroideries of all types, in order to show the representative fabrics and techniques of various countries. This exhibit will continue until March 22nd.

    The Textile Division has worked in conjunction with the Department of Education, supplying illustrative material for various lectures. Each week a group of fabrics is prepared for the course on Decorative Arts. Specimens from the Museum Collection showing various weaves and various methods of decorating cloth are used to complement the lectures. As usual there has been a number of loans of textiles to other museums or to private organizations arranging exhibits.

    In conjunction with the Textile High School of New York City, the Textile Division is preparing a sound and color film on the history of velvet weaving. The examples used in this film will be drawn from the Museum Collection. It is hoped that the film will be of use to schools and to theaters interested in non-fictional material. It will show examples of XVth Century Renaissance velvets, illustrating how the contemporary architectural motifs influence textile design. There will be examples of the successive periods High Renaissance, Baroque, XVIIIth Century, Empire, and on up to our own times. In each group we will endeavor to show how textiles are influenced by the general taste of the age.

    The Print Department has been fortunate enough to receive a gift of $10,000 for the equipment of the new Print Room, which is to be known as the William A. Putnam Memorial Print Room. It is hoped that this gift will make it possible to have the print room one of the best equipped study rooms in the country. We are anxious to store the prints in such a way that they will be protected from the influences of this damp climate and it is felt that scientific moisture control of the air in the Print Room should be a main feature of the new equipment.

    Although February is the shortest month, the attendance at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was 38,007; 6,473 more than for January. On the two holidays the attendance was 9,314; a very large number for our small buildings. All day long children stood out in the park awaiting their turn for admission to the lectures on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Attendance at the Central Museum was 50,218.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1937 - 1939. 01-03_1937, 040-1.
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  • September 1, 1988 Prints of German Expressionists and Their Circle: Collection of the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition of approximately 80 of the finest examples of German Expressionist prints drawn from one of the Museum’s most important holdings in the Department of Prints and Drawings, will open at The Brooklyn Museum September 15 and remain on view in the second floor Print Galleries through November 28, 1988. Twenty-three artists are represented including Max Beckmann, Erich Heckel, Vasily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Käthe Kollwitz, Emile Nolde, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, among others. The exhibition celebrates the publication of the Museum’s complete holdings of over 300 German Expressionist prints, most of which were accquired between 1937 and 1955 when the works were still considered contemporary art.

    Printmaking played a particularly important role for the German Expressionist artists for both aesthetic and practical reasons. They approached printmaking not as it had been in nineteenth-century Germany, soley a reproductive medium, but as a creative technique with which to experiment and to assert their high regard for direct experience. These concerns led them to create new and unconventional ways of working, which produced some of the most striking and masterful prints of the twentieth century.

    The exhibition and catalogue have been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The project was conceived and organized by Barry Walker, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, and the works were researched and catalogued by Karyn Zieve, National Endowment for the Arts Intern, under the supervision of Linda Konheim-Kramer, Curator of Prints and Drawings.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 076-77.
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