Feuilles mortes. Paintings of the 19th and 20th Centuries from the Collection of

18.10.2019 - 09.02.2020

Taking the title taken from Ernest Biéler’s painting as its point of departure, this exhibition of the collection very literally addresses the aspect of organic growth in nineteenth-century painting.

Taking the title taken from Ernest Biéler’s painting as its point of departure, this exhibition of the collection very literally addresses the aspect of organic growth in nineteenth-century painting – engaging with both its historic development as well as the contexts in which the works were collected. In Switzerland, just as in numerous other European national states that were newly or re-founded, art in the nineteenth century became a preferred arena for debate – a trend that was accompanied by the culture sections in newspapers that were affectionately referred to as “feuilletons”. It is the epoch of industrialization, when artistic production stepped up its pace too. Never before were such numbers of academies established nor paintings executed in such large formats. Works that featured national cultural subject matter were in great demand while a new form of low art emerged: commercial art through the invention of reproduction techniques, which was reaching a new mass audience. Beyond the categories of high and low, a modern understanding of art was beginning to take root under the motto of “l’art pour l’art”. It did not pursue a purpose or content or theme and instead regarded form and aesthetics as the ultimate goals in art.

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