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Newsletter bestellen Atmospheric landscapes – paintings by Walter Leistikow (1865-1908)
3 October 2008 to 11 January 2009


Walter Leistikow, Ziehende Schwäne bei untergehender Sonne, oil on canvas,
(c) private collection


Walter Leistikow, Grunewaldsee, 1895, oil on canvas,
(c) Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie,
photo: Karin März

This autumn, the Bröhan-Museum presents Atmospheric landscapes – paintings by Walter Leistikow, an exhibition that explores the work of a leading artist of the Berlin Secession in all its many facets. In honour of the 100th anniversary of Walter Leistikow’s death, the exhibition features over 90 pieces that demonstrate the full extent of his artistic and cultural-political influence. The exhibition, which centres round the Bröhan-Museum’s own valuable collection of Leistikow’s work, includes loans of paintings, graphics and handicrafts from important international and national museums and private collections.

Born on 25 October 1865 in Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz in Poland), Leistikow moved to Berlin in 1883 and attended the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts, albeit for a mere six months. The main subject of Leistikow’s paintings was his native countryside, the beautiful lakes and pine forests of the Mark Brandenburg. Preferring a stylised and abstract form of painting, Walter Leistikow was one of the principal forerunners of modern art in Germany, most notably in Berlin. A champion of the Modernist cause, he joined Max Liebermann in founding and leading the XI Group in 1892, a group of artists who opposed the stringently controlled exhibition policy of the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts. Periods abroad in Paris and Scandinavia introduced Leistikow to different currents in contemporary art, encounters which inspired and enriched his work. Meanwhile, his melancholy portrayals of the Mark Brandenburg were enjoying increasing public acclaim, both on a national and international level. Walter Leistikow was a key exponent of the Berlin Secession, which was founded in 1898/1899 with the aim of raising the public profile of modern art. His extensive contacts to artists in Scandinavia and France, as well as writers and intellectuals in Germany cut him out as an ideal intermediary of the modernist movement in the German capital. Leistikow was a pioneer, a leader and a tireless organiser, whose early death in 1908 sent shockwaves throughout the art world.

Like countless other painters of his generation, Leistikow showed a keen interest in other art forms. In addition to his paintings, he also produced a number of prints. His preference for two-dimensional and simplified forms made his style well suited to modern tapestry, an art form that was very much en vogue in interior design around 1900. The exhibition at the Bröhan-Museum features works from the whole spectrum of Leistikow’s artistic œuvre.

A catalogue containing a wealth of visual material and the latest research findings has has been published to accompany the exhibition.

© 2008 Bröhan-Museum | Bronze-Figur: Agathon Léonard, Danseuse au bracelet (Tänzerin mit Armband), um 1900, Bronze, goldpatiniert, Susse Frères, Paris | Abb.: Kaffee- und Teeservice "Eclipse", Tétard Frères, Paris, um 1930 | Webdesign unicom-berlin.de