The End of Painting. Karl Hagemeister and painting today.

31 March - 27 August 2023

100 years ago, in 1923, Ludwig Justi, the director of the Berlin National Gallery, organized a major exhibition honoring Karl Hagemeister on his 75th birthday. Justi focused on the late work, the wave paintings. On the occasion of said exhibition, Hagemeister spoke of the “end of painting” that he had reached with his “Wellenbilder” (wave pictures).

Starting with Hagemeister’s wave paintings, the Bröhan-Museum is turning its gaze forward, into the 20th and 21st centuries: The show includes painterly, graphic, as well as sculptural and conceptual approaches by 18 contemporary artists. By comparing his painings with contemporary works that take painting to extremes, question it, or even negate it, the modernity of the “color painter” Karl Hagemeister becomes clear. At the same time, the exhibition allows a new look at the almost infinite possibilities of the medium of painting, always linked to the attempt to explore the end of painting even further.

Although Hagemeister was one of the founding members of the Berlin Secession in 1898, he avoided the big city and, interrupted by study trips, lived almost exclusively in Havelland. Without needing to take the taste of buyers or the wishes of gallery owners into account , Hagemeister developed his very individual style of painting, which culminated in his late work, the so called “Wellenbilder” (wave pictures). With almost his entire oeuvre painted, success and public recognition set in from 1909 with his first solo exhibition at the Gurlitt Gallery.

Hagemeister’s wave paintings embody movement and change. His basic understanding of a nature that is constantly changing and in motion is exemplified here: the wave becomes alive within the paint, the paint itself becomes the material, the wave. Hagemeister no longer paints a picture, but he paints color. His painting thus prefigures the informal art of the 1950s and the radical painting of the 1980s.

The exhibition at the Bröhan-Museum shows around 60 of his works, including numerous large formats. In addition to paintings by Karl Hagemeister, works by the following artists are on view:

Danja Akulin, Martin Borowski, Herman de Vries, Inge Dick, Ralph Fleck, Christian Frosch, Raimund Girke, Kuno Gonschior, Swaantje Güntzel, Martha Jungwirth, Nina Kluth, Susanne Knaack, Markus Linnenbrink, Sol LeWitt, Morris Louis, Erik Schmidt, Johannes Schramm and Jerry Zeniuk.

Advertising image: above: Karl Hagemeister, Poppy Field, ca. 1910, Stadtmuseum Brandenburg an der Havel; photo by Thomas Voßbeck. Below: Jerry Zeniuk, Untitled Number 325, 2013, Courtesy: The Artist; photo: Ingrid Scheffler. Design: Gerwin Schmidt, 2022


Digital Guide
As a outreach tool, our free digital guide provides information and background on the exhibition.

Free guided tours ( admission to the museum not included)
every Saturday, 3 p.m., registration not required

Digital guided tour
On 3/29, 6 p.m., there will be a live tour on Instagram
Visit us on Instagram @broehan-museum.

“An der Staffelei” – Painting workshop for adults.
Wet-on-wet, impasto, glaze or palette knife technique: inspired by the exhibition, create your own landscape paintings step by step. Previous experience is not necessary.
Sat, 15.4./29.4./6.5./27.5./10.6./17.6./15.7./29.7., 2-5pm.
From age 16, 59,- € p. p., incl. admission and material. Limited number of participants.
Registration required under: n.mueller@broehan-museum.de, Tel: 030/32690625

Discover exciting, completely new approaches to art after the museum has closed.
Wed, 12.4., 17.5. or 21.6., 6-7 p.m., from 16 years, 15,- € p. P. incl. admission. Limited number of participants.
Registration required under: n.mueller@broehan-museum.de, Tel: 030/32690625

Seminar for teachers
Thu, 4/20, 4-6pm. After an exclusive guided tour of the exhibition, the educational program for school classes will be presented.
Registration required under: n.mueller@broehan-museum.de, Tel: 030/32690625

Program for school classes
In the context of the exhibition we offer programs for school classes.

Summer vacations at the Bröhan-Museum
Mon-Thu, 17-20 July, 10-15. For children from 8-12 years

Free “Family Sundays”
Every 3rd Sunday of the month, 11 am, for children (ages 5-12) and their families, 90 min.
Limited number of participants. Registration required under:
n.mueller@broehan-museum.de, Tel: 030/32690625