The Museum Frieder Burda opened in Baden-Baden in 2004, and I’ve enjoyed several exhibitions there. Now, an anniversary show,”40|10″: 40 Years of the Collection | 10 Years of the Museum Frieder Burda, celebrates both the collection and the museum. Recently, Tom and I were delighted to return to Baden-Baden, especially to take in the anniversary show. What a treat!
Prominent art collector Frieder Burda got his start forty years ago, with a visit to the art show documenta in Kassel, Germany, and the purchase there of a painting by Lucio Fontana. That painting was the foundation for a collection that today numbers about 1,000 works, one of the largest private art collections in Germany. Mr. Burda has always been fascinated with color, and there is plenty of that on display in “40|10”. The exhibition, curated by Götz Adriani and Helmut Friedel, occupies both the museum’s own spaces and those of the adjacent Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.
From Classic Modern to Pop
The exhibition makes for a who’s who of German Expressionism, with works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, and Max Beckmann. American Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Clifford Still feature in the upper gallery spaces. Both movements are presented face-to-face with the Pop Art of Robert Rauschenberg, Malcolm Morley and Bill Copley. Pablo Picasso’s late period gets its own room.
Internationally distinguished contemporary German artists feature prominently in the exhibition. Major works from fifty years of Gerhard Richter’s creative activity are on display in the museum’s Great Hall, and his oeuvre runs like a thread through the entire exhibition, in both buildings.
Helmut Friedel selected works for the spaces in the Kunsthalle, drawing on his fascination with the Collection Frieder Burda as a reflection of the history of German painting since World War II, in particular its optimism. Georg Baselitz is there, and Markus Lüpertz, and to my delight, Sigmar Polke. A younger generation is on show, as well: Corinne Wasmuht, Tim Eitel and Neo Rauch, among others.
Museum Frieder Burda provides a stunning setting for looking at art, with near-perfect lighting and nature all around. The museum, by American architect Richard Meier, has received accolades for its architecture. An exhibition of the architect’s plans, models and photographs of the building in various phases of completion occupies the lower-level gallery.
At the beginning, some citizens of Baden-Baden resisted the museum’s modernity and placement along the genteel Lichtentaler Allee. With time, though, attitudes have softened. The museum, with more than 50,000 visitors each year, has earned its place in the hearts of tourists and locals alike.
Want to know more about the collection and activities at the museum? Check out Museum Frieder Burda’s website for more about the collection and its activities. Baden-Baden is worth a visit any time, but a chance to see selected works from the Collection Frieder Burda, beautifully curated, makes it especially enticing this summer!
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Thanks to Baden-Baden Kur & Tourismus for organizing our visit to beautiful Baden-Baden and the wonderful Museum Frieder Burda!