Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
February 6 to May 3, 2015
Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) and Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857) are both well-known as protagonists of Nordic landscape painting during the Romantic era. Dresden offered both artists a stimulating environment in which the two great modernisers developed their art and helped it blossom. It was this city that they chose to make their home for almost 20 years, where they worked in the same house, An der Elbe 33. This was where they received their students and became role models for a whole generation of young landscape artists.
For the first time, the exhibition “Dahl and Friedrich. Romantic Landscapes” is directly juxtaposing an extensive selection of around 120 paintings and drawings by both artists and others from the same period and region. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to close cooperation with the National Museum in Oslo, and can be expected to remain the only one of its kind for some time to come. Oslo is home to the most extensive collection of works by Norwegian artist Dahl, while one of the largest collections of Friedrich paintings worldwide can be found in Dresden. The exhibition brings together a first-class selection of works from both collections in addition to numerous loans from renowned museums and private collections in Germany and abroad. Among the loaning institutions are the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum Oskar Reinhart in Winterthur, and the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna.
Both the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue are divided into six chapters. A prologue provides an introduction to Dahl’s and Friedrich’s “Concept and Appropriation of Nature”. The “Landscape and History” selection of paintings concentrates on the historical content of the artists’ compositions. Two subsequent chapters focus on the motifs of “Stones, Cliffs and Mountains” and “Seas and Shores”; presenting the artistic styles of both painters. The chapter “Two Teachers in Dresden – Polarity and Synthesis” deals with their positions as artistic role models. To conclude, the chapter “Dresden – Images of a Cityscape” demonstrates how differently the appearance of the city in which both artists spent so many years, found its way into their work.
The purpose of the exhibition is to allow art lovers to gain a deeper understanding of Romantic era art in its home city of Dresden, while also opening up European dimensions by putting the spotlight on two internationally renowned artists from the epoch.