17.11.2013 - 13.04.2014
Solely based on talent...
Käthe Kollwitz and the women of the Berlin Secession (1898–1913)

“The choice of works which grace our exhibition was solely based on talent (…).” This is what Max Liebermann, the great painter and president of the Berlin Secession, founded in 1898, said in the opening speech of its first exhibition. Prior to that date female artists were prevented from attending art school and could only exhibit their work in associations of female artists, so this first Berlin Secession exhibition represented a milestone in terms of artistic emancipation. And thus the Berlin Secession, which broke away from the established academic art scene of the time, came to be the first important artists’ association to allow women members in its ranks. It was founded in 1898 in direct opposition to the academic art scene and is synonymous with Modernism in Germany. Apart from Käthe Kollwitz, members included female painters such as Julie Wolfthorn, Dora Hitz, Sabine Lepsius, Ernestine Schultze-Naumburg, Clara Siewert, Maria Slavona, Hedwig Weiß and Charlotte Berend-Corinth. This exhibition, based on the research and ideas of Prof. Dr. Ulrike Wolff-Thomsen (Director of the Museum Kunst der Westküste – Art of the German West Coast) and Dr. Jörg Paczkowski (Director of Schlößchen im Hofgarten, Wertheim, Germany), brings together for the first time the works of women artists of the Berlin Secession. It is a hitherto unexplored treasure trove of visionary expression, vitality and the pioneering artistic spirit.