Since November 2016 the Oskar Reinhart Collection ‘Am Römerholz' has shown works of art from its collection, which despite their indisputable quality have not been on public display for a considerable time. The reasons for their absence are partly in order to ensure their conservation, and partly the result of the limited space available. Now these otherwise hidden gems can be discovered at leisure in a special individual presentation. Accompanied by additional events such as talks and special guided tours, the works of art can be examined from all perspectives and discussed. Representatives from a wide range of professions will be invited so that the discussion can extend far beyond the usual art historical field.
The sixth presentation
The last presentation in the series on "Hidden Treasures in the Collection" revolves around the prestigious portrait of Captain François Laurent Lange, 1830-48. For many years, the painting was attributed to famous French painter Théodore Géricault (1791-1824), yet its authorship was time and again questioned. Details of the military uniform shown, as well as the surviving inscription on the back of the canvas, which reads "Capitaine au 33e d'Infanterie, né à Senlis (Oise), en 1786, le 21 7bre", date the piece to shortly after Géricault's death. The strong-willed countenance of the elderly infantry officer is illuminated unsparingly in front of a dark background painted in broad brush strokes. The intense play of light and shadow, as well as the noticeably strong color contrasts emphasize this imposing figure's unwavering steel. The captain does not flinch in looking the viewer straight in the eye from a slightly elevated standpoint, and as a symbol of a man striving for power has clenched his right hand to form a fist. Both this psychologizing description, as well as the dynamic handling of the paint, which is very thick in some places, attest to the artist's masterful skills - he or she may have belonged to Géricault's circle.
Exhibition duration: March 8 - June 3, 2018
The fifth presentation
For our fifth presentation, we will show an exceptionally rare and very seldom exhibited drawing by Matthias Grünewald, Half-figure of a Woman Lamenting, created around 1512 to 1515. This will be on view for three months only. Just like his world-famous altar panels, Grünewald's drawings are regarded as first-rate artistic masterpieces. Only 29 of his works on paper now survive world-wide. In his elaborate charcoal sketches, the artist worked on the postures, the fall of the garments and the emotional expression of his figures, before implementing these in his altar pieces. He studied the possibilities for different light effects and creating pictorial depth in shades of grey and a range of different drawing techniques. The drawing from the ʻAm Römerholzʼ collection served as the basis for two figures in his magnum opus, the Isenheim Altarpiece: Both the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene in the crucifixion panel are inspired by this drawing.
Exhibition duration: November 30, 2017 - February 18, 2018
The fourth presentation
Our fourth presentation is focusing on a work of textile art - a tapestry from one of the city of Tournai's leading workshops, A wild woman and a wild man holding a coat of arms, which dates back to the last quarter of the 15th century. Even today, it has not been possible to assign this richly decorated coat of arms to a specific family, however there are many indications that its original owner was a knight. That said, here the coat of arms is held not by the usual heraldic beasts such as lions and griffins but by a wild couple. Barefoot and swathed in furs from head to foot, these mythical natural creatures stand for a liberated and aggressive existence, driven by instincts and far removed from the conventions of society. They represent not only the intimidating, untamed wildness of nature but also that feeling of longing engendered by a world governed by the rules and regulations of society. This tapestry fragment was once part of a larger ensemble and was probably created to mark the occasion of a marriage, particularly since other pieces bear the woman's combined coat of arms. In contrast with the wild couple, a real married couple is also portrayed in their coat of arms.
Exhibition duration: August 31 - November 12, 2017
The third presentation
In this third presentation the focus is on a work from the Spanish school: the representative painting Corrida, executed around 1880-5, and ascribed to Eugenio Lucas Villamil.
The observer gets very close to the dramatic action. As a spectator in the first row of the arena he can follow how groups of amateurish bullfighters clash with one another in a disorderly manner. Man and beast can barely be told apart in the disastrous crush. The chaotic scenery triggered by a desire for pleasure, overestimation of the participants' ability and volatile mood continues in a circular movement, spilling over into the stands in the background. The air seems replete with the brown haze of swirling dust.
Ascribed to the scion of a respected Spanish family of artists, the painting stands wholly in the tradition of Francisco de Goya's bullfight portrayals, especially those of his late lithographs. Here, again, the topic is not the strictly regulated professional bullfight, but rather the anarchic, popular amateur version. Given these similarities, the Corrida painting in the Oskar Reinhart Collection was also long ascribed to Goya, and acquired by the collector for his significant collection of works by Spanish artists.
Exhibition duration: 4 May - 20 August, 2017
The second presentation
The painting by Gustave Courbet has now been replaced by a far older one, namely the small panel painting St. Christopher by Pieter Huys, painted around 1560.
This portrayal of the man who carried the Christ Child through the midst of catastrophic elemental events despite being threatened by monsters of various shapes and forms could hardly be more dramatic. In terms of style the work follows quite obviously on from that of Hieronymus Bosch. The entertainment value of these strange hybrid beings and their sometimes comical activities meant that this kind of diablerie was highly valued. Only five works can be safely attributed to Pieter Huys, an Antwerp master, as they were signed by him. The Römerholz picture panel is one of them. The painting is part of a considerable inventory of works by Old Masters belonging to an epoch-spanning collection acquired by Oskar Reinhart (1885 - 1965) to complement his Impressionist paintings.
Exhibition duration: February 2 - April 23, 2017