Max Ackermann
In Quest of the Whole

29.10.2004 – 23.01.2005

Showing about 150 exhibits, it offers - for the first time - a retrospective of the complete works of Max Ackermann – in good time for the thirtieth anniversary of his death in 1975.

Max Ackermann did not see himself as an avant-gardist but rather as an “accomplisher”. He never made a secret of who or what inspired his work: during his art studies in Weimar, Dresden, Munich, and Stuttgart he was influenced by Henry van de Velde, Adolf Hölzel, and Hans von Marées.

Having been exposed to all these formative influences he developed his own artistic expression as early as the twenties. And then, later artists were influenced by Max Ackermann’s art in the fifties. Ackermann’s works reflect the process of finding his own artistic style and, therefore, represent a “summary of the development of German art in the twentieth century“.

In his art Ackermann always aspired to create a comprehensive whole. This quest for the complete work of art which he sometimes also named “Hall of Socialists, Centre of Worship, Birthday Temple, or Chapel of Cheerfulness“ is the second “main thread“ of the exhibition in Friedrichshafen, the development in his work being the first. “At the same time this first retrospective is aimed at placing and reassessing Ackermann’s work in the context of the history of art in the twentieth century,“ explains Dr. Dirk Blübaum, head of the art department at the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.

This is why Dirk Blübaum attaches great importance to demonstrating how Ackermann, in his drawings and paintings, persisted in developing his style starting with the realistic, ornamental representation of Jugendstil and ending with abstract painting and, ultimately, autonomous expression. The exhibition at the Zeppelin Museum is not only restricted to the graphic arts: while viewing his works one can also listen to Ackermann’s favourite music – just as the artist himself frequently, solemnly did.

In 1928 an exhibition at “Kunsthaus Schaller“, a well-known art dealer in Stuttgart, was a major turning point for Max Ackermann. For the first time his realistic works were exhibited alongside works of Wassily Kandinsky and George Grosz. From this time onwards abstract painting was to become more and more important to him.

“Paper was never safe from him”, says Dirk Blübaum, “he painted and drew on anything he could lay his hands on.” The great variety of his paintings and drawings did not make the choice any easier.

The earliest exhibit is a self-portrait which has been dated back to the year 1904, the latest exhibits are pastel drawings dating from 1974.

The exhibits are on loan from a large number of private collectors as well as from the “Galerie Neue Meister“ in Dresden, the “Pinakothek der Moderne“ in Munich, and from the “Staatsgalerie“ in Stuttgart.

For connoisseurs of Max Ackermann’s work this is an opportunity to see works which have until now been unknown. The exhibition has been set up with the support of the “Max-Ackermann-Archiv“ in Bietigheim-Bissingen.

An exhibition catalogue will be made available.

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