William N. Copley, Nuit puerto ricain, 1978, acrylic and leather on canvas, 168 x 140 cm, Museum Frieder Burda.

When a Collector
Likes His Collection: 'Je ne sais quoi'

A selection of works from the Collection Frieder Burda are on display at the Museum Frieder Burda, making for an inspiring encounter with important works from its inventory, as well as with recently acquired paintings. The exhibition, entitled There is something about these pictures, is comprised of more than 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and art installations by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Isa Genzken, Neo Rauch, Robert Rauschenberg, Sigmar Polke, Willem de Kooning, Gregory Crewdson, Anton Henning, Nedko Solakov and Axel Hütte, as well as by Johannes Hüppi, John Chamberlain and William N. Copley. The title “There is something about these pictures” refers to a quotation by Frieder Burda, while talking about his passion for art and the intuitive way in which he built his collection.

The Collection Frieder Burda numbers among Europe’s most important and valuable private art collections. The exhibition is co-curated by the young art historian Patricia Kamp and Jean-Christophe Ammann, the former director of the Museum for Modern Art (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt.

Patricia Kamp: “We deliberately wanted the juxtaposition of radically different works, in order to allow a new view of the Collection. A collection such as the one assembled by Frieder Burda presents the opportunity of time and again opening up new visual panoramas and developing new constellations.”

One of the highlights of the exhibition will be an installation by the painter Anton Henning, who will travel to Baden-Baden to personally erect the art installation as part of the show. Another highlight will be a light installation by US artist James Turrell. Turrell is the best-known contemporary light artist, whose installations provide an entirely new definition to the perception of light.

Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov will treat the walls of the Museum Frieder Burda as a giant canvas, scrawling his doodle-like, narrative drawings along a sequence of rooms, drawings that read more like panels from a comic strip than fine art. Solakov studied mural painting at the Academy of Arts in Sophia. He has created an oeuvre of funny, sarcastic and sometimes melancholic drawings, texts or installations that invite not only to laughter but reflection as well.

The Collection Frieder Burda has its roots in German expressionism, encompassing artists such as Max Beckmann, August Macke and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. It currently comprises more than 1,000 paintings, sculptures and works on paper. The main emphasis is on Classical Modernism and contemporary art. The Frieder Burda Collection includes a total of eight impressive works from Picasso’s later period. Though, the most important and comprehensive collections of art works in the entire Frieder Burda collection are those by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz. Numerous examples of all the periods of their creative life provide a broad overview of these artists, who so tremendously influenced contemporary art.

For several years now, Frieder Burda has dedicated himself to the art of the young painter generation, in particular Neo Rauch, Uwe Kowski, Tim Eitel and Matthias Weischer from Leipzig. Burda’s recent acquisitions include photographs by the American Gregory Crewdson and the German Axel Hütte, as well as artworks by Johannes Hüppi, Karin Kneffel, Susanne Kühn, Heribert Ottersbach, Eberhard Havekost and Robert Rauschenberg, some of which have been integrated into the upcoming exhibition. During the past three years, Frieder Burda has acquired approximately 200 paintings, mostly created by young artists. Frieder Burda: “I don’t want to stagnate; I want to continue to develop, and this I try to do by buying young art.”

A comprehensive catalogue published by Hatje Cantz Verlag will accompany the exhibition. It will include a dialogue between Frieder Burda and the curators Patricia Kamp and Jean-Christophe Ammann about the conception of the exhibition and the Collection Frieder Burda.

Collection Frieder Burda >>

Sigmar Polke, B-Mode, 1987, Artificial lacquer on synthetic cotton, 300 x 224 cm, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, © Sigmar Polke, 2010. (detail)



Charles Burchfield, End of the Day, 1938, Watercolor on paper, 97.1 x 148 cm,

Robert Gober Curates Charles Burchfield
Curated by acclaimed sculptor Robert Gober. Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield features more than 100 watercolors, drawings, and paintings from private and public collections, as well as selections from Burchfield’s journals.

Charles Burchfield >>

Palette and pigments – Restorer’s palette and pigments in the Conservation Department.

Science's Role in Sorting out Fakes and Mistakes
The first major exhibition of its kind, Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries celebrates the remarkable collaboration of scientists, conservators and art historians at the National Gallery. The National Gallery’s Scientific Department was founded in 1934.

Fakes >>

Noal Lidor, Wailing Wall, bells embedded in salt.

Objects Interrupted and Retasked as Ready-Mades
In her practice Noa Lidor often uses objects from the everyday such as bells and recorders, whose intended uses she disrupts to create new narratives.  She uses these objects as ready-mades, interested in the formal and symbolic qualities they are imbued with.

Noa Lidor >>

Olga Chernysheva, Russian Museum, 2003, Video  6 minutes, © Olga Chernysheva.

Everyday Russian People beyond the Realm of Context
Olga Chernysheva captures everyday life in post-Communist Russia and her subjects are the ordinary people of Moscow. Although she maintains a distance from her subjects, Chernysheva is not critical of them in the sense of judging either them or the political or social conditions that contextualise their lives.

Olga Chernysheva >>

Jean-François Millet, The Gust of Wind, 1871-73. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Wales.

Sisters Who Collected from Major Movements
The works in Turner to Cézanne have been drawn exclusively from the collection of the Davies sisters, who sought to collect works that reflected major movements of the time. They collected during a crucial moment in the history of art, when European painting was undergoing a revolution in style, theme, and technique.

Turner to Cezanne >>

Norman Rockwell in the Collections of Lucas and Spielberg
Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg showcases 57 major Rockwell paintings and drawings from these private collections. The museum is the only venue for the exhibition.

Telling Stories is the first major exhibition to explore in-depth the connections between Norman Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies. Two of America’s best-known modern filmmakers — George Lucas and Steven Spielberg — recognized a kindred spirit in Rockwell and each formed significant collections of his work. Rockwell’s paintings and the films of Lucas and Spielberg evoke love of country, small-town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, acts of imagination and life’s ironies.

“Norman Rockwell is an artist and a storyteller who captured universal truths about Americans that tell us a lot about who we are as a people,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Like Rockwell, both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg embrace the idea that ordinary people can become unlikely heroes. I am delighted that the Smithsonian American Art Museum is organizing the first exhibition to explore these new connections between Rockwell’s art and the movies.”

Rockwell was a masterful storyteller who could distill a narrative into a single frame. His pictures tell stories about the adventure of growing up, of individuals rising up to face personal challenges, the glamour of Hollywood and the importance of tolerance in American life. He created lengths to stage his pictures, laboring over costumes for each figure and the individual props that added to the story he wanted the viewer to understand at a glance. He typically drafted multiple preparatory sketches to get the composition and details exactly right.

The exhibition and its catalog also present Rockwell as a careful observer of the popular culture of his day. Rockwell chose to paint particular subjects with particular points of view and helped Americans adjust to social change through sympathetic and sometimes humorous images. He created scenes that parallel themes also found in movies, popular fiction and current events. For example, during World War II, Rockwell created “The Four Freedoms” in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous 1941 State of the Union speech. Parallel themes are apparent also in a series of films Why We Fight, directed by Frank Capra between 1942 and 1945.

A 12-minute film, coproduced by the museum and filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau, will be shown continuously in the exhibition galleries. It features interviews with Lucas and Spielberg that reveal their insights into Rockwell’s art and why certain works appealed to them.

A catalog, co-published by the museum and Abrams, is written by Mecklenburg with a contribution by Todd McCarthy, a film critic for Variety. It will be available for $65 (hardcover) in the museum store, online and at book stores nationwide. A softcover version will be available only at the museum’s store and its online shop for $35.95. 

Norman Rockwell >>

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), First Trip to the Beauty Shop, Top Value trading stamp catalogue, 1972, Pencil on joined paper, 35 x 32", Collection of George Lucas. (detail)