The whereabouts of the lost masterpiece Turm der blauen Pferde by Franz Marc are still subject to speculation, 80 years after the disappearance of this alarming foreboding of World War I by the famous German painter. The Haus am Waldsee in Berlin and the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich have invited twenty contemporary artists to reflect on the fate of the famous artwork. The artists of this joint exhibition look at its history through the lens of painting, sculpture, photography, installation and literature.
The Turm der blauen Pferde is one of the defining works of German Expressionism and a central piece of the legacy of the artist group Der Blauer Reiter. It quickly became famous among the liberal society of Berlin in the years of the Weimar Republic, was celebrated for its outstanding artistic quality and perceived before the background of the tragic death of the artist in the battle of Verdun in 1916.
Independent of one another, two witnesses, the art historian and former Reichskunstwart Edwin Redslob and the later cultural journalist at DIE ZEIT, Joachim Nawrocki, have publicly said to have seen the Turm der blauen Pferde after World War II in Berlin. They claim that in spring 1945 and in winter 1948/49, it was seen at Haus am Waldsee and in the neighboring building, the former home of the superintendent of the Berlin police. This re-emergence of a once very popular artwork has been largely overseen until today. How this happened and why scholars and researchers apparently did not follow these leads is one of the central questions asked by the contemporary artists in the Berlin part of the exhibition MISSING Der Turm der blauen Pferde by Franz Marc.
While the painting remains missing until today, a coloured study in form of a postcard has survived in the Fohn Collection and is now stored at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. Franz Marc had sent this postcard for New Years’ in 1912/13 to his friend, the writer Else Lasker-Schüler in Berlin. The Munich part of the exhibition subsequently looks at the beginning of the history of the painting and asks how the myth around Franz Marc and his art came into existence, especially in the hometown of Der Blaue Reiter.
Berlin: Martin Assig, Norbert Bisky, Birgit Brenner, Johanna Diehl, Marcel van Eeden, Julia Franck, Arturo Herrera, Christian Jankowski, Via Lewandowsky, Rémy Markowitsch, Tobias Rehberger, Peter Rösel
Munich: Viktoria Binschtok, Dieter Blum, Tatjana Doll, Slawomir Elsner, Jana Gunstheimer, Almut Hilf, Thomas Kilpper, Franz Marc, Dierk Schmidt