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  • From: 01 oktober 2016
  • Through: 15 januari 2017
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie

Behold the man - 100 YEARS, 100 FACES

From 1 October 2016 to 15 January 2017, Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle will present the exhibition Behold the Man. With 100 works by artists such as Kokoschka, Brancusi, Schad, Picasso, Nussbaum, Bacon, Goldin, Trecartin, Dumas, Richter and Rauch, Behold the Man will show how artists of the past century successfully used the seemingly clear and straightforward genre of the portrait to evoke the richness and complexity of the modern world. The curator of Behold the Man is art critic Hans den Hartog Jager, who also organized the exhibitions More Light (2011) and More Power (2014).

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 Christian Schad, Maika, 1929,  olieverf op doek, 65 x 53 cm, particuliere collectie

 Christian Schad, Maika, 1929, 
oil on canvas, 65 x 53 cm, pivate collection
© Christian Schad Stiftung Aschaffenburg

The organizing principle of the exhibition Behold the Man seems simple at first: one hundred portraits of one hundred people from the past one hundred years – exactly one from each year. They vary from Oskar Kokoschka’s Self-Portrait (1917) to Neo Rauch’s Storm Front (2016), from Pablo Picasso’s Large Still Life with a Pedestal Table (Marie-Thérèse) (1931) to Kerry James Marshall’s Scout Master (1996), and from Francis Bacon's Sphinx (1953) to Tracey Emin’s Why I Never Became a Dancer (1995). Yet Behold the Man is much more than a gallery of portraits thrown together arbitrarily.

Gerhard Richter, Portret Dr. Knobloch, 1964, olieverf op doek, 100 x 90 cm, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Gerhard Richter, Portrait Dr. Knobloch, 1964,
oil on canvas, 100 x 90 cm, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
© Gerhard Richter

The exhibition explores the idea that about a hundred years ago, in the decade between 1910 and 1920, the artistic image of the human form changed radically. Photography became more central to the arts, and at the same time, abstract art made its great breakthrough. Meanwhile, the Western world was transformed by the First World War and the Russian Revolution. These events had a tremendous impact on how artists portrayed the human figure. We can see this vividly in the work of Constantin Brancusi. At the start of that crucial decade, he made his Sleeping Muse, a head lying on its side, which clearly has all the usual facial features. Ten years later, however, after many creative twists and turns, he was making idealized, thoroughly abstracted egg-shaped heads such as The Beginning of the World and Sculpture for the Blind. These sculptures were, and still are, regarded as a return to square one, a fresh start for the portrait genre. Brancusi had pared down the portrait to its core, to something approaching its essence. From that moment on, it seems that portraitists were no longer primarily concerned with depicting their subjects objectively. What now mattered most was the artist's personal vision of the model. The human figure tended to become a form without content, on which artists imposed their own perspectives, their own world views, generally by distorting it or charging it with new forms and meanings. These meanings, which vary from abstraction and symbolism to idealism and fame, crop up in diverse combinations in almost any portrait. In the process, a crucial fact emerges. You might reasonably say that the best, most intriguing portraits successfully combine several of these meanings into an integrated whole: one person, one figure, which could not have been depicted any other way. This seeming paradox may be the crux of Behold the Man; the exhibition ultimately turns on the question of how, over the past century, artists have used the portrait genre, in all its apparent simplicity and clarity, to evoke the richness and complexity of the modern world.

Neo Rauch, Gewitterfront, 2016, olieverf op doek, 150 x 100 cm, courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

Neo Rauch, Gewitterfront, 2016,
oil on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

BEHOLD THE MAN – 100 YEARS, 100 FACES will include work by:Adel Abdessemed, Karel Appel, Diane Arbus, Art and Language, Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Eva Besnyö, Mike Bidlo, Christian Boltanski, Michaël Borremans, Constantin Brancusi, Arno Breker, Bernard Buffet, Felice Casorati, Paul Citroen, Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Constant, Enzo Cucchi, Rineke Dijkstra, Otto Dix, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Ger van Elk, Tracey Emin, Walker Evans, Jean Fautrier, Edgar Fernhout, Seiichi Furuya, Charles Gaupp, Daan van Golden, Nan Goldin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, George Grosz, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Philip Guston, Isaac Israëls, Matthew Day Jackson, Egill Jacobsen, Asger Jorn, Yousuf Karsh, Dick Ket, Yves Klein, Job Koelewijn, Oskar Kokoschka, Tetsumi Kudo, Milan Kunc, Oliver Laric, Klara Lidén, Sarah Lucas, Lucebert, Ken Lum, René Magritte, Kazimir Malevich, Mark Manders, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kerry James Marshall, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, Bruce Nauman, Alice Neel, Arnold Newman, Felix Nussbaum, Catherine Opie, Irving Penn, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Marc Quinn, Arnulf Rainer, Neo Rauch, Gerhard Richter, Hervé Di Rosa, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Viviane Sassen, Antonio Saura, Christian Schad, Gino Severini, David Scherman/Lee Miller, Cindy Sherman, Nicolaes De Staël, Edward Steichen, Juergen Teller, Charley Toorop, Ryan Trecartin, Roy Villevoye, Henk Visch, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing, Co Westerik, Carel Willink, Francesca Woodman, Andrzej Wróblewski, Ossip Zakine, Zhang Xiaogang and Zhao Yao.

Behold the Man is the third exhibition in Museum de Fundatie organized by guest curator Hans den Hartog Jager, following More Light (2011) and More Power (2014). The exhibition will be accompanied by a Dutch-language catalogue written by Hans den Hartog Jager, Zie de mens – Honderd portretten (published by Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep). One hundred portraits from the past one hundred years are reproduced in colour, with accompanying texts that discuss each one individually and draw connections between them. Together, the book and exhibition will offer a fascinating survey of artistic visions of the human form over the past hundred years.

Displayed in the header from left to right: Oskar Kokoschka, Self-portrait (1917), Pablo Picasso, Grande nature morte au guéridon (1931), Constantin Brancusi, Le Nouveau-Né (1920), Marlene Dumas, Jesus Serene (detail; 1 van 21) (1994), Ryan Trecartin, Negative  Beach + Lizzie Fitch, from 'A Lossless Fall' (2010)


  • From: 01 Oct 2016
  • Through: 15 Jan 2017
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie