21 July 2005

German art in Leicester

Expressionism & Beyond
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, in Leicester.
Open all year. Free admission.

Expressionism & Beyond is a new gallery dedicated to Leicester's outstanding collection of 20th-century German art. It explores Expressionism, showing how artists perceived the world through heightened colour. The gallery features a changing selection of oil paintings and works on paper, including paintings and prints by Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Gabriele Münter.

The collection originated in 1944 when the museum staged an exhibition entitled 'Mid-European Art', drawn from the local emigré community, which had fled Nazism. One of the lenders was Mrs Tekla Hess, widow of Alfred Hess, a renowned Erfurt collector of contemporary German art. After the exhibition, the museum acquired four works, all originally from Alfred Hess's collection. These were by Franz Marc, Lyonel Feininger, Emil Nolde and Max Pechstein. The collection continued to develop through purchase, gift and bequest and has now become one of the finest collections of Expressionist art in the UK.