Berlin Masterpieces in Wroclaw
An exhibition at the City Museum of Wroclaw
In celebration of Wroclaw’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2016, the National Gallery (Nationalgalerie) of Berlin will be showing an exhibition titled “19th Century Masterpieces from the National Gallery of the State Museums of Berlin” at the City Museum of Wroclaw (Royal Palace) from 18 September 2016 to 15 January 2017. On display will be 67 paintings from the collection of the Berlin banker and art patron Joachim Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener, whose extensive donation led to the foundation of the National Gallery in the mid-19th century. The exhibition will mark the first time in a long time that works created by German masters – predominantly from the first half of the 19th century – will be presented in Wroclaw on this scale.
Starting in 1815 and continuing over the course of the subsequent forty years, Wagener was able to amass the largest private collection of contemporary painting in Berlin at the time. Upon his death in 1861, Wagener bequeathed his collection to the Prussian King, thus leading to the foundation of the National Gallery (Nationalgalerie). Fifteen years later, architect Friedrich August Stüler completed construction on a museum designed to house the massive collection.
The exhibition of selected works presented in Wroclaw this year will focus on the Wagener Collection, which comprises paintings drawn from the movements known as the Romantic, Biedermeier and Realist eras. Wagener’s influence as a patron and sponsor of the national and international art of his time becomes clear in this exhibition, and the works it contains provide a representative image of painting in the first half of the 19th century.