The Paris Avantgarde and Fauvism

André Derain, La Femme en chemise, La danseuse, 1906. National Gallery of Denmark. : © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo: SMK Photo/Jakob Skou-Hansen

At the outset of the twentieth century, a loosely affiliated group of artists centring around Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck conducted revolutionary experiments in colour.

The name Fauves was bestowed on the group in 1905 by art critic Louis Vauxcelles. He first employed “fauves” in one of his articles; the term, which in English translates as “wild beasts” or “wild animals”, was intended to characterise the clique of artists who remained little known prior to 1905.

In the group’s expressive approach to the application of colour, its striking, often virulent colour schemes, and the rejection of naturalistic renderings of local colours, Vauxcelles discerned the break with academic precedent.

Fauvism was the premier avant-garde movement of the 20th century. Between 1904–1908, it set the pace in the Paris art scene for a brief period. Its impact endured long into the future, however.

Fauvism coincided with the Belle Époque, which lasted until 1914. This period heralded the rapid rise of urban mass society, industrialisation, technical innovations, fast-emerging mobility and the advertising and tourism industries.

The show (Matisse, Derain and Friends. The Paris Avant Garde 1904-1908) also features work by the artists Émilie Charmy and Marie Laurencin, and provides insights into the trade in Fauvist art, a trade in which gallerist Berthe Weill was to play a decisive role. Conventional perceptions as to the style of this movement, which left such an indelible stamp on modernism, are also called into question.

Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern

Paul Klee (1879-1940) With the Sinking Sun, 1919, Private collection Felix Klee, Depositum Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

Zentrum Paul Klee makes a shift of direction. Kosmos Klee. The collection (Kosmos Klee. Die Sammlung) introduces a new show to his life and works.

Zentrum Paul Klee owns and shows the most extensive collection of his works. Alongside his works, the Zentrum Paul Klee also houses the artist’s archive. The archive gives insight into multiple aspects of his artistic and private life. His love of music, for example. The (oral) archive also contains photographs, letters, Klee’s library, a recently made film documentary, and his vast collection of objects.

Zentrum Paul Klee is also the world’s authoritative centre for research into the artist’s life and work. Short texts, biographical photographs and films allow a glimpse into the various phases of his oeuvre and life.

One part of the museum is reserved for the space. FOKUS houses temporary exhibitions. They will focus on a particular aspect of Klee’s work or an artist referencing it.

The first temporary exhibition shows his celebrated depictions of angels. Klee’s angels are not perfect messengers from heaven. They are beings with human character traits between this world and the world beyond.

In subsequent exhibitions, FOKUS will feature artists with a particular artistic relationship with Klee. Other themes are the responses of architects to his work or the importance of art journals to the global exchange of ideas among artists in the first half of the 20th century.

A Cultural History of Time in Kunsthaus Zurich

Monica Bonvicini, Time of my Life, 2020. Collection Wemhöner. Photo: Jens Ziehe. © Pro Litteris Zürich

The exhibition ‘Time. From Dürer to Bonvicini’ (Die Zeit. Von Dürer bis Bonvicini) explores the intellectual history of time, its measurement, and time as subjective experience.

The artistic positions represented range from the Renaissance to the present day. Their aesthetic preoccupations are informed by biology, sociology, philosophy, politics and economics. Time is one of the great mysteries in the history of humankind, and is defined in multiple ways in fields as diverse as philosophy, biology, economics, politics and art.

This journey through the history of time features paintings, films, installations, performances and historical watches. They attest to the ephemeral nature of life, the scope for meditation opened up by painting, the changing seasons, and financial markets that are now synchronized down to the last picosecond.

Languages tend to be full of terms containing the word ‘time’. The exhibition, however, does not set out to answer the question ‘what is time?’ Instead, it offers multiple thought-provoking ideas that encourage visitors to relate the various facets of ‘time’ to each other.

The exhibition is a collaboration with the Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH), La Chaux-de-Fonds. Over a hundred artists are represented with some 230 works