Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Marx Collection

In 1996, the Hamburger Bahnhof opened with the collection belonging to the Berlin entrepreneur Dr. Erich Marx. Ever since, the Marx Collection has been a central component of the museum's inventory. 

Outstanding works by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol - many of them on permanent display - have earned the collection international renown. Pieces such as Anselm Kiefer's lead pieces and even more so Andy Warhol's large "Mao" (1973) are iconic trademarks of the museum. The Marx collection is on permanent loan to the Nationalgalerie, and is presented by the curators in changing configurations.

The core of the Marx Collection revolves around five major personalities of late 20th century art: Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. 

The collection contains wide-ranging ensembles of works by all five, making it possible for the museum to chart the artistic development of each from the early production all the way to the late or recent works. Several of these pieces opened up new artistic pathways, and hence enjoy the status of key works in the history of art after 1960. Among these is Robert Rauschenberg's early collage piece "Pink Door" of 1954, Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" of 1963, and Joseph Beuys' "Straßenbahnhaltestelle" (Streetcar Stop) of 1989.

With the above works as points of departure, the Marx Collection is distinguished by its focus on American art. Important works by Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, and Bruce Nauman provide a survey of artistic developments during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Also present in the collection are works by later successors to Pop Art, including Keith Haring and Jeff Koons, along with the subtle staged photographs of Cindy Sherman and works by Matthew Barney, with their marked orientation toward the human body. 

Painting is represented in the collection on many levels: large format works by artists as diverse as Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Rainer Fetting, and Georg Baselitz document the Renaissance enjoyed by expressive painting in Europe during the 1980s. Also on display are formalist and abstract responses to these developments on the part of American artists such as Fiona Rae and Peter Halley and by German painter Günther Förg. In the realm of contemporary painting, the collection contains pieces by such much-discussed figures as Daniel Richter, Eberhard Havekost, Frank Nitsche, and Thomas Scheibitz. Notable individual works round out the contemporary portion of the Marx Collection: besides large format photographs by Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky, there are sculptures by Rachel Whiteread, paintings by Zbigniew Rogalski, and space-filling works by Ugo Rondinone.

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