For the first time in Germany the SCHIRN is showing a comprehensive retrospective and assembling Gerstl's ruthless and self-confident paintings.

Expressionism is a style that arose in the late 19th to early 20th century, where the emphasis is on the artist’s subjective experience and sensibilities, and the colors used are thus charged with meaning.


He is the “first Austrian Expressionist” and for many people still an inside tip: Richard Gerstl. The artist is mentioned in the same breath as the three masters of the Viennese Modern Age – Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. By the time he committed suicide at the age of just 25 he had already created a fascinating, unusual, albeit relatively limited body of work featuring impressive highlights and pioneering innovations.
For the first time in Germany the SCHIRN is showing a comprehensive retrospective and assembling almost all the works known by Gerstl today. In his roughly 80 works he reveals himself to be an eternally-searching artist, who anticipated much of what would later emerge in art history such as in the painting of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1950s. Alongside nudes and landscape the portrait is Gerstl’s preferred genre. The exhibition presents wild, gestural group portraits and depictions of persons from his closest circle, or his self-portrait as a nude – the first of an artist after Albrecht Dürer. Richard Gerstl’s painting reflects his examination of the contradictions of modernity: In terms of style and content he refused to comply with the Viennese Secession, rejected their concept of beauty and painted in contradiction to traditional rules. He created ruthless and self-confident paintings, which still have no equal today.



Richard Gerstl. Retrospective

Edited by Ingrid Pfeif­fer and Jill Lloyd in cooperation with Raymond Coffer. Fore­word by Philipp Demandt. Including essays by Raymond Coffer, Jane Kallir, Diet­hard Leopold, Jill Lloyd and Ingrid Pfeif­fer. German edition, 192 pages, ca. 130 illus­tra­tions, Hirmer Verlag, 2017, price: 32 € (SCHIRN pay desk), 45 € (trade edition)




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