PREVIEW: Making Modernism, Royal Academy of Arts

This new exhibition will go on display to the public from the 12th November.

Gabriele Münter, Portrait of Anna Roslund, 1917. Leicester Museums & Galleries. © DACS 2022

In November, the Royal Academy of Arts will present Making Modernism, a major new exhibition devoted to women artists working in Germany in the early 20th century. The exhibition is set to feature 67 paintings and works on paper primarily by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin, with additional works by Erma Bossi, Ottilie Reylaender and Jacoba van Heemskerck.

Many of the works of art selected for this display have never been exhibited in this country before and will help reveal how these particular artists were central to the development and dissemination of modernism. The exhibition will re-evaluate key themes of modernism such as self-portraiture, still-life and urban and rural scenes and will be focussed on the female body, childhood and maternal experience.

Arranged thematically, the exhibition will open with a section Ourselves and Others which will feature self-portraits and portraits, showing the increasing participation of women artists in public life and revealing their crucial role in creating and sustaining the networks that supported various aspects of emergent modernism in Germany. The second section, The Century of the Child, titled after Swedish writer Ellen Key’s influential 1900 publication, will explore how each of the artists depicted children. This will then be built on in the room titled  Sites of Intimacy which will delve into the inner lives of Modersohn-Becker and Kollwitz, further exploring maternal instinct as well as the female body, intimate relationships and eroticism. The fourth section City and Country: Journeys and Migrations will present paintings of urban life and explore changing roles for women in a variety of contexts; at leisure, at work, while rural subjects reveal the need to take refuge away from the metropolis to produce art that celebrated the natural beauty of the countryside. The exhibition will conclude with a section considering the importance of still-life in the artist’s work.

For more information about the exhibition visit:

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