“Collectors are happy people” is the last line of the short story The Invisible Collection (1925) by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. This exhibition illustrates the happiness of collectors.
For the first time ever, Collectors’ Dreams shows a marvelous German private collection brimming with star painters of the seventeenth-century Netherlandish art world. Starting in 1970, the collection was assembled over three decades through shrewd purchases on the international art market. The collection was recently entrusted on permanent loan to the Wallraf.
Still lifes with flowers, candlelight or opulent tableware, summer and winter landscapes, town and river views, carousing peasants and gallant cavaliers, church interiors and portraits reflect the variety and excellence of Dutch and Flemish Baroque art, as well as the passion of a 20th century art collector. He was particularly keen on Netherlandish storytelling and illusionism in depicting the material world, and less fond of biblical or mythological scenes. Focusing on small and medium size paintings on oak or copper and the intimate genre of drawing, he created a wonderful collection of art for close viewing.
“Netherlandish paintings were not created for galleries that you walk though, but for rooms where you might sit […] The world where one sits is quiet, conversational and slow, it is a world of observing from close up and with pleasure” – writes Czech author Karel Čapek aptly in his travel journal Old Masters (1932).
The second issue of the BAROQUE magazine (available in the Museum Shop) appears in conjunction with the exhibition. In the style of a modern lifestyle magazine and with a humorous wink, through the artworks it captures anecdotes, virtues, vices and beauties of the period.
The exhibition is curated by Dr. Anja Sevcik, Head of Department of Baroque Painting of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud.