Information from the curator, 26 October 2015
The collections of the Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Ludwiglust and Güstrow, historically related to the rulers of Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg, are on account of its precious art collections as well, as scientific and exhibiting activities, not only an interesting mirror of over one-thousand-year-long history of region neighbouring with Pomerania, but also a foundation of the cultural identity of today’s German federated state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Pioneering, as far, as technological solutions are concerned, the museum building in Schwerin has been presenting the dukes’ collections to the public since 1882. Up to now, in an almost unchanged building, where works of old and modern art coexist together with collections of functional art and archaeological relics. Close to the Gallery of Old and New Masters and Old Garden there is the former seat of rulers of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, present seat of Landtag. The castle, an example of 19th century Romantic historicism, with a surrounding park and lake, is a beautiful and unique residential layout. Two other locations of the museum are located outside Schwerin. In Ludwigslust there is an impressive flourishing baroque palace, surrounded by the largest English-style landscape park in northern Germany. The second, a late-Renaissance castle in Güstrow, was inspired by Italian architecture and built in the second half of the 16th century. It belonged to duke Ulrich, but is nowadays mainly associated with Albrecht Euzebius von Wallenstein, famous politician and military leader of Thirty Years’ War.
Nationwide and international meaning of the Schwerin museum is determined by, and above all, the modern collection of Dutch and Flemish painting. Guest exhibition spaces in the National Museum in Szczecin at Wały Chrobrego will be filled by 120 artworks, being part of the newest collections of Staatliches Museum Schwerin, from Christoph Müller’s donation in 2013. Christoph Müller – journalist, feuilletonist and publisher, related to West-German „Tagesspiegel” daily newspaper and one of the most politically-involved German local newspapers “Schwäbisches Tagblatt” – got interested in old masters’ art in 1986. After two decades his collection became one of the most important private ones in Germany. In 2007 130 etchings and 235 drawings found themselves in Preussicher Kulturbesitz Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. In 2012 the collector donated 100 etchings to Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, and next year the most important part of the collection, over 150 paintings, was given to Staatliches Museum Schwerin.
Christoph Müller’s collection
Presented in Szczecin in its majority, Christoph Müller’s collection, described as the greatest transfer of old art in postwar Germany, is the opportunity to familiarize with extraordinary artistic industry of 16th-century Low Countries and 17th-century Holland and Flanders. Role of painting in everyday life of the society of this cultural circle is incomparable with any other society in Europe – regarding both number and fame of the works, as well, as their technological and informative innovation. This specific „hunger for paintings” arose, or dynamically and originally developed, basic painting genres: story, portrait, landscape (including peculiar type of marine landscape), genre painting and still life. Besides, presented paintings are an interesting and representative outlook on not only artistic and stylistic issues of the age, but also on those related to ethos of municipal life of the Dutch, protestant home and family life, with its virtues of modesty, self-resistant, hard work, diligence and on Flemish decorativeness and splendour. Each of six sections of the exhibition will be represented in Szczecin by significant names, among others: Hans von Aachen, Hendrick van Balen, Richard Brakenburgh, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Joos van Cleve, Edward Collier, Gillis van Coninxloo, Benjamin Cuyp, Dirck van Dalen, Karel Dujardin, Frans Francken II, Reynier de la Haye, Johannes Davidsz Mijtens, Nicolaes Cornelisz. Moeyaert, Gillis Mostaert, Pieter Neeffs II, Jan Porcellis, Paulus Pietersz. Potter, Hendrik van Steenwijck the Elder, Michael Sweerts, Gililis van Valckenburch, Hendrick Cornelisz van Vliet and Isaac Adamsz. Willaerts.
Catalogue and cooperation
The exhibition is accompanied by bilingual, German and Polish thorough, richly illustrated catalogue, which is not only a documentation of works presented in Szczecin, but is also a kind of guide through history and collection of Staatliches Museum Schwerin.
Completion of the event, basing on strict scientific and organizational cooperation of two museums from the capitals of neighbouring European regions – federated state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and West-Pomeranian Voivodeship – assumes wider European dimension, as this German-Polish dialogue occurs through Dutch and Flemish art of the golden age.
The exhibition, presenting precious works of Dutch and Flemish art from Christoph Müller’s collection in Staatliches Museum Schwerin is the first stage of cooperation with the National Museum in Szczecin. A presentation of exceptional treasure of the National Museum in Szczecin – a collection of drawings by the Tiepolos, a family of extraordinary Italian baroque artists – is to be held in 2016 in the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Within plans for 2017 Szczecin presentation of collection of works by Marcel Duchamp, kept in the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, is taken into account.