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Hamburger Kunsthalle receives gift of David Novros' largest portable mural
David Novros (*1941), Four Seasons, 1974 (Exhibition View). Oil on Canvas, 4 Parts, each 174 × 351 cm, total 351 × 1140 cm. Gift of the Lafrenz Collection © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 © Hamburger Kunsthalle, Photo: Fred Dott.

HAMBURG.- Prof. Dr. Alexander Klar, Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, accepted David Novros’s large-format work Four Seasons (1974) yesterday from the Lafrenz family as a gift from their collection to mark the artist’s 80th birthday on 8 August. David Novros, who was born in Los Angeles in 1941 and today lives in New York, counts among the most important American painters of his generation. His works can be found in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, in the Art Institute in Chicago and in The Menil Collec­tion in Houston.

»I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Lafrenz family for the donation of David Novros’s outstanding work Four Seasons. The gift is also a site-specific stroke of luck for the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Novros’s pictorial inventions rely on the interplay between structure, proportion, colour and form as well as the work’s relationship to its architectural setting. Its precisely orchestrated composition makes Four Seasons an excellent artistic counterpart to Oswald Mathias Ungers’s Galerie der Gegenwart (Gallery of Contemporary Art), which opened in 1997,« noted Klar.

»We are delighted to recognise our long-standing ties with the Hamburger Kunst­halle with this gift and to pledge ourselves to future joint projects,» said Björn Lafrenz on behalf of the Lafrenz Collection.

Since the founding of the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 1869, gifts and donations from private collectors have been invaluable for the expansion and further develop­ment of the collection, one of the leading public art collections in Germany, with works that are in demand internationally.

»David Novros’s Four Seasons is a striking painting that superbly complements and enhances our collection. With David Novros, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, Richard Serra and others, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is now able to showcase a broad spectrum of American art from 1960 onwards,« said Dr. Brigitte Kölle, Head of Collection Contemporary Art at the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Novros’s four-part oil painting, which is over ten metres long and almost four metres high, is the largest of what he calls portable murals, a modular painting technique he developed. Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerto cycle, from which the work borrows its title, provided the inspiration and formal model for the four-part composition. Like a musical beat, Novros introduces a colour-based metre that structures the individual movements, i.e., the horizontal and vertical rectangular panels. Proceeding in reading direction from left to right, Novros’s picture follows Vivaldi’s sequence from spring to winter, with an ascending lightening followed by a descending darkening. In addition the arrangement of the four panels on the wall provides a visual correspondence to crescendo and decrescendo as a horizontal element is followed by two verticals and then another horizontal.

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