Pinakothek der Moderne presents the Schack Collection in full

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Pinakothek der Moderne presents the Schack Collection in full
Eduard Gerhardt (1813-1888), Das Generalife bei Granada, 1862. Öl auf Leinwand, 67,5 x 94,2 cm © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München - Sammlung Schack.

MUNICH.- The collection of Count Schack, with its masterworks of German Late Romantic painting from Schwind to Feuerbach and Böcklin, is one of the most important picture galleries in Munich. The most popular work in the museum is Franz Lenbach’s Hirtenknabe ( Shepherd Boy ), but there are also representative works by Georg Dillis and Carl Spitzweg in the collection. The Sammlung Schack is now finally being presented again in full, on all three floors. That part of the collection was inaccessible to the public for years, including nineteenth-century Spanish landscapes unrivalled by those in any other museum in Germany, are finally on display again in the newly renovated galleries on the second floor.

The renovation of the ground-floor spaces was completed in 2008. The renovation was continued in 2009 on the occasion of the gallery building’s hundredth anniversary. The Gallery of Copies was inaugurated as a new space for the exceptional collection of copies of Old Masters. Since then, we have eagerly awaited the completion of the renovation work on this treasure among Munich’s museums with the refurbishment and modernization of the second floor. The three galleries it contains have been closed for over a decade due to the fire safety regulations. The necessary construction work, including building an emergency exit with an external staircase, furnished an occasion for carrying out energy-efficiency modernization work on the roof. The glass roofs and lighting systems have been modernized as well, with the result that these three beautiful top-lit galleries are now equipped with up-to-date lighting technology.

The romantically transfigured view of Europe’s landscapes is at the centre of the display. What attracts the gaze in particular is the South: Italy with views of Verona, Rome, the Gulf of Naples, and— exceptional for the period—above all Spain. In Fritz Bamberger’s paintings of Granada and the Sierra Nevada, of Gibraltar and Toledo the landscapes are rendered in glowing colours. Eduard Gerhardt’s atmospheric depictions of the Alhambra show the castle of the Moorish kings in the evening darkness, mysterious and steeped in legend, much as the traveller and reader of Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra would have imagined this “fairy-tale castle.” Count Schack was a leading expert on Spain, having published studies on the cultural and literary history of the Iberian Peninsula. He was particularly interested in Spain’s medieval history under the influence of the Arabs. Alongside the paintings of Spain there are also northern landscapes, including Alpine landscapes by Carl Rottmann and others, and a Romantic night scene of Heligoland (German: Helgoland), a work by the landscape painter Christian Morgenstern, who settled in Munich from Hamburg.

The new rooms are also intended to be used in the future for small special exhibitions on topics linked to the collection. For example here will be shown selections from the extensive collection of nineteenth-century Italian photographs recently acquired by the Pinakotheks-Verein and its partners.

The major progress made in the renovation of the Sammlung Schack attests to the strong engagement of the Bavarian State for the preservation of its broad and varied museum landscape. A building like this one in particular, with its singular importance as a nineteenth-century collector’s museum, demonstrates the diversity and special cultural importance of the Bavarian museums.

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