081012: Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe Camille Corot – Nature and Dream

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe Camille Corot – Nature and Dream 29.09.12 – 16.01.13 More than just a forerunner By Matthias Kampmann Pierre Lanith Petit photographed the French painter Camille Corot in 1860. Is he smiling, this man born in 1796? Or is he only daydreaming and looking inside himself, into a vastness that the outsider cannot evaluate because it’s unreal? If you look further at the life of this painter, who is repeatedly and stereotypically coined as the forerunner of Impressionism, he seems to hide just like the photographs are hidden and unfortunately are not displayed at the exhibition “Camille Corot. Nature and Dream” in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Curator Dorit Schäfer, together with the initiator of the show, Margaret Stuffmann and Maike Hohn, a research scientist , clearly dispel these clichés. They assembled a remarkable exhibition. A multifaceted differentiated view of Camille Corot and his life, which ended 1875. An artist between academicism, romanticism, realism and modernism. Among other things, the exhibition underlines his passion for Beethoven and Gluck, something that translated into his later works. And the show unveils him as the inventor of “Souvenir” - a kind of landscape painting based on experienced reality yet charged with memories, history and emotions. The show presents 180 works, including generous international loans from Champions League of museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Louvre. Among them the “Girl with the Pearl Earring” depicting a beautiful woman, relaxed, withdrawn, apparently looking at the viewer – yet actually totally withdrawn, pondering and melancholy. This doesn’t have much to do with Impressionism. Throughout his life Corot was independent – this probably being the basis for his special role. His parents were hugely successful in the textile business, and his mother was considered the best milliner in Paris. He was to follow in their footsteps, but already in 1817, two years after he started his apprenticeship as cloth merchant, it was clear that his sole purpose was to become a landscape painter. Officially, he was only able to live the life of a painter after the death of his youngest sister in 1822 and thereafter receiving an annuity for life. Only then was he able to travel and was no longer dependent on selling his work. Maybe this explains his view for reality that can be reconstructed through his works. In the 1830s, Corot painted male portraits documenting the social class he came from. Unusually self-confident characters or introverted souls glance at their viewers: all individuals, not role players. Later he mainly paints mysterious female portraits, among them the “Algerian” (around 1870). Certainly, the painter, who devoted himself intensively to the Cliché Verre technology – a combination of etching on surface, such as glass, and printing the resulting image on a light sensitive paper in a photographic darkroom – is a figure on the doorstep on the brink of a new era in which not even iconographies were able to set standards for the artist. But he is, and this is very well documented in this remarkable exhibition, not only a forerunner. Thanks to new art historic approaches, which feed on emotion research, it is now possible to learn more about Corot: a supreme achievement by the Karlsruhe Museum. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe 76133 Karlsruhe, Hans-Thoma-Straße 2-6 Tel: +49 721 926 33 59 Fax: +49 721 926 67 88 email: info@kunsthalle-karlsruhe.de http://www.kunsthalle-karlsruhe.de Opening hours: Tue – Fri: 10.00 - 17.00 hours, Sat, Sun, Holidays 10.00 - 18.00 hours

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
76133 Karlsruhe, Hans-Thoma-Straße 2-6
Tel: +49 721 926 33 59, Fax: +49 721 926 67 88
Email: info@kunsthalle-karlsruhe.de
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10-18 h

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