Neue Galerie New York presents “Richard Gerstl,” the first museum retrospective in the United States devoted to the work of the Austrian Expressionist (1883-1908). This exhibition is co-organized with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, and will be on view at the Neue Galerie through September 25, 2017.
Gerstl was an extremely original artist whose psychologically intense figure paintings and landscapes constitute a radically unorthodox oeuvre that defied the reigning concepts of style and beauty during his time. The longstanding secrecy surrounding Gerstl’s dramatic and untimely suicide at the age of 25, and the scandalous love affair that preceded his death, only further magnify the legend that has grown around this lesser known, but influential member of Vienna’s artistic avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century. The show is organized by Expressionist scholar Jill Lloyd, who has assembled several important exhibitions for the Neue Galerie, including “Van Gogh and Expressionism” in 2007, “Ferdinand Hodler: View to Infinity” in 2012, and “Munch and Expressionism” in 2016.
Approximately 55 paintings and works on paper are on display, including portraits, frontal nude figures, highly gestural group portraits, landscapes, and comparative works by Gerstl’s artistic contemporaries. A special gallery is devoted to Gerstl’s relationship with the leading Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg; the artist’s friendship with Schönberg abruptly ended in 1908 upon the disclosure of the love affair between Gerstl and Schönberg’s wife Mathilde. Although Gerstl’s extant body of work comprises only approximately 90 works, his groundbreaking style is central to the development of the Expressionist movement of fin-de-siècle Vienna.
A fully illustrated catalogue, published by Hirmer, accompanies the exhibition featuring contributions by leading scholars in the field, including Raymond Coffer, Jane Kallir, Diethard Leopold, Jill Lloyd, Ingrid Pfeiffer, Maria Sitte, and Karol Winiarczyk.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the Neue Galerie President’s Circle.