Content of the exhibition

To establish themselves, the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century required knowledgeable advocates who had access to a large network of people. One of the most influential of those was Will Grohmann. He left his mark on numerous important public and private collections. His own collection also reflects the canon of modernism that he helped define.

Based at first in Dresden, then after 1948 in Berlin, he built up a global network that he used to support numerous artists. Grohmann played a key role in building up the Dresden collection of classical modernism, which was later lost as a consequence of the National Socialist campaign ‘Degenerate Art’.

The list of artists whose works were exhibited in the show seems like a Who’s Who of modern art: Segall, Kirchner, Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger, Jawlensky, Schmidt-Rottluff, Schlemmer, Baumeister, Moore, Hartung, Nay, Bill, Wols, Richter, and many more. The focus was on those objects that are linked to Grohmann on several levels; they were contextualised and commented accordingly. Through this presentation of outstanding key works and the additional information, Grohmann’s communicative network, which contributed so decisively to the acceptance of the avant-gardes, became visible.

The exhibition brought together more than 200 works of art in Dresden, scattered over Europe, North and South America. Some of them were exhibited in Germany for the first time since the Nazi campaign ‘Degenerate Art’.