Exploring Saxony on the art trail
London, February 2018. World-class museums, galleries, innovative arts spaces and art schools – Saxony has it all. “The Allure of Art – History, Museums, Workplaces”, a new, free brochure, for the first time collects everything worth knowing about the region’s unique art scene in one place.
The brochure, published by the Tourism Board of Saxony, is a handy tool for discerning travellers, navigating them through the astounding wealth of museums, galleries and art spaces – including many outside the major cities Dresden and Leipzig – and enabling them to design their very own art trip. From anonymous Gothic masters to the New Leipzig School of contemporary times and including the Cranach family of painters, Canaletto, Caspar David Friedrich, the artists of the “Brücke” group, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka or Georg Baselitz – the history of art in Saxony is not short of big names and internationally renowned artists who’ve lived, worked and left their traces in this region:
Dresden’s splendid State Art Collections & beyond
Dresden’s art institutions are characterised by the former royal treasures of the Dresden State Art Collections, displayed in altogether 15 museums, including the Old Masters Gallery with paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens or Titian, and New Masters Gallery, dedicated to works from 1800 to the present day. Apart from these visitor favourites, there’s lots more to explore, such as the hidden masterpieces of one of the world’s oldest and most important collections of works of art on paper in the Dresden Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Or try the Leonhardi Museum, founded by Eduard Leonhardi, known as the “painter of the German forest” and a student of Dresden-born Ludwig Richter who was one of Germany’s most beloved artists in the 19th century. Apart from Leonhardi’s work, the picturesque property is now also the place to go for selected German contemporary art with a focus on regional traditions.
Leipzig’s rich patrons and young art
Over in Leipzig, it was not the aristocracy but the city’s bourgeoisie who shaped and supported the local art scene: In 1837, a merchant and a publisher founded the municipal art association and 20 years later, the splendid Museum of Fine Arts was opened, which is now housed in a new, modern building. Come here for, among others, an impressive collection of works by the New Leipzig School artists, such as Neo Rauch, Michael Triegel or Rosa Loy. For an array of 1,500 objects by over 300 contemporary artists head to the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in the impressive former villa of a Leipzig newspaper publisher. G2 Kunsthalle is another exciting place for contemporary art: Since its foundation in 2015, parts of the private collection of the Leipzig entrepreneur Steffen Hildebrand have been on show here. It focuses on young contemporary art after the turn of the millennium, including many local artists. Tip: The glass lounge offers great views of Leipzig’s city centre!
Of course, no account of Leipzig as a major contemporary arts hub in Germany is complete without mentioning the Spinnerei, the place where it all started in the early noughties when artists, including Neo Rauch, set up shop here, turning the once largest European cotton mill in one of the most interesting contemporary art production and exhibition venues. More than 110 artists’ studios, eleven galleries plus workshops, architectural and design studios as well as an international dance and choreography centre and printing houses have created a unique beehive of creativity in the surroundings of the old red-brick industrial buildings. The national and international galleries on site draw large audiences to their exhibitions and the popular open-house weekends three times a year including special visitor tours have become highlights in Leipzig’s event calendar.
Hidden treasures in unexpected places
Outside Saxony’s main urban centres, art lovers venturing off the beaten track are more than rewarded with world-class venues in towns such as Bautzen, Chemnitz, Görlitz or Zwickau. In particular Chemnitz, one hour in the south-west of Dresden, impresses with four excellent museums, including the Art Collections with 70,000 objects ranging from the 16th to the 21st century, including almost 500 works by the “Brücke” painter and Chemnitz-born artist Karl Schmidt Rottluff.
Museum Gunzenhauser is another gem: Opened in 2007 in a converted former bank built in the New Objectivity style in 1930, it houses a large part of the private collection of the gallery owner Dr Alfred Gunzenhauser with 2,400 works by artists of Classical Modernism and from the second half of the 20th century. This includes nearly 400 (!) works by Otto Dix, one of the world’s largest collections by this artist.
Be inspired for your very own Saxony art trip and order “The Allure of Art – History, Museums, Workplaces” brochure free of charge online, www.visitsaxony.com, or by mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to the editor
Easy access to Saxony: All major airlines to Berlin and Ryanair to Leipzig
New: ICE high-speed rail link cutting travel times from Munich and Nuremberg – Munich-Erfurt 2 hrs 15 min, Nuremberg-Erfurt 1 hr, Munich-Leipzig 3 hrs 15 min, Nuremberg-Leipzig 2 hrs
Saxony Tourism, www.visitsaxony.com, is part of the Cultural Heart of Germany, www.cultural-heart-of-germany.com, a tourism initiative of Saxony and Thuringia Tourism. The neighbouring states of Saxony and Thuringia feature a unique cultural heritage and rich musical tradition that the Cultural Heart of Germany promotes in the UK.
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