• Duration of the Exhibition19. June 2009 - 10. January 2010
  • VenueNeue Nationalgalerie
  • The exhibition was made possible by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie.

With the exhibition „Bilderträume. Die Sammlung Ulla und Heiner Pietzsch” (Dreams in Pictures. The Collection Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch), the Nationalgalerie in Berlin dedicates for the first time a large public show comprising more than one hundred and eighty works to this outstanding Berlin private collection. The fascinating art of Surrealism forms the core of the collection while a second focus lies on early works of Abstract Expressionism, in which the influence of artists who had emigrated from Europe is still clearly evident. Works from the Surrealist circle round off this collection of high calibre which, with its special emphasis on the art of Classic Modernism, represents a true rarity among international collections.

Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch have begun to collect art over forty years ago. Soon the present focus and the particularity of their collection became apparent: the art of Surrealism. The art of this movement „removed from reason“ and its preoccupation with the world of dreams and fantasy, the subconscious and the mysterious, sexuality and violence, is assembled in the collection of Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, comprising exceptional works, e.g. by Max Ernst, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Jean Arp or Yves Tanguy. Beside works of the most famous representatives of Surrealism the collection also contains works of artists of the Surrealist circle such as Frida Kahlo, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning, Oscar Domínguez or Wifredo Lam, which enrich our knowledge of this epoch.

The collection’s second point of emphasis, which, in this combination, is internationally unique, lies on an exquisite selection of early works of Abstract Expressionism, the artistic style which was developed in New York from direct Surrealist influences in the years following the war. The artists who had emigrated to America during the Second World War exercised a considerable influence on their younger colleagues there. The collection Pietzsch provides an unparalleled opportunity to follow the development of this style, which started in Paris in the 1920s and was continued by the New York School during the 1940s. Early works by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman point to the roots of the forms subsequently becoming characteristic of their art. Together with works of other artists of the New York School like Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt or Richard Pousette-Dart, this integral part of the collection Pietzsch also permits the public to gain insight into a landmark development in art history.

The composition of the collection also points out the connections leading from Surrealism to the present. Paintings by Konrad Klapheck and Neo Rauch are shown in the exhibition as examples of the continuation of Surrealism-based iconographic concepts. The collection is complemented in congenial fashion by portrait photographs of the artists represented in it, which were taken by the most famous photographers of their time such as Brassaï, Man Ray, Lee Miller or Irving Penn.