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Günter Haese -Space in Motion

January 25 - March 30, 2019

The God of Small Things
Galerie Thomas presents Günter Haese, the Master of Delicate Metal Objects

It is a small miracle that Günter Haese’s objects can resist gravity. “In his work, the artist from Kiel explored fragility up to the limits of stability,” says gallery owner Raimund Thomas, “but he was not just interested in the movement of his spatial graphics, as he called his objects, but in the dissolution of an order that then restores itself.” Without the object tipping over. Galerie Thomas is now presenting 25 works by the artist, who passed away two years ago.

A Pioneer of his Time
Even though in its uniqueness Günter Haese’s work found no artistic companions, let alone imitators, he was a pioneer of his time in art-historical terms. “His graceful, human-scale objects, whose fragile equilibrium rests on even more delicate feet, are based on the contrast between geometry and materials on the one hand, and instability and a seemingly organic appearance on the other,” says Thomas. Today Haese is usually grouped with the kinetic artists, although he did not see himself as part of this category. The idea of the organic, self-regulating cycle also spread to science and politics in the 1960s, culminating in the student revolts of 1968.

Inspired by an Alarm Clock
After the war, Günter Haese, who was born on February 18, 1924, studied in Ewald Mataré’s master class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf along with Joseph Beuys, among others. Having trained as a decorative painter, he began creating animal sculptures, and only after several years did he arrive at his unique work by way of monotypes. The spark was an alarm clock that Haese was given, which he took apart. He began laboriously soldering the little steel braids, hooks, springs, and balls with a copper soldering iron and stacking them on top of each other. However, Haese was never a rushed creator; instead, he was an introverted master who approached his works with care.

His success came overnight: Günter Haese had his first solo exhibition at the Ulmer Museum, and his second at MoMA in New York, after the curator at the time saw Haese’s works in Ulm and immediately contacted him. Haese’s works have been exhibited in numerous major museums around the world and are now part of renowned collections. The fact that his work did not receive this degree of attention until the end of his life may also be due to his contemporary competitors, who stirred up the art world with their bold and colourful works of Pop Art and Op Art.


Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

December 6 - 9, 2018

Elegantly dazzling with swirling colour application
Galerie Thomas presents „Les Peupliers“ by Max Ernst among other masterpieces

Max Ernst created his painting “Les Peupliers” in his love nest in Southern France. It was the last summer before the outbreak of the Second World War, his last and only summer in crazy, intimate togetherness with his lover Leonora Carrington. Galerie Thomas is pleased to be able to present this Surrealist work from one of the most important stages in Max Ernst’s creativity and life at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

 The last weeks before his flight to the USA

Max Ernst, the German artist and leading proponent of Surrealism, had fled from Paris with Leonora Carrington to the small village of Saint-Martin d’Ardèche in order to escape his quarrelsome second wife and the disputes with André Breton, who was politically tending towards Stalinism. Here, they purchased a farmhouse, which they transformed into a “Gesamtkunstwerk” (all encompassing work of art) with sculptures and painting, and antagonized the villagers with their nudist escapades. In Saint-Martin, Max Ernst created “Les Peupliers,” a work that ranks among a whole group of paintings showing similar columnar structures and forms created by decalcomania.

 Only few weeks later in this dramatic summer of 1939 Max Ernst was interned in the notorious camp Les Milles. He escaped twice and finally fled with the help of no one else than Peggy Guggenheim to the USA. There was one more short meeting with his lover Leonora in Lisbon, but their plans to escape together were dashed. The name of Max Ernsts third wife is Peggy Guggenheim, although she wasn’t the last woman Max Ernst married.

 Just an impression of two poplars

The perception of merely only a landscape painting when looking at “Les Peupliers” is soon shattered and overturned by the bizarre, strange and confusing forms in which the paint winds, curls and forms signs and symbols. Nowhere does the eye succeed in focussing on a familiar shape: profiles and faces, zoomorphic figures and cloud-like formations materialise, only to disappear again. “Everybody knows Max Ernst for Grattage and Frottage”, says Silke Thomas, “but this elegantly dazzling surface effect he achieves through the technique of decalcomania, a transfer process, in which the paint is manipulated in such a way that the streaks, bubbles and curves that are typical of Ernst’s paintings of this period are formed on the surface in an unplanned manner.” And these works are paradigmatic for Surrealism, seducing the viewer at any moment to identify figures and forms that have never been deliberately represented.

 Other masterpieces by Emil Nolde, Alexander Calder or Oskar Schlemmer

Galerie Thomas is proud to announce in addition: masterpieces by German expressionist Emil Nolde, American artist of Classic Modernism Alexander Calder, German Bauhaus teacher Oskar Schlemmer and others.


Paul Klee. Music and Theatre in Life and Work

February 23, 2018 - May 12, 2018

Opening on Thursday, February 22, 2018, 7 p.m.

From the end of February 2018, Galerie Thomas, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and the Franz Marc Museum in Kochel am See, are simultaneously presenting exhibitions with works by Paul Klee.

For 2018, Dr. Oliver Kase, head of the Classical Modernism collection at the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich, promises “Klee Festivals in Munich”. (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sept. 28, 2017)

Galerie Thomas is focusing its exhibition on the topic of ”Paul Klee. Music and Theatre in Life and Work“.

Klee was not only a visual artist, but also a musician. In his youth, he had found it difficult to decide between the two professions, and although he eventually chose in favour of painting, his close affinity with music never waned: all his life he was an impassioned violinist and an enthusiastic and critical attendee of concerts and opera performances, especially in Munich.

However, music and visual art enjoyed a close relationship not only in Klee's life, but also in his work. Rhythms and melodies are reflected in landscapes, architectures and abstract compositions; the pathos and wit of the stage play form the basis of many of his figurative scenes.

With around 40 paintings, watercolours and drawings from 1914 to 1939, Galerie Thomas illustrates how Klee was preoccupied with music throughout all phases of his creative life. They include known works, as well as those that have only rarely been seen in exhibitions, if at all, until now. The exhibition has two main focuses: on the one hand, there are the stage characters and masks, i.e. works arising from his passion for opera, theatre and puppet shows, and on the other hand, symbolic abstract watercolours and paintings whose composition is modelled on musical structures.

The highlight of the exhibition is the painting The Singer L. as Fiordiligi, 1923, a work, that Klee not only prepared very carefully, but also repeated several times. He recreated the figure no less than five times, more than any other motif in his oeuvre. Two versions can be seen in the exhibition: the first work from 1923 and the subsequent hand-coloured lithograph of 1923, which was derived from it and which Klee gave away only to selected collectors. Another version is owned by the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich, and will be simultaneously on display in the exhibition at the Pinakothek der Moderne.

Along with private lenders, we are also grateful to public museums for their support with loans: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany; Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, Germany; Ulmer Museum, Ulm Germany and others.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Christine Hopfengart, formerly the head of the Paul Klee Foundation, Bern, Switzerland, and a long standing specialist in the artist’s work.


Alongside its Klee exhibition, Galerie Thomas is also presenting an extensive supporting programme. It includes concerts with performances of works by Bach and Mozart, as well as the ‘Fiordiligi’ aria from ‘Così fan tutte’, which were favourites of Klee’s; on the other hand, there are also works by contemporary composers following motifs from Paul Klee’s paintings; a performance with replicas of Klee’s glove puppets, as well as a reading from his papers, letters and diaries.

Paul Klee was not only among the visual artists of the 20th century who were most deeply involved with music, but was also the one whose paintings found the broadest echo with musicians and composers. Klee himself picked up stimuli from music, and also gave them in return. Over 450 compositions from the 1940s until the present day have made reference to Klee and one or other of his paintings.

The catalogue (edited by Christine Hopfengart), which will be published by the Wienand Verlag, Cologne, in February 2018, gives an insight into Klee’s double life as a painter and musician. It includes a number of articles of both an art historical and a musicological nature about Klee’s specific artistic existence as a “painter-violinist” and the artistic duality in which he moved.

The catalogue also contains all the exhibited works in colour (approx. 208 pages with approx. 160 coloured and b&w illustrations, ISBN 978-3-86832-423-5).

The exhibited works are supported by extensive documentation on Klee’s “musical-theatrical biography”. His performances as a violinist are also dealt with, as are his activities as a music and theatre critic, as well as the influence of music on his lectures at the Bauhaus. Moreover, special attention is paid to his links to Munich’s music and theatre scene. The performances at Munich’s court theatre and the many concerts he attended had a formative influence on Klee, and it was in this city that he took the decisive steps towards developing his ”musical visual language”.

Gabriele Münter

November 10, 2017 - February 10, 2018

As a member of the ‘Blue Rider’ group, Gabriele Münter was not only an outstanding Expressionist painter, but was also among the most important Modernist female artistic personalities in Germany. In the year of Gabriele Münter’s 140th birthday, Galerie Thomas is dedicating an extensive exhibition to her.


Examples of Münter’s work from all periods will be on show, starting with the small-format landscapes, which she created between 1903 and 1906/07, still in a very Impressionist painting style, in Upper Bavaria, France and on her Tunisia journey, always accompanied by Wassily Kandinsky.

However, our exhibition will concentrate on paintings from the peak period of Expressionism and the Blue Rider, when Münter was working in Munich, often with the other representatives of the Blue Rider, and at the ‘Russian House’ in Murnau, through to an example of her attempts at abstract painting, which she made under the influence of Kandinsky in the war year 1915 in Zurich.

From the 1920s, again in Murnau – with intermissions in Berlin and Paris – until her death in 1962, Gabriele Münter created an extensive oeuvre, which developed stylistically without losing its strong ties to Expressionism. Her landscapes and still lifes, which are represented in the exhibition from three decades of her later work, all show an unmistakeable reflection of the Blue Rider period. Her very individual visual language, characteristically combining expressiveness and colour, sensitively nuanced and with a classically influenced compositional tranquillity, can be wonderfully traced throughout the painter’s oeuvre in this presentation.

Galerie Thomas’s exhibition with works by Gabriele Münter takes place in parallel with a major overview show ‘Gabriele Münter: Painting to the Point’ in the Städtische Galerie in Lenbachhaus, so that there is ample opportunity available in Munich to rediscover a large range of the artist’s work in all its facets.

9x Emil Nolde

from August 28, 2017

Emil Nolde and watercolour - there are few painters of Classic Modernism who mastered this artistic technique as virtuosic and made such an impact for decades to come as this outstanding proponent of German Expressionism.

Nolde's use of incandescent colours and his confidence in the handling of the medium not only demonstrate his masterly technique, but also, to what extent Emil Nolde assumes a very distinct position in the context of Expressionism and beyond. His watercolours, with their dissolving colour and graduation, unite the representational of the motif and the abstraction of the colour fields to create a singular viewing experience.

In its exhibition series "9x" Galerie Thomas is presenting a concentrated selection of watercolours by Nolde, created between 1910 and 1940. Among these are examples of the artist's most important themes, portraits and figures as well as flower still lifes and landscapes. All works are outstanding examples of Nolde's watercolour oeuvre; some also have a reference to his biography, such as the Portrait of Johanna Schiefler or the landscape around Seebüll, his chosen home and source of inspiration for his late work period.

August Macke - Up close and personal

February 9 - May 13, 2017

In the new exhibition, Galerie Thomas is presenting August Macke with a fine and private selection of family owned drawings, watercolours and paintings. Around 50 works give an insight into the artist's oeuvre from the beginning of his style development until shortly before World War I, which proved fatal for this important German Expressionist as well.

Macke's path to the "Blue Rider" can clearly be traced, up to his typical pictorial language, which - always focused on the figure - draws attention to colour first and at the same time gives a sense of the strong influence of the French Fauves - especially by Henri Matisse. There are works on paper and oil paintings which are autobiographically motivated and tell off Macke's stay in his home town Bonn and at Tegernsee. Equally present are pictures of family or the circle of friends, for example of his wife Elisabeth or his son Walter. Impressions of every day life antedate the journey to Tunis in layout and composition, and Macke's interest in textile art also becomes comprehensible in his imaginative, colourful designs.

Macke may have been the most down-to-earth Expressionist, especially in the circle surrounding the Blue Rider, whose proximity to esoteric thought was evident in an even more spiritual manner than it was with the artists of the "Brücke" group and yet played a very minor role for August Macke. In comparison to Kandinsky or Jawlensky, Macke was clearly less spiritually minded, instead he was drawn to the elementary power and the beauty of nature - possibly a mental connection with Matisse.

Still, August Macke was also concerned with the questions of painterly abstraction, quite early on in fact, which some of the works within the exhibition reveal. But his closeness to nature and to people - which brings him much closer to Franz Marc or Gabriele Münter than to the other members to the Blue Rider and in his humanity clearly makes him a Rhenish Expressionist - has set August Macke in his art on a lifelong quest for the beauty and depth of life. It was defined by his dictum, which is inscribed in his last resting-place:
”For me, working is suffusing nature with joy.”


September 12 - November 15, 2014

To mark its 50th anniversary, Galerie Thomas is holding an extensive exhibition, which extends to both galleries in Munich, and will open in parallel as part of the OPEN ART weekend on September 12.

In the last 50 years, Galerie Thomas has successfully exhibited the art of the 20th century – starting with German Expressionism and Classical Modern Art, and continuing with items post 1945 and Contemporary Art. Our anniversary exhibition documents a cross-section of the galleries' abundant activities in the last 50 years, and demonstrates impressively what has been exhibited and achieved in the 50 years of Galerie Thomas’s existence and in the five years since the opening of Galerie Thomas Modern.

The exhibition is classified into various themes, highlighting different focuses of the galleries’ work. The individual themes are illustrated with partly historical documentary material from 50 years of life with art.

For example, the topic of ‘Highlights – Time and Again’ is a reminder of the sensational sales exhibition of the 'Rheingarten Collection' in the possession of Hans Grothe. The theme ‘Good Instinct’ documents early exhibitions of works by artists who have only now become famous: Josef Albers, Joseph Beuys, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Gotthard Graubner, Gerhard Richter, Eduardo Chillida and Tom Wesselmann. Raimund Thomas also exhibited Contemporary Russian Art in cooperation with Henri Nannen, as well as young Chinese Art, both at an early stage.

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