From 1800 landscape painting experienced an impressive heyday. Within this genre, artists paid increasing attention to the motif of clouds. These strange, elusive formations consisting of water, air and light appear as conveyors of different emotions and messages. Bushy clouds in a sunny sky contribute significantly to the positive atmosphere of a landscape and seem to be an almost indispensible feature in idyllic depictions of nature. A sky traversed by dark rain and thunder clouds, on the other hand, is perceived as threatening, while a band of clouds bathed in the glow of the red evening light sets a melancholy mood. Bizarre cloud formations, in turn, can be interpreted as enigmatic signs, as mysterious messages and warnings of imminent danger. A sense of foreboding is also conveyed by masses of clouds that appear out of control, occasioned either by natural disasters or by man as a result of technical intervention, such as exhaust fumes and atomic explosions.
The exhibition seeks to shed light on these different aspects of cloud depictions with a great variety of select examples of European and American painting and photography from 1800 to today. The presentation features works by Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Gustav Carus, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, William Turner, Gustave Courbet, Albert Bierstadt, George Inness, Frederick Edwin Church, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Giovanni Segantini, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Ferdinand Hodler, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, James Ensor, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Robert Adams, Thomas Ruff, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, to name but the most internationally famous representatives.
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