Alex Katz: “Red Sweater” (Detail), 1999, Foto: Martin Url, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013
For the past 25 years, the married couple of Maria Lucia and Ingo Klöcker from Bad Homburg in Germany have collected art in the form of paintings, drawings, photography, graphics and sculpture, and with a wholly personal focus, the portraits of women.
They treat themselves to a luxury reserved only for private collectors, the luxury of collecting free of art-historical currents, free of political ideologies, free of east/west clusters, free of the decisions of committees and panels and also free of the art market itself. The single governing standard is their own personal sense of aesthetics, and the only rule, the only feature of quality, is the level of workmanship inherent in the works. The LehmbruckMuseum is now hosting this collection in an extensive exhibition with the title of "Frauen - Liebe und Leben" [Women - Love and Life].
With around 150 portraits on display, the collection places a focus on images of women gathered from more than six decades of art history, from the post-war period and contemporary era. The bandwidth ranges from paintings and drawings for example by Wolfgang Mattheuer, Werner Tübke, Arno Rink, Michael Triegel, Alex Katz, Eugène Leroy, Nancy Spero and Clive Head to sculptures by Stephan Balkenhol, Eric Fischl, Thomas Schütte, Kiki Smith, Werner Stötzer, Hans Josephsohn, Gérard Garouste and Jürgen Brodwolf, as well graphical and photographic works from Sigmar Polke, Franz Gertsch, Lucian Freud, Gerhard Richter, Katharina Sieverding, Barbara Klemm, Rosemarie Trockel and Alberto Giacometti. The diversity in the collection puts on display widely differing views of women and illuminates male and female positions as well as intimate and public moments, and also reflects on aspects of observation, admiration, intensity and eroticism.
The LehmbruckMuseum presents the works with reference to Adelbert von Chamisso's nine-part cycle of poems called "Frauen-Liebe und Leben", set to music by Robert Schumann with the title of "Frauenliebe und -leben". This cycle of poems and songs serves to give order to the portraits without however tending to squeeze them into an excessively tight corset, and from a Romanticism point of view traces the journey through life of a woman from her first love until death. The Klöcker collection is displayed in parallel to these nine poems and serves to set a contemporary counterpoint.
The portraits are set against the nine poems in addition to works from Wilhelm Lehmbruck, in the oeuvre of which women also adopted a central position. This comparison and confrontation of various genres and epochs serves to deepen the exhibition with aspects that are fundamental for the museum.
In this way the Klöcker collection in the LehmbruckMuseum not only shows a cross-section through art history in the second half of the 20th century up until the present time based on a specific theme, but also relates the story of a highly individual and personal collection and of the activity of collecting itself - the collecting of a theme that can be traced with infinite diversity and inexhaustibly through the meanderings of art history.