The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
With an opening that was timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s (a Knight Arts grantee) new exhibition, “Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers,” reveals the importance of connection to inspire great art. On view from Feb. 14-July 29, “Artistic Relationships” features more than 80 works from the Bechtler’s permanent collection.
This exhibition explores the artistic and personal relationships between 11 different pairs of artists. Friendships like Alfred Manessier and Gustave Singier are explored, while the teacher-student relationship of Bernard Meadows and Henry Moore garners special attention. Works by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, and Hans Hartung and Anna-Eva Bergman, bring to light the importance of the husband-and-wife connection on art.
Although the artists in the exhibition span multiple nationalities and generations, the focus is on European modernism and its experimentation with abstract art and the human figure. Furthermore a variety of media are presented from textiles to paintings and sculptures to prints. While many similarities are evident between the paired artists, their differences according to personal experience and belief are more intriguing. Especially, when you take two artists like Manessier and Singier who were best of friends, living beside each other, and even having their works mistaken for the other’s. Then to see their divergence it is startling.
As President and CEO John Boyer said, this exhibition“re-enforces the notion that 20th century modernism was very much the result of this complex web of relationships. In many instances the impact that these artists had on one another was greatly enhanced because of the nature of their personal connections.”