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Frye Art Museum : Franz von Stuck
Franz von Stuck, "Lucifer," 1890. Oil on canvas, 63 3/8 x 60 1/16 inches. Courtesy the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Frye Art Museum

Franz von Stuck

November 2, 2013–February 2, 2014Frye Art Museum 
704 Terry Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth and the 120th anniversary of his American debut, Franz von Stuck (1863–1928) is celebrated in the first monographic exhibition in the United States dedicated to his accomplishments. The exhibition showcases the full range of Stuck’s practice, presenting his architecture, graphic design, and photography, as well as the spectacular canvases that generated both admiration and controversy among critics of his day. These masterworks include Lucifer, 1890, from the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria; PietГ , 1891, from the StГ¤del Museum, Frankfurt am Main; Wild Chase, 1899, from the MusГ©e d’Orsay, Paris; Sin, ca. 1908, from the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; and Inferno, 1908, from the Mugrabi Collection.

The exhibition, a joint project of the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, and the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, is accompanied by a catalogue that examines Stuck’s theory of the spatial qualities of color; his influence on Josef Albers, Vassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee; his breach with naturalism; and his willing embrace of the transformative ideas of his day. The handsome, fully-illustrated 172-page publication documents for the first time Stuck’s participation in major international exhibitions in the United States and the reception of his work in the New World.

In his American debut at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Stuck was praised by critics as “one of the most versatile and ingenious of contemporary German artists.” He exhibited his most famous painting, Sin, at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1898. Two years later, at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, he was awarded a gold medal for furniture he designed for his sumptuous villa in Munich. In 1909, he was included in the traveling Exhibition of Contemporary German Art, which premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The same year, Stuck was awarded a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Choosing to present modern, psychological, and, at times, controversial treatments of familiar biblical or symbolic subjects at these international exhibitions, Stuck soon encountered wildly divergent opinions on his work. In these conflicting responses, his contemporaries unknowingly identified in his work many of the characteristics of the “Artwork of the Future,” which composer Richard Wagner had articulated in 1849.В 

Although the contradictions, and disjuncture, in the subjects and even styles of Stuck’s paintings have long been interpreted as reflecting ambivalence towards the modern era, Stuck’s artistic practice embraces rather than rejects the unresolved ambiguities, dilemmas, and uncertainties of his day. His work reflects the seminal discourses of the time as articulated not just by Wagner, but also by contemporaries Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Stuck’s oeuvre can thus be understood as a programmatic manifesto for an era of epochal disjuncture.

Franz von Stuck is organized by the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, and the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich. The exhibition is curated by Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker and is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. It is sponsored by Nitze-Stagen, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, San Francisco. Seasonal support is provided by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and ArtsFund. News Media Sponsorship is provided by The Seattle Times. Broadcast Media Sponsorship is provided by Classical KING FM.

For media inquiries, please contact Jeffrey Hirsch: / T 206 605 8266.

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