June 13–August 10, 2014
In acknowledgment and celebration of the centenary of Middlebury’s German Language School, this exhibit features twenty-eight works selected from the museum’s own collection of German art.
Founded in June 1915, the German School originally met in Pearson’s Hall, where many of the students are still housed, under the direction of a Vassar College professor named Lilian Stroebe. Its early success encouraged the creation of the Spanish and French Schools in 1916 and 1917, and then the Italian School in 1932. From the beginning, the school established its prestige in part through its most defining feature, the Language Pledge, which binds those who take it to think and communicate only in German.
In accordance with that pledge, the texts for this celebratory exhibition have been written in German, although an English translation is available in the gallery. The works on display come from a wide range of periods of German art— Albrecht Dürer from the late 1400s; Adolf Schreyer from the 19th Century; Expressionist works by George Grosz, Lyonel Feininger, and Max Beckmann from the early 20th century; and prints by Joseph Beuys and black and white photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher from the very end of that century.
George Grosz (German, 1893-1959), Blue Lady, 1935, watercolor on paper, 23 7/8 x 16 7/8 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art, gift in memory of Michael Oliver Grosz, Class of 1978, given by his parents, Peter M. and Lilian Grosz, 1987.055.
This eclectic collection began in 1968 with the purchase of an 18th-century lindenwood sculpture of the Madonna and Dürer's The Ill-Matched Pair, or the Offer of Love (c. 1495). Over time, the museum has acquired more than seventy works related to German culture; the thirty works on display are some of the collection’s best representatives.
The show was organized by Michael Gaffney ’13, the museum’s Sabarsky Graduate Fellow, and is generously supported by a grant from the Serge and Vally Sabarsky Foundation, New York.