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THE BROTHERS’ PICTURES. A Tale of Three Collections


The collections of Aenne and Franz Burda inspired a love of art among their sons, Franz, Frieder and Hubert. What followed was a life-long passion.

From Max Beckmann through Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to Gabriele Münter: it was to German Expressionism that the three brothers Franz, Frieder and Hubert owed their first encounter with fine art. Faces lit up in gaudy pink, bodies writhed in glaring yellow, black boundaries surrounded the images in a manner reminiscent of wood carvings. It is also to German Expressionism that the colors owe their emancipation from objects and reality; and it is German Expressionism that puts them in the service of the direct, subjective expression of emotions, psyches and life experience.

The collection owned by the parents, both successful publishers and business-people in Offenburg, releases the immediate force of colors to be experienced as a promise of a fascinating world behind and with the pictures. At the same time, the collection also encouraged the three brothers to set themselves free from their parental legacy and find their own way in the art world of their time.

The exhibition in Museum Frieder Burda traces the roots of the three brothers’ passion for collecting and, at the same time, follows the development of each of the three individuals’ personal love of art, decoding what a life with and for art can mean. The show was planned while Frieder Burda was still alive and reflects his great personal desire to unite the art collected by the three siblings in a single, joint exhibition in his own museum.

The exhibition design is modern and expressive, taking into account the special architecture of the building, which was created by Richard Meier. The starting point is the famous picture of the three brothers by the American pop art legend Andy Warhol.

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