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VMFA acquires key work by German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

In September 2020, a private collector in Germany made the fair and just decision to restitute Kirchner’s painting to the Fischer family descendants who have donated it to VMFA through a gift-purchase arrangement.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced this week that it has acquired a major work by German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The oil painting, completed in 1916, is entitled Taunus Road (German: Autostrasse im Taunus). In September 2020, a private collector in Germany made the fair and just decision to restitute Kirchner’s painting to the Fischer family descendants who have donated it to VMFA through a gift-purchase arrangement.

“We are pleased that this painting, Taunus Road, was returned to the Fischer family and that it joins other paintings by Kirchner in the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “The donation of this painting is the realization of a long-term commitment on behalf of both the Fischer family and VMFA to reunite restituted works from the Fischer Collection.”

In 2016 Kirchner’s painting Sand Hills at Grünau was restituted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to the descendants of Max Fischer as the result of a related Nazi era restitution case and acquired by VMFA through a similar gift-purchase arrangement. After this painting was returned to the family, they made clear their commitment to not only reunite it with the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection at VMFA but also any future works from Max’s portion of the family collection that were restituted to the family.

“Having grown up in a home surrounded by these vivid works of art, it was a natural decision to send any restituted works to VMFA, to rejoin the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection at the museum,” Eva Marx said. “By reuniting this work with the rest of the collection, we honor our grandparents’ vision and our parents’ dedication to sharing these works with the public.”

Ludwig and Rosy Fischer were forward thinking art collectors in Frankfurt, Germany, who between 1905 and 1925 built one of the most impressive collections of German Expressionist art of the time, with a special emphasis on the artists of the Die Brücke movement. Their sons, Ernst and Max, inherited the collection of approximately 500 works in 1926. After the Nazis gained power in Germany, Ernst left the country in 1934 and eventually settled in Richmond, Virginia, with his half of the collection. When Max left the following year, he was able to take only a few works out of Germany, and the remainder were presumed lost or stolen. Taunus Road is the second painting that has been recovered from the lost portion of Max’s half of the collection and returned to the Fischer descendants.

“Adding this work to the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection helps us to tell a fuller story of the ways in which Hitler’s rise to power impacted the Fischer family and their collection. Displaying Taunus Road alongside Sand Hills in the German Expressionist Gallery adds significantly to our understanding of Ludwig and Rosy Fischers’ vision as important early collectors of Kirchner’s work in particular,” said Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, VMFA’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “It is the enormous privilege of the museum to continue to work with the Fischer family as we steward this phenomenal collection of German art and share it with our public,” added Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education.

Kirchner was a leader and founding member of the Die Brücke group, formed in 1905. These artists looked at the rampant industrialization of the early 20th century with both fascination and despair. Responding to the changing world around them, they created art characterized by loose, gestural brushstrokes and vivid palettes of bold, saturated colors. While many of the Die Brücke artists depicted urban scenes, they also escaped their city studios to paint rural landscapes as antidotes to the pressures and anxieties of modern life. Landscapes were a central theme throughout Kirchner’s work.

Taunus Road provides a strong example of Kirchner’s vibrant landscapes produced between 1915 and 1918, a period scholars have described as Kirchner’s “crisis” years. He painted the scene in the midst of World War I, during his stay at the sanatorium in Königstein im Taunus, a community in the Taunus mountains north of Frankfurt where, after granted leave from the military, he received treatment following a nervous breakdown. Paint is applied in thin, loose layers to the canvas, producing a quickly executed, dynamic work. The curving trees on the left side and three purple clouds at the top of the composition frame the coral-colored highway. The division created by the roadway produces a tension between the idea of unadulterated nature and the incursion of humans into the landscape.

Taunus Road is currently on view in the German Expressionist Gallery at VMFA.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Arts & Entertainment

Vendor Applications Open for Richmond Folk Festival

Want to get your arts, crafts, or food in front of thousands for 3 three days in a row? Apply now.

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What’s a Richmond Folk Festival without great food and crafts? Applications are now being accepted for both Food Vending (Due March 31) and for the Craft Marketplace (Due April 7). Spread the word!

FOOD VENDORS

We strive to bring the best in ethnic, regional and traditional foods to delight guests and showcase a wide variety of tempting foods to complement the spirit of the festival. From classic festival fare to exotic flavors from far-flung places around the globe, everyone is sure to find something to love. You’ll have a tough time deciding between Thai, German, Indian and much more. Download guidelines and applications here.

CRAFTS MARKETPLACE

The Marketplace features artisans selling handcrafted and traditional items. Subjects range from jewelry, specialty items, and original artwork. Download guidelines and applications here.

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Arts & Entertainment

RiverRock Announce Who Will Rock the River

Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival

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Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival. The 2023 lineup features national and regional talent taking the stage the weekend of May 19-21 as Dominion Energy Riverrock returns to Brown’s Island. The complete music and event schedule is now available at www.RiverrockRVA.com, and registration for participatory sporting events is open as well.

Dominion Energy Riverrock will open on Friday, May 19 with participatory sporting events, including the Belle Isle Blitz 5k-ish Trail Run and the MTB Time Trial ride. The fun continues Saturday with the Monsters of the James Fishing Tournament, James River Scramble (10kish), MTB Enduro ride, Kayak Boatercross, and SUP Cross. For the final day of the festival people can take part in the Bust the Banks Half Marathon or Down River Paddle. The Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs competition, Photo Contest, and Video Contest will take place throughout the weekend.

Kicking things off on stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, May 19, will be The National Reserve, a beloved Brooklyn band whose music is a mix of R&B, New Orleans funk, rock, and soul. They will be followed by the Kitchen Dwellers, one of the festival’s headlining bands. The Montana quartet has amassed over five million streams and has been critically acclaimed nationally for their unique twist on bluegrass.

The lineup on Saturday, May 20 showcases several local Richmond artists. Willie DE starts the afternoon entertainment at 1:00 p.m. Flight Club then takes the stage at 2:00 p.m. with a mix of the music they grew up on, gritty blues, classic rock, and punk. Pharaoh Sistare brings back a style reminiscent of James Brown and Prince at 3:15 p.m and Erin & the Wildfire will treat festival goers to their brand of soul and indie-pop at 4:30 p.m. Sierra Hull will be the first headliner on Saturday. Hull made her Grand Ole Opry debut at age 10 and has continued to break records and earn accolades throughout the bluegrass community. She will take the stage at 6:15 p.m. followed by Neal Francis at 8:00 p.m. Francis’ new album Sentimental Garbage has him touring across the country showcasing his alternative indie hits. Sunday performances include Justin Golden, Cosmic Collective, and will wrap up with some high-octane Appalachian folk from 49 Winchester. All performances at Dominion Energy Riverrock are free and open to the public.

“We’re very excited about this year’s musical line up for Dominion Energy Riverrock,” said Stephen Lecky, Director of Events for Venture Richmond. “We feel that this year has a rich mix of not only local and national acts, but a variety of styles that are guaranteed to appeal to all music fans. We have no doubt that these artists will enhance the outdoor atmosphere along the James River and are sure to be a highlight of the festival.”

Dominion Energy Riverrock Music Lineup

Friday, May 19

Time – Band
6:30 p.m. The National Reserve
8:00 p.m. Kitchen Dwellers

Saturday, May 20

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Willie DE
2:00 p.m. Flight Club
3:15 p.m. Pharaoh Sistare
4:30 p.m. Erin & the Wildfire
6:15 p.m. Sierra Hull
8:00 p.m. Neal Francis

Sunday, May 21

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Justin Golden
2:20 p.m. Cosmic Collective
3:40 p.m. 49 Winchester

Dominion Energy Riverrock is open to the public and is free to all spectators. For event registration and further information about Dominion Energy Riverrock 2023, please visit www.riverrockrva.com.

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Arts & Entertainment

Weinstein JCC hosts 14th annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival January 19-29

This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

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The Weinstein JCC is set to host the 14th Annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival from January 19-29, 2023, as part of the 2022-2023 Arts + Ideas Season. This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

Leslie McGuigan, Director of Cultural Arts for Weinstein JCC, noted that the festival features films based upon various considerations such as awards and nominations, timely subject matter, and input from the film community. “In 2023, five films can be screened in person and two enjoyed virtually,” she said. The schedule of films with a brief synopsis and viewing times, along with information about purchasing tickets for the screenings, can be found here.

A highlight of the festival is the Jan. 22 screening of The Levys of Monticello, a documentary film directed and produced by Steven Pressman. The film focuses on the story of the Levy family’s 89-year ownership and preservation of Monticello and also tells a broader story about anti-Semitism that runs throughout the course of American history, right up to the present day. The film addresses the pivotal role that enslaved people played at Monticello, during both Thomas Jefferson’s and Uriah Levy’s years as owners. There will be a post-film discussion with filmmaker Steven Pressman, who will be joined by Phyllis K. Leffler, Emerita Professor in the Department of History at the University of Virginia.

IN PERSON SCREENINGS

Film: Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen

  • Date: Thurs., Jan. 19 at 6pm [dinner reception and film screening]
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $30 member/$35 nonmember includes pre-show dinner reception

Film: Perfect Strangers

  • Date: Sat., Jan. 21 at 7:30pm
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: The Levys of Monticello

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 22 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of History and Culture 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC and VMHC member/ $12 nonmember

Film: Cinema Sabaya

  • Date: Tues., Jan. 24 at 6:30pm
  • Location: The Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: Valiant Hearts (in partnership with the Virginia Holocaust Museum)

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 29 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC, VHM and VMFA member/$12 nonmember

VIRTUAL SCREENINGS

Film: Berenshtein

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: America

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

For more information about Arts + Ideas programs and to purchase subscription or individual tickets, click here or contact Leslie McGuigan, [email protected].

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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