Reverse on glass painting as a technique of the Classical Modern 1905 – 1955

Within the scope of the funding program “Research in Museums” the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover, approved a grant to the Museum Penzberg – Sammlung Campendonk in Penzberg/ Bavaria for the research project “Reverse Glass Painting as a Technique of Classical Modern 1905 – 1955”. For the more than three years-project (2015–2019) Cooperating partners are the Federal Institute for Materials Research and -Testing (BAM) in Berlin, the Doerner Institut of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich and the Conservator for Reverse Paintings on Glass, Simone Bretz.

While the Classical Modern period has already been well studied, art historians have not examined this artistic genre in great depth, even though it was by no means a fringe phenomenon. In the period from 1905 to 1955 the essentially experimental character of reverse on glass painting, a technique borrowed from decorative arts, provided a non-academic realm for individual artistic expression. An opportunity for profound insights into this experimental artistic and painting technique is enabled through this interdisciplinary research between art historians, conservators and scientists. The research presented was also the aim of two dissertations. Diana Oesterle, Museum Penzberg – Sammlung Campendonk, Project Director und Doctoral candidate, addressed the art historical analysis. The doctoral thesis of Dr. Dr. Simon Steger, formerly BAM, Berlin, focused on materials analysis, utilizing a combination of non-invasive mobile devices to determine the pigments and binders of the paints. The website provides long-term information about project results and publications.

Two exhibitions in the Penzberg Museum – Sammlung Campendonk rounded off the research results. In „Tiefenlicht Malerei hinter Glas von August Macke bis Gerhard Richter“ (23.09.2017–04.02.2018), modern reverse paintings on glass were shown, which were examined in the project and the spectrum expanded with art works by contemporary artists. This exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated book.

For the second exhibition „hinter GLAS gemalt. Geheimnisse einer Technik“ (19.12.2020–04.07.2021) the focus was placed on conveying the numerous technical variants of reverse glass painting. Thanks to technological and material-analytical investigations within the research project, exciting insights onto, behind and into the glass paintings were possible, which are rarely the focus of exhibitions. This presentation was accompanied by a catalog as part of the “N.i.Ke. Schriftenreihe des Netzwerks zur interdisziplinären Kulturerhaltung“, published by BAM, Berlin.

Exhibition flyer (click on the image for a larger view)

Exhibition flyer (click on the image for a larger view)