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


Within the scope of the funding program “Research in Museums” the VolkswagenFoundation, Hannover, has approved support for the Museum Penzberg - Sammlung Campendonk and the research project “Reverse on glass painting as a technique of the Classical Modern 1905-1955”, together with the cooperating partners BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and -Testing, Berlin and Doerner Institut, Munich. The three year project has commenced in October 2015.

Intended as inspiration, the technique of reverse painting on glass was introduced by Gabriele Münter in 1908/09 to a group of artists that, through their exhibitions and almanac, would later become famous as the “Blaue Reiter”. From this group the technique spread further: August Macke brought it back from Bavaria to the Rheinisch Expressionists. The Berlin Avantgarde gallery “Der Sturm” became another focal point, as did the Bauhaus.

„Shepherd“, August Macke, about 1912,
private collection (image: © Michael Aust)

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 -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.

Research team: