Willi Sitte: The Retrospective
There is no more predestined location than the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale) for this exhibition! On the one hand, Willi Sitte spent most of his life in the city on the Saale, and on the other, with its 2017/18 collection presentation Paths of Modernism. Art in Germany in the 20th Century, the museum demonstrates how a factual and objective presentation can successfully contribute to the discussion of art in the GDR.
The exhibition extends over two levels in the entire west wing of the Moritzburg. On the first floor, the actual retrospective presentation of the entire œuvre takes place on approx. 1100 sqm. A largely chronological parcours is divided into thematic clusters. A central space is taken up by the works of the 1940s to 1960s, which were the decisive years of Willi Sitte's development – both artistically and in his relationship to the state and the party.
The large exhibition space on the 2nd floor will bring together a dozen of the artist's large-format programme paintings from the 1950s to the 1980s, works such as:
- Der Untergang der Napoleonischen Armee in der Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig 1813 (The Fall of the Napoleonic Army at the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig 1813), 1956
- Der Kampf der Thälmann-Brigade in Spanien (The Fight of the Thälmann Brigade in Spain), 1958
- Memento Stalingrad, 1961
- Die Überlebenden (The Survivors), 1963
- Leuna 1921, 1965
- Leuna 1969, 1968
- Der Höllensturz in Vietnam (The War in Heaven in Vietnam), 1966/67
- Mensch, Ritter, Tod und Teufel (Man, Knight, Death and Devil), 1969/70
- Sie wollten nur Schreiben und Lesen lehren (They only wanted to teach writing and reading), 1985
In another segment between the two parts of the exhibition, the cultural politician Willi Sitte as president of the Verband Bildender Künstler (Association of Visual Artists) is presented for discovery and discussion on an area of approx. 200 square metres with the help of historical documents and media stations.
The exhibition considers itself decidedly a part of the reappraisal of the art and cultural system in the GDR. Thus, 30 years after reunification, the project represents an important contribution to coming to terms with Willi Sitte's art, which was apostrophised as state art.
On the basis of representative works from public and private collections in Germany and abroad, Sitte's development in the sense of Socialist Realism as well as in contradiction to it becomes visible. The works on display are based on the representative collection of the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle (Saale), works from the artist's estate and important loans from the Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig.
With the friendly support of
Willi Sitte: The Retrospective
03.10.2021 — 09.01.2022
Thomas Bauer-Friedrich and Dr. Paul Kaiser, Dresden, with the collaboration Dr. Eckhart Gillen, Berlin, and Dr. Dorit Litt, Bonn
The exhibition will be on view in an adapted version at the Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, the Netherlands, in 2023.