JEWELS - Gems and Little Treasures

31st Ocotber 2020 until 30th January 2021

Extended until 27th March 2021

Invitation card (PDF)

Online Catalogue (PDF)

VR tour through the exhibition

  • Kirchner Holzfigur am Fenster a 01

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    Mädchenkopf mit Holzfigur am Fenster (Girl's Head with a Wooden Sculpture at the Window)
    Oil on canvas, 1919-20.
    60 x 49 cm.
    Item Id: 64098



  • Kirchner 1928 1G G0920 Reiterin 01

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    Reiterin mit gestürtzem Pferd (Rider with Fallen Horse)
    Oil on canvas, 1928-29.
    50 x 70 cm.
    Item Id: 64102




  • Kirchner im Stadion 02

    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    Drei nackte junge Männer (Three Nude Men)
    Oil on canvas, 1932/36.
    65 x 50 cm.
    Item Id: 75337

  • Schultze 1997 2A Ragaz I 01

    Bernard Schultze
    Ragaz I
    Watercolour on paper 1997.
    41 x 32 cm.
    Item Id: 67022



  • Spoerri Assemblage 1992 8PL Sevilla Serie 32 Nachtisch 02

    Daniel Spoerri
    Sevilla-Serie No 32. Sevilla, Schweizer Pavillon, 21 February 1992.
    Assemblage 1992.
    62,5 x 80 x 40 cm.
    Item Id. 74189



  • 86066 01

    Giovanni Manfredini
    Estasi. Extase.
    Mixed media on canvas 2009.
    40 x 40 cm.
    Item Id: 77238





JEWELS - Gems and Little Treasures

31st Ocotber 2020 until 30th January 2021

Bigger, wider, higher, more monumental, more gigantic - it seems that nowadays in art such superlatives are primarily striven for. But even in smaller formats, everything can be contained that makes up a large-format work. The "small" can be inconspicuous and unobtrusive, but at the same time exquisite and precious. The word "gem" (in German: "Kleinod") has its origins in the 16th century and has developed over time in its meaning from the original description of something small to something special. The Grimm brothers defined "gem" in their dictionary of 1854 as something "artistically worked", followed by the further development of the word to "treasure", the word was also used as a synonym for "victory prize, a gift of honor to the winner" and last but not least it describes "things of the highest value, of rarity, which are recognized by all as priceless, irreplaceable goods".[1] Thus, the peculiarity of small-format works is definitely that they create a certain intimacy with the viewer, they demand precise inspection and proximity. There are, however, no limits to the manifold forms of expression; and this is what we want to discover in our exhibition.

At the origins of art history, graphic works and drawings were primarily produced in small formats, for example, ex libris, small-format prints that were glued into the covers of books at the end of the 15th century. The ex libris were considered to be intimate and small features to which Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and other important artists of the time also devoted themselves in the 16th century. Over the centuries, printmaking changed from a quick means of reproduction to an independent means of artistic expression. This is shown in our exhibition in particular by woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs by the "Brücke" artists, who belong to the fundamental phenomena of modernism and are unique for our cultural memory not only because of their special qualities, their great influence on Expressionist painting and sculpture and their picture-defining expressiveness but also because of the extent to which this phenomenon is singular.

Drawings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner show, even in the smallest format, the artist's virtuosity in capturing movements and expressions with just a few strokes. Among the highlights of the exhibition are three paintings by Kirchner that have never before been shown in Riehen. "Three naked young Men" and "Rider with a fallen Horse" were created in the late 1920s and early 1930s, respectively, a time when Kirchner set out to reinvent himself. The lines and surfaces in both paintings do not clearly distinguish bodies and objects from one another; some lines continue from one body to the next, other lines can be assigned to one or the other body at the same time, depending on the perspective. The lines are multiplied and show bodies in motion, also the color becomes independent of the object: body parts are connected to other body parts by light or shadow fields to create new non-representational forms. Thus, it can neither be clearly determined where a body or object begins nor where it ends.

Kirchner was concerned with the same questions that moved other artists of his time: In Cubism, the body is shown on the surface in several perspectives at the same time; in Purism, which strives for a minimum of means, the lines serve as a boundary for several objects simultaneously.

The genre of sculpture is represented by object assemblages by Daniel Spoerri (*1930) and Jürgen Brodwolf (*1932) as well as by book sculptures by the artist duo Kubach-Wilmsen. While Daniel Spoerri assembles objets trouvés to form a 15 cm "large" symbolization of a figure of speech, the artist duo shows a paperback book, handbook, or even an entire book tower of realistic size; the weight alone turns the books into "heavy fare". Jürgen Brodwolf, who lives in Kandern, installs and stages his tube figure in numerous variations. For example, in an installation of the same name with 18 cm tall tube figures or even as protagonists in fine red chalk drawings from 2018/19. The "figure boxes", in which tube figures or lead figures are surrounded, sitting or standing, by the most diverse found objects, were created primarily in the late 1960s and 1970s. With the tube figure, Brodwolf has developed an artistic symbol that can be used and combined in a variety of ways and allows for corresponding interpretation possibilities.

At not more than 24 cm high and 18 cm wide, a whole series of small-format analogue photographs by the contemporary Spanish artist Darío Basso (*1966) can be admired. The detailed views of various flowers and plants were subsequently reworked by the artist with watercolors, and thus each one forms a colorful unique specimen, which despite its size attracts attention even from a distance. The abstract watercolors by Bernard Schultze (1915-2005) from the series "Ragaz" also offer special color features. Both Schultze and Günther Gumpert (1919-2019), who is represented in the exhibition with three works, are assigned to the Informel style, which describes abstract, in the sense of non-geometric, non-representational art in the European post-war years.

In contrast to the colorful works are the square paintings by Giovanni Manfredini (*1963) from the series "Estasi" with the depiction of a floating round figure in black and white only. In contrast to the small formats of sometimes only 25 x 25 cm, the depiction strongly reminds one of a moon, a body in the universe, of something far away, intangible. The chiaroscuro effect gives the works all the more a dreamlike image that fires the viewer's imagination.

You are cordially invited to approach the different "Gems and Little Treasures" in the exhibition, to explore them in an intimate exchange, and to enjoy the fine details. The variety of artists and techniques is intended to show you how detailed, precise, exciting and at the same time imposing and enormous small formats can be.


Katharina Sagel
(Translated by Uli Nickel)


[1] Deutsches Wörterbuch (German Dictionary) by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. 16 volumes in 32 sub-volumes. Leipzig 1854-1961. Source materials Leipzig 1971. Vol. 11, column 1121  1129.


Galerie Henze & Ketterer
Kirchstrasse 26, CH 3114 Wichtrach
Tel. +41 (0)31 781 06 01
modernart (at) henze-ketterer.com
Galerie Henze & Ketterer & Triebold
Wettsteinstrasse 4, CH 4125 Riehen
Tel. +41 (0)61 641 77 77
ghkt (at) artgalleries.ch