Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and the Albertina in Vienna, this touring international loan exhibition focuses on the Biedermeier period in Central Europe from 1815 to 1830. It brings together for the first time almost 300 outstanding examples of German, Austrian and Czechoslovakian paintings, furniture, related decorative arts and works on paper that document in depth the innovative character of the period and demonstrate how it is a precursor to modernism.
The term "Biedermeier" is actually the name of a fictional character-Gottlieb Biedermaier-who came to life in the 1840s in a Munich weekly satirical magazine. This "god-loving everyman" represented the typical German citizen, more interested in a comfortable home and a convivial family than political activism. What began as an intellectual critique soon developed into a new model for living. Biedermaier's name, slightly altered, and his orderly, frugal and simplistic view of the world became synonymous with this period in German culture by the end of the century. The tendency was to pare forms to their essentials, merging the useful with the beautiful. Eighteenth-century gilding and frills were stripped away in favor of the natural beauty of materials and shapes.
Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity will travel to the Louvre in Paris.
Deutsches Historisches Museum Web Site