The Montana Museum of Art & Culture’s “Visiting Masterworks” program has brought two rare artworks to the University of Montana campus, according to a UM news release.
The two works of art — Ludwig Meidner's “Self-portrait (Man in a Green Suit)" and Robert Longo's Untitled (“Bob’s Wave”) — will remain at UM through Sept. 6.
They're displayed in the ground-floor lobby of the Harold and Priscilla Gilkey Building, which highlights different moments in 20th century art. “Visiting Masterworks” highlights art by significant historic and contemporary artists on loan from private collections.
Ludwig Meidner’s 1913 self-portrait is done in oil on canvas and comes to UM from a private collection, courtesy Eykyn Maclean.
It "depicts the profound psychological content typical of the German expressionist movement in the first two decades of the 20th century," according to the UM release.
"A painter and printmaker, Meidner was born in Bernstadt, Silesia, now Bierutow in southwest Poland, in 1884. He gained renown in the years after 1912, when he began a series of apocalyptic landscapes that depicted the catastrophic destruction of World War I. Although he was vehemently antiwar, Meidner was drafted into military service in 1915 and served as a French translator."
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Meidner, who was Jewish, experienced "extensive persecution" by the Nazis, losing his teaching position in Berlin and seeing many of his works — labeled “entartete kunst” or “degenerate art” by Nazi Party officials — removed from public display. He fled to Great Britain in 1939, spent three years in an internment camp, and eventually returned to Germany after the war.
Longo's 2018 large-scale charcoal-on-mounted paper drawing of a crashing wave is also courtesy of a private collection.
"Longo, an American born in 1953, began drawing towering waves in 1999, using his signature hyper-realistic technique to transform black-and-white charcoal into thunderous ocean forms. In the late 1990s, Longo was fascinated by phenomena that seem to exist for only an instant, such as crashing waves and atomic explosions," according to the release.
“The shape of a wave is not necessarily dictated by how strong the wind is,” Longo said. “It’s dictated by what’s deep underneath it. It’s like psychoanalysis.”
According to the release: "By drawing these moments in precise detail, Longo aimed to create a sense of beauty in the sublime, yet terrifying, forces of nature. He titled his series of wave drawings 'Monsters' for their intimidating grandeur."
The Montana Museum of Art & Culture is on campus at the corner of Arthur and Eddy avenues.