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Rare and Fine Books: Gifts from Barbara Mackey Kaerwer

October 5, 2017

Professor Barbara Buenger and Lyn Korenic will give an informal talk about the rare and fine books on display on Wednesday, October 11, from 2:00-3:00 pm in the Kohler Art Library.  Gather around the exhibit cases to hear a lively discussion about a scholar’s passion for collecting books and prints and donating them to the UW-Madison. The talk is open to the public.

This exhibit showcases a donor’s private collection of rare and fine books on German and Austrian art published between 1898 and 1950.  Like many art collectors, Kaerwer valued books for their research capacity to document an artist’s life or work, or an artistic period or movement.  The exhibit contains work by members of various artistic groups: Der Blaue Reiter (Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc), Die Brücke (Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff), the Worpswede Colony (Heinrich Vogeler), and the Wiener Werkstätte (Josef Hofmann, Kolomon Moser, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Vally Wieselthier).  It also features work by contemporary artists Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Lovis Corinth and Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel.

Some of the books are limited edition works containing original prints (etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts) and hand-colored pages.  Fine and unusual bindings by members of the Wiener Werkstätte are on view.  In addition to tracing the evolution of art towards abstraction, the books expose social, economic, and political changes taking place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  A medley of exhibition catalogs, oeuvre catalogs, autobiographies, children’s books, and contemporary literature, these publications disseminated the work of avant-garde artists to a cosmopolitan audience.

Barbara Mackey Kaerwer donated over 1000 books from her collection to the Kohler Art Library.  Her generous gifts will benefit students and scholars for generations to come.

Kandinsky, Wassily. Klänge. München: R. Piper & Co., [1912].
The exhibit runs from September 1 – October 31, 2017

Also currently on view in the Chazen Museum of Art:  German Expressionist Prints: Barbara Mackey Kaerwer’s Legacy