The Sammlung Kunst der Westküste includes Danish, German, Dutch and Norwegian art from 1830 to 1930. Currently comprising some 500 works, the collection offers a multi-faceted look at coastal living environments and conveys a fascination with the sea in an impressive panorama of subjects ranging from Bergen in the Netherlands to Bergen in southern Norway. Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Max Beckmann, Johan Christian Dahl, Peder Severin Krøyer, Christian Krohg, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch are among the major 19th and 20th century Scandinavian and German artists included in the collection, while Dutch painting is prominently represented by the romanticist Andreas Schelfhout and leading exponents of the Hague School such as Jozef Israels and Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Also among the holdings are works by Johan Barthold Jongkind and Eugène Boudin, who are regarded as precursors of impressionism and were of central importance to the development of European landscape painting in the 19th century. Early works by Piet Mondrian point to the impressionist beginnings of this artist who ranks among the pioneers of abstract painting in the 20th century. Finally, a main focus of the collection is North Frisian painting, which is represented by two of its premier practitioners, Otto Heinrich Engel and Hans Peter Feddersen.
The exhibition of parts of these extensive holdings calls for a very careful selection of works in order to adequately reflect both the art historical canon and the country-specific aspects of the four-nation collection. Any presentation of the collection has to ask itself to what extent it is representative. The current presentation aims to highlight the stylistic transition from romanticism to expressionism. Rather than attempting to offer a harmonious overall picture, it relies on the diversity of subjects and genres. To this end, new acquisitions of the past four years are assembled and at the same time works are shown that have never before seen the light of the museum’s galleries. In addition, familiar and pivotal artistic approaches within the collection are exemplified by works that are part and parcel of any presentation.