Double Exhibition at Strawberry Hill House

15 October 2023 to 10 April 2024 Strawberry Hill House & Garden

Showing the past and present of woodcuts - Durer and Christiane Baumgartner

This autumn, two exhibitions at Strawberry Hill House & Garden will give viewers the opportunity to see a range of expert woodcut printmaking, from the German Renaissance to the modern day. The works will be displayed at Strawberry Hill House & Garden (15 October 2023 to 10 April 2024), where centuries earlier Horace Walpole had kept a vast collection of woodcuts and engravings, including over 300 by the German Renaissance master. 

The Devil is in the Detail will display one of the most important series of woodcuts in Albrecht Dürer’s career, the Great Passion, which is rarely seen in its complete set, as well as several other key works from the era. At the same time, There Goes the Sun will show at least 5 works of modern woodcuts by fellow German artist Christiane Baumgartner (b.1967).

The work of Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) has been widely celebrated as a towering achievement in artistic and intellectual merit for the last five centuries. A critical part of his body of work includes the woodcuts of religious imagery that he produced throughout his career, at the dawn of the woodcut tradition. One of the most significant of which is the twelve prints of the Great Passion, that illustrate Dürer’s transition from Gothic-inspired designs to the balanced elegance of the Renaissance. Notably, his innovative inclusion of Latin verses alongside images revolutionised art and text presentation, enriching viewer engagement. The Great Passion series, renowned for its significance, captures key moments from Christ’s life, exemplifying Dürer’s deep connection to religious art and this series will be on display in its entirety courtesy of the Schroder Collection, with each work individually framed. 

Alongside these masterworks will be an exhibition dedicated to the internationally acclaimed artist Christiane Baumgartner. In a career that has seen her work enter major public collections such as the British Museum, the Albertina and the Stadel museum, Baumgartner’s work utilizes the woodcut print-making technique to create new images from photographs and video stills.

She mixes old and new processes, using computer technology to modernize an image before carving it into a wooden panel by hand. A trademark of her work is keeping the lines and scratches of a video image as part of the final result. The exhibition will focus on her portrayal of the setting sun, where she catches the bright circle in its inexorable downward movement through the sky. Its light is sometimes rhythmically reflected on waves, as in Totes Meer (2020), or shining through the foliage of trees and dissolving branches in Contre-jour 3 (2019) and Contre-jour 2 (rouge) (2019). The interest in the end of the day’s light has leant an overtly poetic aspect to Baumgartner’s recent work, where sunsets are both beautiful and tinged with sadness.

The exhibition also pay homage to the historical significance of woodcut printmaking. This medium not only served as an artistic outlet but also played a pivotal role in shaping political and religious narratives. The works of Dürer, Maximilian I, and Martin Luther stand as testaments to the power of woodcuts in conveying messages to a wide audience

Further Information:  House & Garden - Strawberry Hill House & Garden