Current Exhibitions

Leonhard Kern and Europe
The Imperial Treasury, Vienna and the Würth Collection

until 3 October 2021, extended until 28 November 2021

The Imperial Treasury, Vienna, initiated by the Habsburgs and expanded to a degree of incomparable splendour is one of the most spectacular collections of its kind in the world. Among its highlights are the stunning sculptures by the Baroque sculptor Leonhard Kern (1588–1662). Kern ran a highly productive and influential workshop in Schwäbisch Hall which supplied Europe’s royal cabinets of curiosities.

Ivory sculptures, bronzes and 17th century paintings transport us to a world where collecting objects of the greatest craftsmanship and refinement became a symbol of political power. The Baroque Era is also the era of the Thirty Years’ War, when money for large sculptures had become scarce. This gave rise to a boom for the so-called ‘little masters’, who were able to satisfy their clients’ need for prestige in the most artistic way, and in worry-stone dimensions.

Art of this kind is also one of the special attractions of the Würth Collection. Some of its exquisite small sculptures, for example, the Parisian Laocoon Group from the Carl von Rothschild Collection in Frankfurt, long thought to have been lost, were by Leonhard Kern. The exhibition brings together for the first time the outstanding Kern-holdings from the Viennese and the Würth collections and in doing so throws light on the life and work of this exceptional artist and illustrates his important place in art history.

While studying in Rome, Kern became a virtuoso in working after the living model. The intense dialogue he also engaged in with his predecessors and contemporaries is substantiated in the exhibition in the form of works by veritable Italian stars of the period between Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque, such as Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506), Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi aka Antico (c. 1460–1528), the workshop of Giovanni Bologna aka Giambologna (1529–1608), Hans von Aachen (1552–1615) or Georg Petel (1601/2–1634). The artist from Hohenlohe shared their interest in works of classical Antiquity and, when it came to their spectacularly graphic inventiveness, worked confidently and on a par with them.

Parallel to this exhibition, the Hällisch-Fränkische Museum, also supported by outstanding works on loan, will highlight Leonhard Kern’s work in Schwäbisch Hall in the context of the Thirty Years’ War.

At the Kunsthalle Würth, examples of European Art of the 20th and 21st centuries from the Würth Collection will facilitate a complementary reflection on the remarkably timeless modernity of Leonhard Kern and on the artistic approaches prevalent in his day. Works by Pablo Picasso, Georg Baselitz, Alfred Hrdlicka, Fernando Botero and others invite visitors to compare and contrast unreservedly. They also offer an opportunity to view the Baroque artist from a widened contemporary angle.

360° Virtual Tour

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Dialogue between Leonhard Kern and …

Hans von Aachen • Pier Jacopo Alari de Bonacolsi, genannt Antico • Johann Jakob Betzold • Giovanni Bologna • Ignaz Elhafen • Furienmeister • Justus Glesker • Antoni Goubau • Balthasar Herold • Michael Kern • Adam Lenckhardt • Andrea Mantegna • Martin van Meytens d. J. • Mario Minniti • Georg Petel • Anton Joseph von Prenner • Georg Schweigger • Johann Daniel Sommer • Frans van Stampart • Giovanni Francesco Susini • Justus Sustermans • Alessandro Turchi, gen. L’Orbetto

Karl-Heinz Adler • Josef Albers • Siegfried Anzinger • Jean (Hans) Arp • Stephan Balkenhol • Georg Baselitz • Max Bill • Fernando Botero • Holger Bunk • Anthony Caro • Sandro Chia • Carlos Cruz-Diez • DDiArte • Tim Ernst • Karl Gerstner • Alberto Gironella • Alfred Haberpointner • Albrecht von Hancke • Rudolf Hausner • K. H. Hödicke • Alfred Hrdlicka • Patrick Hughes • Johannes Hüppi • Julius Kaesdorf • Alex Katz • Anselm Kiefer • Käthe Kollwitz • Thomas Lange • Wilhelm Link • Markus Lüpertz • Franz von Matsch • Georg Merkel • Henry Moore • Edvard Munch • Jan van Munster • Pablo Picasso • Attilio Pierelli • Marc Quinn • Adolfo Riestra • Nadin Maria Rüfenacht • Peter Sengl • Jesús Rafael Soto • Volker Stelzmann • Norbert Tadeusz • Wilhelm Thöny • Tomi Ungerer • Victor Vasarely • Ben Willikens • Lambert Maria Wintersberger • Rainer Wölzl