Johannes Muggenthaler

Johannes Muggenthaler’s goal in this exhibition was to approach the cultural mentality of Munich a century ago. For the artist, this state of mind is best embodied by the painter Gabriel von Max. Muggenthaler chose von Max as representative of this particular mindset because of the older artist’s bent for spiritism and Darwinism. It is almost as if Muggenthaler were claiming to have an outsider position similar to von Max’s with regard to his contemporaries.

This exhibition honors von Max on one level by including his bizarre, enigmatic paintings almost casually among Muggenthaler’s own works. Anthropologischer Unterricht (Anthropology lesson, 1890) shows a monkey child and a monkey mother holding in her lap a doll-like little girl. In this work, the painter wants to sum up millions of years of human history as a model for further discussion of the mystery, the incomprehensibility of nature.

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