German Expressionist Show Opens at the WAG

In 2009 the Winnipeg Art Gallery received a major donation of 200 works of art from the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation. Now a large selection of them will be on view in Storm and Spirit: The Eckhardt-Gramatté Collection of German Expressionist Art, the final exhibition of the WAG’s Centennial year. The exhibition opens on September 20, with a public opening at 6:45, September 28 as part of Nuit Blanche. It continues until December 8.

Seventy of the eighty-eight works on display were originally owned by Dr. Ferdinand Eckhardt, WAG Director from 1953 to 1974, and his wife, composer and musician Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté. He established the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation in 1982 to increase public awareness of the artistic contributions of his wife and her first husband, German Expressionist artist Walter Gramatté.

“Shortly after my arrival at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2008, I met with members of the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation to discuss the collection of German Expressionist art assembled by former WAG Director Dr. Ferdinand Eckhardt and his wife Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté,” says Stephen Borys, Director & CEO. “It was my goal to acquire this important collection for the Gallery and in the following year we were thrilled to receive the gift of 200 hundred paintings, watercolours, prints, and drawings from the Foundation.” 

German Expressionism was a modern artistic movement borne of rebellious disenchantment with the existing order. It came to designate a wide range of attitudes and artistic practices fostered by individuals and groups working, for the most part, in Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Berlin before and after World War I. Artists created imagery that emphasized emotional frankness over technical proficiency, distortion over naturalism. Their aim was to alarm rather than confirm aesthetic expectations as a means of highlighting and undermining what was regarded as the crass, complacent, and corrupt materialism of Europe’s establishment.

Storm and Spirit pays tribute to the heart of the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation’s generous gift, its holdings of German and Austrian Expressionist art,” says Andrew Kear, Curator of Historical Canadian Art. “The exhibition includes works by Walter Gramatté, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, and Emil Nolde. The scope of the show has been broadened by a selection of graphic works by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and others, generously loaned by the National Gallery of Canada and the McMaster Museum of Art.

Storm and Spirit: The Eckhardt-Gramatté Collection of German Expressionist Art is supported by the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Toronto. 

Supporting this exhibition will be guided tours, videos, a concert of the music of Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté, and a symposium on German Expressionism.

Related Programs

Free Public Opening • 6:45pm, Sat, Sept 28

Drop-in Tours • 2pm • Oct 6, 20, 27 / Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24 / Dec. 1, 8

Art for Lunch  • 12:10pm
Oct 23 • Degenerate Art—The Nazis vs. Expressionism (video)    
Oct 30 •  Exhibition tour with Curator Andrew Kear

Art Eats • 6pm, Oct 24 and Nov 21 • Dinner at Storm Bistro followed by a private exhibition tour.  

An Evening with Sonia: Eckhardt-Gramatté’s Complete Works for Violin and Piano Duo • 7:30pm, Nov. 14

Storm and Spirit: Symposium on German Expressionist Art • Nov 15 • An international conference exploring German Expressionism from 1900-1925.


For more information, contact:
Debra Fehr, Manager, Communications and Marketing, 204.787.1767,
Heather Mousseau, Communications Coordinator, 204,786.6641, x 211,




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