The Practical and the Ideal
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld
– 14 October 2018
On the occasion of the 150th birthday of the artist, designer, and architect Peter Behrens, the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld is showing a monographic exhibition of Behrens’s work for the first time.
The exhibition includes 250 works, including posters, typography, and photographs, advertising graphics and woodcuts as well as books and catalogues. The exhibition follows Behrens’s path from an art deco artist to a pioneer of modern advertising and industrial design, focusing in particular on typeface and book design as well as his corporate designs for companies such as Delmenhorster Ankerwerke and AEG in Berlin. The collection also contains a 150-page correspondence between Behrens and the founding director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Friedrich Deneken. He was a representative of the reform movement in Germany and open to the ideas and suggestions of the aspiring artist, whose aim was to bring about an artistic change around 1900, a time of upheaval, by harmonising “the practical and the ideal”. In collaboration with Deneken, he combined art with lifestyle and made significant contributions to the early concept of the German Museum of Art in Industry, founded in 1897.
The students of the Peter Behrens School of Arts in Düsseldorf contributed to the exhibition architecture and graphic design. “Peter Behrens. The Practical and the Ideal” was developed in collaboration with MAK Köln and the LVR Industriemuseum in Oberhausen, which will also be showing the exhibition with an expanded focus in March and April next year. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication on Behrens by Kettler Verlag.