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International Art Exhibition in Munich (1897)
Founded in 1868, the Münchner Künstlergenossenschaft (Munich Artists’ Association) was the largest professional society for artists in Bavaria. The group was decidedly more liberal and open-minded than other associations of its sort – ironically, it was actually this very openness that eventually led some artists to leave. After juries mounted exhibitions favoring modernist styles – e.g., Naturalism, Impressionism, and Symbolism – at the group’s 1889 and 1891 salons, the association implemented a regulation ensuring that all styles, not just progressive ones, would find a place in future salons. This prompted some of the association’s most forward-looking members to withdraw – or secede – and found their own exhibition organization, the Munich Secession, in 1892. Unlike Wilhlem II of the Prussian Hohenzollerns, Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria (1821-1912), welcomed new impulses in art and supported the Munich Secession by providing financial support, purchasing works, and making public buildings available for group exhibitions. That Munich offered artists a relatively cooperative environment is also evidenced by the poster below, which announces a joint exhibition organized by the Munich Secession and the Münchner Künstlergenossenschaft. Despite the fact that the smaller group had splintered off from the larger one, the two collaborated. The poster was designed by Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) a leading member of the Munich Secession and one of Germany’s most important Symbolist artists. The text reads: “Artists’ Association. Secession. Munich 1897. Under the high protectorate of his Royal Highness, Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria. The 7th International Art Exhibition in the Royal Glass Palace, presented by the Munich Artists’ Association in cooperation with the Secession. From June 1 through the end of October.”