Mies in Berlin is the first in-depth look at the early career of architect
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (German, 1886-1969). The exhibition and an
accompanying publication will examine Mies's architectural work from the
time he arrived in Berlin in 1905 and established his architectural practice
there in 1913, until his emigration to the United States in 1938.
Mies is best known today as the leading and most influential exponent of
the refined glass-and-steel architecture of mid-20th-century architecture
in America and abroad. The focus of this exhibition is on the aspects of
Mies's early work that are most related to Europe and to Berlin as a
specific architectural and cultural landscape, traditionally have been
neglected in considering Mies as an International Style architect. In
Berlin, Mies was influenced by Peter Behrens, Germany's most
progressive architect of the time, and Behrens's emulation of the pure,
bold, and simple Neoclassic forms of the early 19th-century German
architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
Mies in Berlin examines the architect's more traditional work alongside
his avant-garde projects and stresses the site-specific qualities of his
works to demonstrate that his German work is not merely a prelude to a
more mature phase of his career in America. By asserting a more
continuous and complex evolution of the architect's design methods - his
theories of nature, materials, and modern space and dwelling - the
exhibition invites a reconsideration of a key figure of the modern
Highlights of the exhibition:
275 original drawings from major collections around the world, with
the largest number coming from the Mies van der Rohe Archive at
The Museum of Modern Art.
Many drawings that have rarely been exhibited, including the
recently rediscovered large-scale competition proposal for a
monument to Otto von Bismarck. This full-color, 5-foot-by-8-foot
courtyard perspective from 1910 has never been seen in a major
14 new scale models, in addition to the architect's own model of
the Tugendhat House, emphasizing context and landscape in
Mies's early designs. Video and digital models further enhance the
viewer's understanding of the relationship between his
architecture, interiors, and the landscape.
Presentation renderings by Mies's acknowledged masters - Karl
Friedrich Schinkel, Peter Behrens, and Henrik Berlage - are shown
alongside his work for the first time to trace the principal
influences on his architectural development and on his large-scale,
full-color rendering techniques.
Original paintings, sculpture, drawings, and film that were featured
in G, the journal that Mies directed and that show his
involvement in the avant-garde artistic movements in Berlin in the
New color and black-and-white photography by Kay Fingerle,
documenting all of Mies's extant works, including those located in
the former East Germany, some of which have recently been
restored or made easily accessible for the first time.
New large-scale digitally manipulated photos by Thomas Ruff that
serve as a visual essay on Mies's early work and challenge
long-held assumptions about the architect.
Concurrently, Mies in America - a comprehensive survey of the
architect's work from the time he reestablished his practice in Chicago in
1938 until his death in 1969, organized by the Canadian Centre for
Architecture - will be shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New
York, from June 21 to September 22, 2001.