The art of the 19th and early 20th century is characterized by motivic and stylistic variety at the same time: It ranges from detailed everyday scenes and landscapes created by the brothers Mühlig from Eibenstock to the representative portraits of Franz von Lenbach. On the one hand Max Liebermann offers an impressionist view into his garden in Berlin, on the other hand the paintings of the New Objectivity movement openly criticize the society of the 1920s.
In the middle of the century two inventions revolutionize the art of painting: photography and the development of paints in a tube. The artists’ striving for creating realistic reproductions is taken ad absurdum by the new means of photography. Now is the time to break new ground! For instance paints in a tube mean that artists are able to paint outdoors right in front of their chosen motif. While experiencing how nature is changing during the course of the day, the artists change their style of painting, too as now light, air and atmosphere can be captured in an ephemeral manner – merely by means of the new paint. The path leads from an apparently objective impression to the individual expression, from impressionism to the wealth of forms of art nouveau and is accompanied by pushing existing boundaries of painting.