Spanning the years from the 18th and 19th centuries to the 1960s and 70s, the prints reveal the traumatic changes and turbulence in Germany and the effects upon its artists. In her bequest of 2012, Mrs. Kainen (1922-2009) gave the National Gallery almost 800 works of art.
In the 1960s she started her German collection which begins with the 15th century, and it was conversation about one of the artists, Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, according to her obituary in the Washington Post on September 26, 2009, which introduced her to her future husband, Jacob Kainen(1909-2001). Mr. Kainen was also an artist and internationally known curator who helped build and manage the print collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Mrs. Kainen, a native of Rosboro, Arkansas, served in the Navy WAVES during World War II. In 1958 she arrived in Washington to work as a fundraiser for the National Symphony Orchestra.
The current presentation, one of three devoted to the Kainens' gifts of almost 1,300 art works to the National Gallery, links the past with the present, Germany Romanticism with impressionism with German expressionism, said Earl A. Powell, III, the Gallery's director.
Prominence is given to prints and drawings by Ernest Ludwig Kirchner(1880-1938), Egan Schiele (1890-1918), Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948),Walter Gramatte (1897-1929), Ludwig Meidner (1884-1966) and Wilhem Morgner (1891-1917).
Andrew Robison, the National Gallery's Andrew W. Mellon senior curator of prints and drawings who curated the show, said he traveled the world to find the best Kirchners which were only a few miles away, at the Kainens'.
What: Modern German Prints and Drawings from the Kainen Collection
When: Ends Sunday, June 29, 2014 when the National Gallery is open 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: Ground Floor, West Building, National Gallery of Art, between Third and Ninth streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. On the Mall.
Admission: No charge
Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives, or L'Enfant Plaza
For more information: 202-737-4215