Exhibition «Canto d'amore»

«Canto d'amore. Classicist modernism in art and music, 1914-1935»
Basel Kunstmuseum in conjunction with the Paul Sacher Foundation
27 April to 11 August 1996


This exhibition gathered together a rich series of select masterpieces in order to examine parallelisms of «classicist modernism» in music and the visual arts and to reveal the close ties in their fondness for ancient myth, commedia dell'arte, and rural idylls. Among the basic traits it illustrates are their shared tendencies toward simplicity and clarity of style, a noticeable bond with tradition, and close links with the contemporary avantgarde. Thus, such leading lights of the avantgarde as Stravinsky and Picasso were likewise central figures in a new neo-classical movement permeated by the experience of modernism. The collaborations of these two towering geniuses are examined no less thoroughly than those between Giorgio de Chirico and Alfredo Casella. Further, manuscripts from the Sacher Foundation and other major musical archives were combined with paintings and sculpture from leading international museums and private collections to depict painters, sculptors, and composers as varied as Bonnard, Maillol, Matisse, Mondrian, Klee, Hindemith, Honegger, Milhaud, Satie, and Schoenberg, revealing them to be representatives of one of the most vital periods in twentieth-century art.

Catalogue: «Canto d'amore. Classicist modernism in art and music, 1914-1935», edited by Gottfried Boehm, Ulrich Mosch, and Katharina Schmidt (Berne: Benteli, 1996), 534 pp.

English and French editions:
«Canto d'amore. Classicism in Modern Art and Music 1914–1935» (London: Merrell Holberton Publishers, 1996); «Canto d'amore. Modernité et classicisme dans la musique et les beaux-arts entre 1914 et 1935» (Paris: Flammarion, 1996).