We walk along Domstraße in the direction of Merseburg Cathedral and discover the Willi-Sitte-Galerie. The Förderkreis Willi-Sitte-Galerie e.V. has been running an art gallery here for several years, which not only shows works by Sitte, but also special exhibitions by other artists.
Who was Willi Sitte?
I admit, I too first found out who Sitte was before we visited the gallery. Here is a brief description of the artist.
Willi Sitte (1921-2013) first learned to be a textile pattern drawer at the art school of the North Bohemian Museum of Trades in Reichenberg from 1936. He later served in the Second World War, but deserted in 1944 and joined the Italian partisans. His seven-part dance of death cycle Danza funebre del terzo Reich was created during this time.
Later Willi Sitte lived in Halle, where he joined the SED in 1947. He taught at the Burg Giebichstein art academy, but did not make friends everywhere when he called for the independence of cultural functionaries.
From 1964 onwards, Sitte was actively involved in politics. Artistically, he moved in the field of socialist realism. Despite growing political responsibilities, he continued to work as a painter and university lecturer. He is considered one of the most important painters of the GDR. After reunification, Willi Sitte had a difficult time in the art world; his political commitment was a thorn in the side of many critics.
The Willi Sitte Gallery opened in Merseburg on his 85th birthday.
Visit to the Willi Sitte Gallery
When you enter the gallery, you stand in bright, very friendly rooms. During our visit, there were three independent exhibitions that impressed me very much (2 special exhibitions, 1 permanent exhibition).
The special exhibitions change about 3-4 times a year. I particularly liked the fact that the exhibition “Legendary – Merseburg” presented works by female artists from the region. All of them dealt with Merseburg’s history using very different stylistic means. For me, it was a great insight into the stories, legends and myths of the city.
The second special exhibition showed paintings by Wiebke Wilms, Mads Dahl Pedersen and Lutz Bolldorf and was entitled “No coincidence”. The three artists could not be more different in their execution. Nevertheless, the compilation produced a coherent picture.
The focus of the exhibition in the gallery is, of course, works by Willi Sitte. Here, the works on display change annually and are arranged around certain themes. When we visited the gallery, we discovered “Early Pictures” by Sitte. The pictures date from around 1950-60 and were created after Sitte’s return to Germany.
I find it particularly striking that many pictures are very reminiscent of Picasso’s works. Only his later paintings show that Willi Sitte gradually developed his own style and broke away from Picasso’s influence.
I was very impressed by the art exhibition. Many thanks to the informative and varied guided tour.
Wednesday, Thursday: 12-16 h
Friday – Sunday: 12-17 h
Monday, Tuesday closed
Discounts are offered.
Disclosure: The visit to the gallery was part of our blogger trip to Merseburg. The report was written independently and reflects our opinion.