The group of Classical Modern works in the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, which was established in 1977 with the purchase of a painting by Willi Baumeister, includes mainly painting, but also sculpture, wall objects and graphic art. They present an image of the development of art to the 1960s, drawing mainly on south-west Germany.
The Classical : Modern I exhibition follows four principal lines. First come about 30 works showing the progress of the Stuttgart Hölzel circle. A second line of argument explores aspects of monochrome work and color-field painting dating from 1950 to 1994 in monographic groups of works by Adolf Fleischmann, Rupprecht Geiger, Josef Albers and large-format individual works by Günter Fruhtrunk. The third main strand is devoted to examples of constructive and concrete art. One further aspect addressed by the exhibition follows the principle of various Mercedes-Benz Art Collection exhibitions, which is to place Classical Modern works and pieces by post-war avant-garde artists in a dialogue with works of contemporary art. So for example we have tied current works by Reyle, Rockenschaub, Hiepler, Gillick and Monk, who can be related in different ways to the formal vocabulary and analytical pictorial concepts of the classical artist, into the context of constructive and concrete art. By consistently expanding these abstract-constructive and minimalist positions and developing focal points systematically in terms of content, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has established a clear profile with a sound art-historical basis.