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The PAN Publication – A Graphic Arts Time Capsule – Europe 1895-1900

The PAN Publication – A Graphic Arts Time Capsule – Europe 1895-1900 Claimed

Graphic Works by French, Dutch, Belgian, German, English, and Swedish artists including Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac, Seurat; Van de Velde; Rops; Kollwitz, Behrens; Nicholson, Rothenstein, Pennell; Anders Zorn, among many others

Exhibition Overview

The PAN Publication – A Graphic Arts Time Capsule – Europe 1895-1900

Exhibition Type
Area Size
200 to 500 sqm
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Museums and Galleries
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For a 3-month rental excl. transport, installation, insurance:
15 000 € - 50 000 €

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Core Experience
Original collection
Exhibition Partners
Organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions in association with Denenberg Fine Arts



While many of the prints in PAN may be familiar to a large number of collectors and scholars, it is unusual that this highly important document of the turbulence between avant-garde and conservative artists in fin-de-siècle Europe should not have had a serious exhibition in the United States in the one hundred and fourteen years since its original publication in 1895. PAN, the important German five-volume Art Nouveau periodical, is replete with plates, illustrations, color initials, vignettes and tail-pieces representing a multitude of processes of modern picture reproduction, including original lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts, and other original and near-original processes in black and white or full color. The name PAN was taken from the ancient God of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music: his goat-like head, with horns and beard, like a faun or satyr– virile, connected to fertility and the season of spring– was the logo of the venture. Also, the Greek origin of the term is “ALL”—and indeed, the group of 30-something German intellectuals, art historians, and cultural observers who embarked in 1895 upon one of the milestones of publishing in the graphic arts aspired to a pan-European reach. Thus in PAN we are privileged to view a collection of brilliant graphic works by such French, Dutch, Belgian, German, English, and Swedish artists as Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac, and Seurat; Van de Velde; Rops; Kollwitz and Behrens; Nicholson, Rothenstein, and Pennell; and Anders Zorn, among many others. PAN’s literary contributers included such figures as Nietzsche, Novalis, Mallarmé, Maeterlinck, Ibsen, and Verlaine. It is a particular merit of this first extensive exhibition of PAN to discover the brilliance of original prints by less well known contributors such as Walter Leistikow, Hans Thoma, Wilhelm Volz, Otto Eckmann, Eugen Kirchner, and Albert Krüger. The exhibition is enriched with elucidating commentaries on the plates by the distinguished Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Robert Flynn Johnson; together with a cultural overview by Peter Frank, Senior Curator, Riverside Museum and Editor, THE Magazine, Los Angeles, together with an excerpt from a forthcoming book on the subject by Victoria Martino, independent curator and art historian. The exhibition was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, in association with Denenberg Fine Arts, West Hollywood, CA.

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Museum standard lighting, climate and security controls.


Past and Future Venues
October 1, 2009 - January 23, 2010
Cal State University
San Bernardino, CA

January 29 - April 10
Appleton Museum of Art
Ocala, FL

May 21 - September 11
The Frick
Pittsburgh, PA


September 15, 2012 - January 7, 2013
Taubman Museum
Roanoke, VA

August 18 - October 19
Wright Museum of Art
Beloit College
Beloit, WI

November 7 - January 11, 2015
Plattsburgh State Museum
Plattsburgh, NY

February 21 - May 10
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, WA

June 4 - August 23
Citadelle Art Foundation
Canadian, TX

October 29, 2016 - March 5, 2017
Catalina Island Museum
Avalon, CA

April 15 - June 15
HIstoric City Hall
Lake Charles, LA

April 4- August 8
Driehaus Museum
Chicago, IL

Extra Info

Curatorial excellence
Highlights Details
“We have not chosen to follow the taste of everybody, but to follow the taste of a few people who have been at the forefront of thought and of investigation, and we have assumed that everybody else would follow along in time—and they have.”
- A. Hyatt Mayor

Although history is messy, after historians have done their work the same slice of time often becomes altogether too tidy-- presumed “winners” in culture, science, politics, and war on placed pedestals, and everyone else thrust into the shadows of time.

The late Robert Rosenblum knew this all too well when in 2000 he organized the Guggenheim Museum’s provocative and highly controversial exhibition 1900: Art at the Crossroads. The exhibition consisted of two hundred and fifty paintings and sculptures, all created in the first year of the last century by the leading artists of that era from around the world. It was made clear by the exhibition that the works were created in a multitude of styles and contained a vast array of subject matter. Some of the artists on display were considered art historical giants: Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian. Others, like Eugene Carriere, Ignacio Zuloaga, and Eugene Jansson were underappreciated masters that deserved greater recognition. And there were works by artists such as Leon Frederic and Antonio Teixeira Carneiro, so stunningly bad that we must wonder how they ever received their earlier acclaim.

Rosenblum’s exhibition was attacked for not being restricted to significant artists of that era. Instead, his choices demonstrated a broad cultural framework of the period, with the result that the era appeared culturally messy, forcing its contemporary audience to “work” to understand the larger context of art of the time that was the concept of the exhibition: good art history, bad show business.

Our exhibition, which may be the first comprehensive examination of the works of graphic art created for the pioneering German cultural publication Pan, presents startling parallels to Rosenblum’s exhibition. The years of Pan’s publication, 1895-1900, neatly coincide with the Guggenheim exhibition. Indeed, critic Michael Kimmelman could have been writing about the content of the prints in Pan when, in reviewing the Art at the Crossroads for the New York Times, he spoke of the

“widespread mood of paranoia, pessimism, and general fin-de-siecle angst, cutting across nationalities, generations, and styles. It isn’t quite true that not a single picture in this exhibition depicts the sun shining through clear skies, but almost. These are literally dark works. Poverty, religious fear, loneliness, sexual anxiety including homosexual guilt, distrust of industrialization: they’re the symptoms of a psychic havoc wrought by Freud, late Victorianism, urban sprawl, the reshuffling of social classes and so on.”

Pan took its name from the ancient god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music: his goat-like head, with horns and beard like a faun or satyr- are signs of virility and connected with fertility and the season of spring. It was a wonderful visual logo of the venture, but it also derived from the Greek origin of the term, meaning “all”—and indeed, the group of German intellectuals, art historians, and cultural observers who embarked in 1895 upon Pan, one of the milestones of publishing in the graphic arts, aspired to a pan-European reach.

The individual most responsible for creating the avant-garde deluxe periodical was Julius Meier-Graefe (1867-1935). While still in his twenties, this young German intellectual was able to convince a group of monied conservative art patrons in Berlin spare no expense in funding a limited edition art journal containing original graphic art. If its only purpose had been to recognize and promote homegrown German culture, it would have been a significant accomplishment; but Meier-Graefe’s ambition was far greater. He wished to create a truly international publication that included contributions from the leading artists and writers across all of Europe, even venturing as far as the United States.

Pan was carefully and consciously designed in every detail, including the selection of art and articles it published, its elegant graphic design, layout, and choices of paper. Even the design of the prospectus was thoughtfully engineered to help sell the deluxe periodical to a curious but skeptical and conservative public.

The fact that the quality and consistency of the contents of each issue of Pan never varied in excellence over its six years of publication is a testimony to the high standards set by its editors to create the most beautiful publication of its time. One should not forget the expense, complicated logistics, and sophisticated technical expertise that its production demanded.

The total run for the earliest issues of Pan were printed in an edition of an astounding fifteen hundred and six copies, including special collector’s copies printed on Japan paper, a number that was eventually reduced to twelve hundred and thirteen copies by the time Pan ceased publication in 1900. It was a monumental task to carefully print so large a number of original prints, and a particular challenge to print color graphics using multiple blocks or plates.

Meier-Graefe using extensive contacts in the Parisian art world and beyond, was amazingly able to convince many successful artists to participate in his vision. It was an impressive group including Bradley, Cross, Denis, Luce, Nicholson, Pennell, Rodin, Rops, Signac, Toulouse-Lautrec, Valloton, van de Velde, and Zorn.

Pan and its contents considered as a bibliophilic totality, however, is easy to attack; it can be criticized for being too conservative, too German, too dour, and too dark. It is in fact all those things, but, in spite of these qualities, it is also much more. It is the first periodical of such quality and ambition (to a lesser extent The Studio in England) to be truly international in scope. For all the trumpeting of French “Art Nouveau,” France for the most part was exclusionist and nationalistic compared to the relative openness of the German editors regarding contributors to Pan. As Stephan Tschudi-Madsen wrote in his landmark publication, The Art Nouveau Style (1955), “The Jugend style was conceived in the two-dimensional plane: it is in the columns of Pan and Jugend that its noblest emanation was found… Pan’s importance gradually waned—after its mission had been fulfilled.”

Make no mistake, the pressures of German cultural insularity, xenophobia, and conservatism resisted Meier-Graefe’s desire for greater intellectual and cultural sophistication, and in 1896 it led to his forced resignation.

It is instructive to think of the eighty graphic works from Pan in this exhibition in terms of popular music today. We are bombarded by a steady onslaught of popular music on a daily basis. After a year, most of the music has disappeared from our consciousness; after a decade, only a select few classics remain. So it is with art.

It is my personal, subjective opinion, in reviewing the printsfor this first exhibition of PAN ever organized in the United States, that ten of the included images should be categorized as graphic art masterpieces, and another thirty considered outstanding works of art. The fact that after one hundred and ten years fifty percent of the works in this exhibition still command our respect is testament to the perspicacity of Julius Meier-Graefe who saw the future through art whose aesthetic courage he championed.
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