For the first time in Poland, a fragment of the collection that marked the beginning of one of the most famous European museums – the National Gallery in Berlin – will be shown. Over the years, Joachim Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener (1782 - 1861), a Belgian banker and a patron of art, collected the section of contemporary painters, mainly from Germany, but also from other European countries (e.g., France, Belgium, Italy and Netherlands) in order to grant them to the state for the purpose of creating a generally accessible National Gallery. In 1861, he fulfilled his wish by granting the imposing collection of 262 paintings to the government of the Prussian State on condition that they were made available to the audience. The works of art collected by him form an adequate picture of European painting of the first half of the 19th century, which encompasses trends such as realism, romanticism and biedermeier. Part of the collection is currently presented in Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
The exhibition of Joachim Wagener’s collection in the Royal Palace in Wrocław is a special event, because the National Gallery in Berlin extremely rarely lends its paintings abroad. However, as many as 67 works selected from the entire collection will be presented. Thanks to this exhibition, the Polish audience can become familiar with the European painting of the 19th century on the example of a fragment of the collection that is considered to be one of the world's most important collections referring to this period in art. The works presented in Wrocław include paintings by artists such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Gustav Grunewald, Peter von Cornelius, Theodor Gudin, Domenic Quaglio, Giovanni Migliara and many others. Apart from that, the Polish audience will have an opportunity to admire ‘Finis Poloniae’, a famous painting by Dietrich Monten from 1832 and works by Wroclaw artists: Karl Friedrich Lessing, Heinrich Mücke and August Kopisch. Wroclaw – a city that lost its museum collections during World War II – is the host of an unusual exhibition that has a chance to become one of the leading events during the celebration of the European Capital of Culture 2016.