To mark the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birthday, the series Masterpieces in Focus is dedicated to the picture Gustav Mahler conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra by Max Oppenheimer. Mahler’s work as a composer and music opera director exerted a crucial influence on how his contemporaries perceived music, and expressed himself directly in the paintings and sculptures of various artists.
From 1914, the world of music had become the focal point of creativity for the passionate violinist and music expert, which in itself, however, was not so extraordinary. Music gained the attention of many fine artists, at the latest with Richard Wagner. The work Gustav Mahler conducts the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra was created over a long period from 1935 to 1952, i.e. largely in the Jewish artist’s exile in New York. In its monumental form it is, without doubt, seen as his artistic testament.
The link between music and painting was to become a vital remedy for Oppenheimer while away from home. The long period in which this painting was created can be explained as addressing his cultural identity associated with the hope of a universally understood language of art. Oppenheimer’s other paintings, and a selection of works of his contemporaries will be on show in addition to this monumental work.