Rider By The Sea – Benno Berneis

Rider By The Sea – Benno Berneis

Rider by the Sea, Benno Berneis, 1913. The large-framed painting forms the centrepiece of a room in the Berlinische Galerie devoted entirely to the rediscovered painter from the circle of the Berlin Secession as part of the collection: Art in Berlin 1880 – 1980.

Thanks to a donation from a private collection paintings and drawings by Benno Berneis have enriched the collection of the Berlinische Galerie since 2014. The Museum had been reopened at the end of May 2015 after renovation. It is located in Berlin Mitte. As a State Museum of Modern Art Photography and Architecture it presents an impressive cross-section of art, culture and history from an eventful hundred years in addition to special exhibitions.

When visitors enter the Benno Berneis room, their gaze is immediately drawn to the large painting Rider by the Sea. The portrait of a naked rider on his horse by the sea is luminous – although the painter has worked with comparatively muted colours. Dramatic, powerful, with great dynamism, horse and rider occupy the room. A strong presence, but also naturalness and strong trust between man and animal are shown by this artistic work. The power of nature – the water, the weather, the energy of the horse. Trust in freedom – horse and rider, both naked without protection and any bridle.

Benno Berneis, Rider by the Sea, Painting
Benno Berneis, Rider by the Sea, 1913, oil on canvas, Berlinische Galerie

The artist Benno Berneis attended horse races, where he studied the anatomy and movement of horses. As a artistic companion of Henri Matisse and Max Beckmann, Berneis, who had chosen Berlin as his place of activity, was considered a promising talent by the art critics of his time at the beginning of the 20th century. He began to develop his own artistic style in Berlin. His artistic work was monumental and expressive, unfortunately the period of his artistic activity was very short due to the First World War. Born in Fürth in 1883, Benno Berneis studied painting from 1902 in Munich and later in Berlin with Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt. He exhibited together with important Impressionist and Expressionist artists. In 1914, Berneis was send into the war as a lieutenant in the Bavarian army reserve, and in 1916 he died in France as a pilot.

In its collection, the Berlinische Galerie is showing paintings, drawings – including a sketch for Rider by the Sea – as well as archive material by the painter from the beginning of the 20th century until the end of the First World War. In addition, a bust by August Gaul portraying his close friend Benno Berneis is on display in the Berneis Room.

The collection Art in Berlin 1880 – 1980 offers a cross-section of 100 years of art creation, art trends and social life in the city of Berlin and its influence far beyond the city’s borders.

A tour through Berlin’s art history: It ranges from the upper-middle-class painting of the imperial period at the end of the 19th century to works of Expressionism and the Eastern European avant-garde to the architecture of post-war modernism as well as the avantgarde paintings of the seventies. In keeping with the interdisciplinary orientation of the collection, major works from painting, graphic art, sculpture, photography and architecture enter into a lively dialogue. They convey an impression of the diversity of artistic approaches and styles, but also of tensions, contrasts and ruptures that are still characteristic of Berlin as an art location today. As a city of modernity, which today more than ever attracts international young artists, Berlin remains a centre of perpetual awakening.

Imposing staircase architecture
Imposing staircase architecture in the interior of the Berlinische Galerie – Photo: PferdKultur

An exhibition area on the ground floor is connected to the collection area on the upper floor by spectacular staircase architecture where the venue for changing special exhibitions is located, which are no less excitingly curated.

Information on current shows, permanent exhibition, opening hours and complementary events:


Benno Berneis, Skizze Reiter III, 1913, Berlinische Galerie – Foto: PferdKultur
Benno Berneis Raum, Berlinische Galerie – Foto: PferdKultur
Berlinische Galerie – Foto: PferdKultur
Sammlung Berlinische Galerie – Foto: PferdKultur
Felix Nussbaum, Der tolle Platz, 1931 (c) Repro: Kai-Anett Becker
6. September 2019 Off