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Hans Makart's ‘Abundantia’ - The Depiction of Abundance and Fertility

from November 17 2012 until April 1 2013

Michelangelo Cerquozzi, Harvest of pomegranates, 1640-1660, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Photo: Ernie Buts Paulus Moreelse, Vetumnus and Pomona, circa 1630, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Photo: Ernie Buts Photo: Ernie Buts Hans Makart, Abundantia: The Gifts of the Earth, circa 1870, loan: Ger Eenens Collection The Netherlands 2011 Photo: Ernie Buts Sharon Lockhart, Maria da Conceição Pereira de Souza with the Fruits of the Island of Apeú-Salvador, Pará, Brazil (coco), 1999, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Photo: Ernie Buts Boris van Berkum, Mama Aisa, Awanaisa, Mother earth, 2012, photo: Bob Goedewaagen Photo: Ernie Buts

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is exhibiting an extraordinary painting on loan from the Ger Eenens Collection: ‘Abundantia’ by the celebrity painter Hans Makart (1840-1884). This enormous canvas, measuring 1.5 x 4.5 metres, impresses through its swirling composition of warm colours against a gold background, in which Abundantia, the personification of prosperity, takes central place.

The painting portrays 'Abundantia' with the 'gifts of the Earth'. Abundantia was the Roman goddess of abundance and fertility. This exhibition presents examples from the 16th century to the present day in paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures. Key to this selection was the subject matter of Makart’s painting. The exhibition presents works by artists such as Paulus Moreelse and Michelangelo Cerquozzi, and also includes a photo series by the contemporary photographer Sharon Lockhart, as well as sculptures by Paul McCarthy and Boris van Berkum.

Hans Makart painted the composition in 1870 for the dining room of a palatial mansion on Vienna’s Ring. The Viennese were instantly struck by 'Abundantia' and Makart painted several repeats of it, parts of them executed by his workshop assistants. The canvas in the Ger Eenens Collection is regarded as an autograph. Musée d'Orsay and the Salzburg Museum have other versions.

Hans Makart

Hans Makart was regarded as the Andy Warhol of his time, though his fame quickly faded after his death. Visitors paid a fee to visit his studio and it served as a venue for exclusive
parties. Makart’s renown extended far beyond Austria’s borders and his paintings made
extensive tours to European and American cities. For example, between 1871 and 1880
‘Abundantia’ was shown in Berlin, Leipzig, New York, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, London and
elsewhere.