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Johannes Brahms – Künstlerfreund und Frauenliebling

The Magic of Relationships

Johannes Brahms – Artist Friend and Favourite with the Ladies

Johannes Brahms’ multi-faceted relationships to friends, colleagues and not least the women he admired are in the focus of this exhibition, which has first been shown to mark the twentieth anniversary of the institute’s founding. 10 years later it has been revised thoroughly and will be presented online for the first time. The Brahms-Institut therefore meets the restrictions imposed by both the pandemic and the restoration of the historic premises of the Villa Brahms undertaken in early 2021. But it is also another important step with regard to concerning the institute’s digitization strategy already pursued since 2003.

Valuable music manuscripts, dedicated works, letters, and photographs from the Lübeck Brahms collection trace the composer’s complex relations. the composer’s complex relations: »The ensemble of exhibits reveals to the visitor a dynamic view of Brahms that takes on surprising new outlines when seen in the context of his social network.« The »magic of relationships« most charmingly unfolds when regarding photographs of the eternal bachelor Brahms’s female acquaintances.

The exhibition also focuses on compositions dedicated to Brahms by his closest friends (Joseph Joachim, Clara Schumann) and revering colleagues (Johann Strauss, Hans Huber, Carl Reinthaler, etc.), works which mirror Brahms: often, the dedicated works refer to Brahms’s preferred genres or certain popular compositions, such as his Ungarische Tänze WoO 1 or Walzer op. 39. Key graphic works like Max Klinger’s Brahms-Phantasie are also included in the digital exhibition, as well as the various Brahms busts presented in the Gründerzeit winter garden of the Villa Brahms: from the naturalistic portraits of Tilgner and Küchler, created during Brahms’ lifetime, to the idiosyncratic solutions of Arno Breker and Milan Knobloch created in the late twentieth century.