For the very first time, the exhibition Henkel – The Art Collection offers a public viewing of works of art that were expertly assembled by the Düsseldorf patron and collector Gabriele Henkel over a period of decades. The focus of the presentation, on view at the K20 from April 8 to August 14, 2016, is abstract painting, as exemplified by works of classical European modernism and USAmerican art. For the show, Gabriele Henkel has selected works by Robert Delaunay, Amédée Ozenfant, Ellsworth Kelly, Mary Heilmann, and Frank Stella, as well as by German artists such as Gerhard Richter, Konrad Klapheck, and Imi Knoebel.
These works enter into an enthralling dialogue with the fascinating, often abstract ornamentation of the non-European textile works in the collection. They also testify to this collector's cosmopolitan perspective, which transcends cultural boundaries. Up until this point, the collection – which encompasses high-quality works by internationally known artists, as well as ethnographic objects from around the world – has been accessible almost exclusively to employees and visitors of the Düsseldorf corporate headquarters.
From the beginning, a priority of this internationally active collector, art critic, professor, artist, and patron of recent art, who has cultivated friendships with many artists, was to make these works accessible to all company employees, and to integrate them into the work environment as self-evidently as possible. To date, the works chosen for the exhibition at the K20 have been displayed in shifting constellations in the offices, corridors, staircases, and conference rooms of the Düsseldorf headquarters of this globally active enterprise, providing insight into art from around the world in a singular way.