Where in 1912 could one see 125 works by Van Gogh, 26 by Cézanne, 25 by Gauguin, 36 by Munch and 16 by Picasso under one roof, in all more than 650 paintings and sculptures? Certainly not in Paris, where the official academies still barely recognized most of these artists. Not quite yet in New York either, though a year later the Armory Show was to make Cubism and Duchamp famous, following suit from the fullest inventory of modern art ever attempted, a massive gathering in Cologne, where they are now celebrating its centenary with an impressive retrospective.
The 1912 event was the Sonderbund exhibition – or more exactly the Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler (international art show of the special association of West German art lovers and artists). Various galleries helped bring together so many works, in particular Flechtheim in Berlin and Kahnweiler in Paris. To offer an appropriate space, the committee bought a pavilion from the 1910 World Fair in Brussels and had it re-assembled in Cologne.