In times of a relentless acceleration of our everyday life we increasingly yearn for leisure time and room for reflection. Hence, the figure of the flâneur has become more relevant than ever. His slow pace and his roaming gaze stand in contrast to our purposive actions and hectic movements.

The originally literary motive of the flâneur is closely connected to the urban environment. The flâneur is both the eye that looks at the city and the eye through which the city looks at itself. The roaming gaze of the flâneur who strolls aimlessly along streets and squares, hoarding the impressions gained en route, has proved a fitting gauge of the fleeting, fickle, protean big city ever since the early days of modernism. The exhibition accordingly does not only deal with this subject from a historic point of view; it rather demonstrates the flâneur’s development up to the present.

The exhibition follows the flâneur’s history over a period of 100 years, from the late 19th into the 21st century. Works of Impressionism, Expressionism, and New Objectivity present Berlin and Paris as the flâneur’s first spaces of action. Since the 1930s, photography is likewise a key medium for the urban experience and contemporary artists also use performance, film, and audio-walk as a means of actively experiencing and defining the dynamic structures of the city.

The comprehensive exhibition includes more than 160 works by 68 artists.

Numerous national and international museums and private collectors (Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Tate, London; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; and others) support the exhibition with important loans. The exhibition has been realized with kind support from the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Hans Fries-Stiftung, Cologne.

List of artists: Franz Ackermann, Francis Alÿs, Louis Anquetin, Jean Béraud, Brassaï, Koen vand den Broek, Auguste Chabaud, Lovis Corinth, Koen van den Broek, Gustave Dennery, Robert Doisenau, Max Ernst, Henri Evenepoel, Lyonel Feininger, Rainer Fetting, Lee Friedlander, André Gill, Vincent van Gogh, George Grosz, Werner Heldt, Karl Horst Hödicke, Candida Höfer, Sofia Hultén, André Kertész, Kimsooja, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mark Lewis, Max Liebermann, Luigi Loir, August Macke, Albert Marquet, Ludwig Meidner, Adolf Menzel, Helmut Middendorf, Tod Papageorge , Ludovic Piette, Peter Piller, Camille Pissarro, Sigmar Polke, Franz Radziwill, Anton Räderscheidt, Jean-Francois Raffaëlli, Alexander Roob, Alexander Rodtschenko, Christoph Rütimann, Carl Saltzmann, August Sander, Franz Skarbina, Rudolf Schlichter, Friedrich Seidenstücker, Stephen Shore, Alfred Sisley, Léon Spilliaert, Johanna Steindorf, Otto Steinert, Alfred Stieglitz, Beat Streuli, Thomas Struth, Abel Truchet, Umbo, Maurice Utrillo, Jeff Wall, Corinne Wasmuht, Garry Winogrand, Gustav Wunderwald.