The Brooks Gift

Leicester ArtsLeicester Arts and Museums Service are delighted to announce an outstanding new gift of artworks. In early 2009 the Service was approached with the offer of a gift of early 20th century paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture. It became quickly evident that this was no ordinary gift, it was a stunning private collection of over 60 artworks by German Expressionist and other artists. These included Lovis Corinth, Franz Marc, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Dix, Conrad Felixmuller and Käthe Kollwitz.

The donor, Michael Brooks, is a retired businessman and passionate art collector. He was born in Leicester in 1944, coincidentally the founding year of Leicester’s German Expressionist art collection. After growing up in the Belgrave area of the city, Michael later studied French and German at university, spending a year in Munich where he experienced Expressionist art for the first time.

One of his early, indelible memories is of accompanying his father to a screening by Leicester Film Society of ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’, the masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema.

Leicester ArtsInspired to collect after subsequently visiting the 20th century German art collection at Leicester, his enthusiasm for Expressionist literature, art and film developed into, as he puts it ‘a passion for the entire movement which has never left me’.

After a business career which included a number of years living on the continent, Michael Brooks has assembled a collection which reflects his abiding passion for Expressionist art. The collection included his favourite artists Lyonel Feininger and Ludwig Meidner and more recently a growing appreciation of the poignant humanity of the printmaker and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz.

He has made this wonderful gift to mark his enduring affection for the city of his birth, which Leicester Arts and Museums Service is deeply honoured to accept.

The donor Michael Brooks said:

‘My affection for the city in which I grew up has never waned and, with my 65th birthday and retirement imminent, I felt that there was no better time than the present to offer my collection to the Leicester Art Gallery. I am proud and delighted that they have accepted it. I know my collection could have no better home’.

Simon Lake, Senior Curator of Art, said:

Leicester Arts‘This new donation from Michael Brooks is simply fantastic. This is one of the largest gifts of artworks we’ve ever received, and the scale of his generosity is overwhelming. These are powerful artworks of real substance and quality, which will add a whole new dimension to German Expressionism at Leicester’.

The Brooks Gift will be exhibited at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, from October 31st until February 28th 2010, alongside the exhibition, ‘A Journey Out Of Darkness – Leicester’s Collection of German Expressionist Art’.

1. Walter Gramatté. Akaky in a Delirium. 1919. Lithograph.

2. Lovis Corinth. The Artist & Death I. 1916, Etching & Drypoint.

3. Ernst Barlach. Russian Beggarwoman with bowl. 1995 edition, from the original 1912 cast. Porcelain.

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Leicester Arts and Museums Service