Landscapes to Schirmer ~ The Exhibition

Following several years of collaboration with the Juelich Museum, the final preparations for my  Schirmer exhibition are now being completed with last minute amendments to the catalogue, which goes to print today, and even some slight revisions to the title of the exhibition itself.


Landscape of the Upper Rhine (2013) ~ 16in x 12in ~ acrylic on canvas ~ Landscapes to J.W. Schirmer ~ Chris Billington

Landscape of the Upper Rhine (2013) ~ Landscapes to J.W. Schirmer ~ Chris Billington


Here is some background information on the realisation of this historically significant exhibition.

When the original project was put to me by the Museum Director they were already in possession of four of my paintings which they had acquired when my first ‘Dialogue with Schirmer’ paintings were shown at the Internationale Kunstakademie in Heimbach by the invitation of Professor Dr Frank Zehnder in 2010. My work having been introduced to Professor Zehnder by Maf Radersheidt, with whom I worked on several projects in Germany, including a solo exhibition in her fine gallery in Bad Münstereifel.

The Juelich went on to acquire a further painting of mine, when in 2011 Marcell Perse of the Museum requested that I paint my interpretation of their new Schirmer, ‘Italian Landscape With Bridge’ which they had just purchased from auction at Lempertz. My painting was officially presented at the Museum on International Museum Day, May 15th 2011, alongside the Schirmer original.

It was at this time, in 2011 Marcell Perse proposed that I continue my ‘Dialogue with Schirmer’ by marking the 150th anniversary, in September 2013, of his death with an exhibition of fifteen of my works, one to mark each decade of the 150 years and in recognition of my visionary abstracted work on one of the greatest German Landscape painters and founders of the Dusseldorf school of painting.

After much considered thought the working title for the exhibition was decided on between myself and the Museum, “Colour and Reduction – 15 landscapes to J. W. Schirmer”, but it has become evident to us that the project has expanded and now encompasses all of my paintings, my fifteen new ‘Schirmer’ paintings along with the five that the Museum already hold. As of three days ago the exhibition is now also titled ‘Landscapes to Schirmer’. The styles of Billington and Schirmer are a complete contrast, separated by centuries of Landscape tradition, but by creating a new colour vocabulary and through new forms I have assembled new landscape environments in my interpretation of these great works.


Forest Chapel (2013) ~ 30in x 36in ~ acrylic on canvas ~ Landscapes to J.W.Schirmer ~ Chris Billington

Forest Chapel (2013) ~ Landscapes to J.W.Schirmer ~ Chris Billington


With this work I have attempted to reach Schirmer’s level of consciousness and I propose a new definition of landscape painting arrived at by searching for the hidden instead of accepting what is apparent.   My “Landscapes to Schirmer” sums up the coexistence of two painters across centuries….

‘Landscapes to Schirmer’ is the culmination of many months of work and planning between myself and the Juelich Museum, and my paintings are derived from access to many of the originals at the Museum Citadel, and several large volumes of Schirmer’s complete oeuvre which were given to me by Marcell Perse.

I have been given unconditional artistic freedom to determine and complete the project with complete autonomy and every step along the way they Museum have been sincerely enthusiastic and supportive right down to telling me that the exhibition invitation cards are one of the best products that they have produced in years. To be held in the Citadel Chapel, the exhibition opens on Saturday 19th October and there will be Curator Tours on Sunday 20th October and Sunday 3rd November at 11.00hrs.

My absolute gratitude goes to Marcell Perse and his marvelous staff at The Juelich Museum for having such great faith and confidence in my work and for having the extraordinary insight to see this historic project through from the seed of an idea to its magnificent conclusion.

Exhibition opening: Saturday 19 October 16.00 hrs
Curator Tours: Sunday 20 October and 3 Each November 11.00 hrs

Images of the paintings will be added to my exhibition page in a few days.


Juelich Museum ~ “Colour and Reduction – 15 landscapes to J. W. Schirmer”


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