ESSEN.- The Museum Folkwang
s masterpieces have been reunited again for the first time in over 70 years. The museums spectacular pre-1933 collection has been reassembled for the first large-scale special exhibition in the New Building designed by David Chipperfield Architects. The Museum Folkwang was home to one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art worldwide in the 1920s and early 1930s. On his visit to Essen in 1932, Paul J. Sachs, co-founder of the MoMA in New York, called it the most beautiful museum in the world.
In 1937, the National Socialist regime confiscated more than 1400 works of what it considered degenerate art. This brought a brutal end to the museums progressive acquisition and exhibition policies. Most of the confiscated works were later sold and are the highlights of the private and public collections to which they now belong. These masterpieces, now located in America, Asia and Europe, will be returning to Essen for a period of four months. They include works by Chagall, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Marc and Beckmann. The exhibition will also unearth a hidden treasure trove: ancient and non-European art works which had long been kept in the museums storage rooms will be presented again for the first time. The exhibition comprises around 350 art works in total: paintings and sculptures from the modern period, selected works on paper and ancient and non-European art objects.
According to Museum Folkwangs director, Hartwig Fischer, I can hardly describe how it feels to be presenting the wonderful collection that Karl Ernst Osthaus founded in 1902 in Hagen and Ernst Gosebruch continued in Essen in its original splendour in the David Chipperfield-designed New Building. Its a dream come true, and it enables us to look back on the Folkwangs grand history and, at the same time, develop new perspectives for the museums future. The exhibition represents a considerable contribution to our year as European Capital of Culture, which has taken a guiding principle of Karl Ernst Osthaus as its motto: Change through Culture, Culture through Change.
Uwe M. Schneede, Director of the Hamburg Kunsthalle from 19912006 and guest curator of the exhibition, underlines the historical significance of the project: The exhibition sheds light on the early institutionalization of modern art and examines the possibilities of connecting the European avant-garde with world cultures in the future.
Bernhard Reutersberg, CEO of E.ON Ruhrgas AG, emphasized the importance of a multifaceted cultural landscape for the region and referred to the companys 25 years of collaboration with the Museum Folkwang. We promote cultural projects which have the same sustainability as our business in natural gas. We are proud to be able to call ourselves Partner of the Museum Folkwang today.