Clemens Sels Museum Neuss

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Clemens Sels Museum Neuss
Clemens Sels Museum and Obertor.jpg
Clemens Sels Museum and Obertor (2007)
place Neuss , Germany
architect Harald Deilmann
opening August 24, 1912
City of Neuss
Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz
ISIL DE-MUS-103411

The Clemens Sels Museum Neuss is an art museum in Neuss . It is a modern multi-branch house in which art from the Middle Ages to the Baroque and painting by the Dutch can be seen. The collection includes paintings by the Nazarenes , the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolists of France, Belgium and Holland. The art collection also includes an extensive inventory of works by the Rhenish Expressionists and the Modern Primitives as well as Conceptual Color Painting.

The building also houses important archaeological, urban history and folklore collections in order to document the history of Neuss, which, along with Trier, is one of the oldest cities in Germany.


Neusser Obertor , part of the museum, in October 2004

In 1839 the physician and regimental doctor Hermann Jäger (1792–1848) founded the Neuss homeland and history association. As early as 1845, Jäger was able to set up the "Municipal Museum for Antiquities of the Surrounding Area" with the support of the Prussian King.

With the re-establishment of the antiquity association in 1877, a new interest in the collections developed. As a museum attendant, Clemens Sels took on the care and construction of the existing holdings, which have been housed and exhibited in the Obertor , a construction of the old city fortifications from the 13th century, since 1889 . A year later, however, a fire destroyed parts of the collection, which could only be returned there after the upper gate was repaired in 1906.

In 1908 Pauline Sels died, in her will of the city of Neuss, "as an indivisible legacy, the amount of 250,000 marks for the construction of a city museum (suitable case in the form of a Greek temple), for which the city should have a building site as close as possible to the center of the city (. ..) to give away free of charge "bequeathed. With this money, the first independent museum building could be built, which was inaugurated in August 1912. In addition, the city received from Pauline Sels the extensive collection of her husband Clemens Sels, who died in 1893.

Shortly before the end of the Second World War in 1945, the museum building was destroyed. The still intact exhibits were then taken to the Obertor, where they reopened in 1950 under the name of the Clemens-Sels-Museum. In the following decades the collection was continuously expanded and supplemented with works from the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1962 the "Association of Friends and Patrons of the Clemens Sels Museum" was founded. In the course of the intensive expansion of the collection by Irmgard Feldhaus , who headed the museum from 1949 to 1985, a new building was built in 1975 based on the designs of the architect Harald Deilmann . The Obertor was integrated into the new building. After extensive renovation that took a year and a half, the museum reopened in 2015.

Focus of the museum

Archeology, town history and folklore

Neuss is one of the oldest cities in Germany. Evidence of its history, ranging from the Stone Age to the 18th century, can be found in the museum's archaeological collection.

Prehistory and early history

The prehistoric and early historical finds in the collection include stone implements from resting and workplaces from the Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age in the city of Neuss, but also finds from the Bronze Age and the Pre-Roman Iron Age such as weapons or glass arm rings. Only a small selection of this range of finds is currently on permanent display.

Roman time

Already around the year 16 BC A Roman military camp was established for the first time in Neuss, the Roman Novaesium . It was one of the earliest Roman fortifications in Germany. A legionary camp was built around 43 AD that offered space for over 6,000 soldiers. The fort was almost completely uncovered between 1887 and 1900 by the Neuss archaeologist Constantin Koenen . The fortification , also known as the "Koenen camp" after its discoverer, can now be experienced as a virtual reconstruction in the museum. The town of Neuss grew out of the civil settlement (vicus) in today's city center over the centuries.

Koenen 1891 (seated in the center front)

Over the past 150 years, numerous finds have been recovered from the area of ​​the former Roman military camps , settlements and burial grounds, a rich selection of which is on display in the museum. Weapons and equipment of the soldiers, inscriptions on bricks, ceramic vessels and consecration stones, but also glass vessels, figures of gods and medical instruments give an insight into the everyday life of the Roman garrison on the Rhine.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

As one of the few cities in Germany, Neuss has a seamlessly documented history of more than 2000 years. From the late antique settlement at the confluence of the Krur into the Rhine , a flourishing Rhine port developed in the 9th century. The trading town in the shadow of the Romanesque collegiate church of St. Quirin experienced various heydays, but also wars like the Burgundian siege of 1474. Above all, the municipal monument preservation, which has existed since 1985, has unearthed an outstanding inventory of medieval and modern finds on the Lower Rhine, including ceramic and glass vessels also include leather shoes, leftovers, and weapons from the Burgundian siege. Some of these finds are in the Obertor, a city gate from the 13th / 14th centuries. Century, which today belongs to the Clemens-Sels-Museum.

Arts and crafts from the 14th to 18th centuries

Medieval art

The "Art and Applied Arts of the 14th – 18th Century" section essentially comprises paintings , sculptures , handicrafts and porcelain . Most of its holdings come from the Clemens Sels Foundation , the core of which is formed by a number of medieval altar panels, including the two panels of the Peter and Paul altars in the Hildesheim Lamberti Church, which, in terms of their artistic status, have been among the most valuable achievements in Westphalian-Lower Saxony painting from the beginning of the 15th century. These are two pictures by an unknown master close to Konrad von Soest with depictions of the Ascension of Christ and an iconographically unusual scene from the life of St. Paul.

One of the oldest figures is a limestone Virgin Mary made in Lorraine at the beginning of the 14th century , the later a sandstone figure of an Immaculata in white and gold , which probably comes from the workshop of Grupello. One of the special pieces of jewelery and greatest aesthetic treasures is a four-hundred-year-old "Madonna and Child", which is attributed to the circle of the Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden (1399 / 1400–1464).

Dutch painting

In addition to the medieval panel paintings, a large number of Dutch paintings from the 17th century form the actual focus of the Sels collection. The most important pictures here include the fair picture from around 1615 by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. J. and the very typical portrait of a child by Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594–1652). A fruit still life comes from the Utrecht painter Johannes Baers (1st half of the 17th century), which can be seen as an excellent example of Dutch still life painting of the 17th century.

19th and 20th century art

The Pre-Raphaelites

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882): Maria Theresa Zambaco, 1870, pastel on paper, 100 × 72 cm, Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss

The "secret union" of this brotherhood met with great acceptance in Victorian England, which was not limited to the inner circle of fine London society: the famous portraits with which Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882) and Edward Burne-Jones (1833– 1898) immortalized the beautiful "Maria Theresa Zambaco", dive deep into the traditional world of symbols and thus form a natural transition to the symbolism of the works of Gustave Moreau (1826–1898), Odilon Redon (1840–1916) and Fernand Khnopff (1858 –1921), who in the 19th century glorified the "pure, noble and sublime" just as the Pre-Raphaelites had done before them.

Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898): The King's Wedding, 1870, gouache on parchment, heightened with gold, Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss

Art of symbolism

The symbolist works housed in the Clemens Sels Museum are among the most important objects of this kind in Germany, within which the "Nabis" occupy a central place. Most of the holdings came to Neuss in the 1950s and 1960s - at a time when the public was not yet particularly interested in these French works from the late 19th century. The meeting of Paul Gauguin with the "Nabi" (Hebrew "prophet", "enlightened") Paul Sérusier , which Émile Bernard (1868–1941) had arranged, was decisive for the formation of the artist group . The Clemens Sels Museum shows a landscape painting by this artist from that time, which fascinates with its flat, simple shapes. This hangs next to works by Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940), Maurice Denis (1870–1943), the painter and theoretician of the group, and his friend Aristide Maillol (1861–1944), who was apostrophized as the "Cézanne of sculpture".

Among the outstanding representatives of Belgian symbolism are James Ensor (1860–1949) and Fernand Khnopff (1858–1921), who was enthusiastic about Gustave Moreau's mysterious works and was also drawn to the imagery of the Pre-Raphaelites . In 1883 he was one of the founding members of the Brussels artist group "Les Vingt" ("The 20"), alongside James Ensor, who is represented in Neuss with major works such as "La Marquise" and "Le Salon bourgeois". The Clemens Sels Museum owns the pictures "L'encens" ("Incense") and "In Bruges. A portal" by Khnopff, in which the painter symbolized the romantic theme "La Bruge morte" of his friend Georges Rodenbach .

Gustave Moreau (1826–1898): Le Soir, around 1887, watercolor on paper, Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss

Johan Thorn Prikker & the Rhenish Expressionists

Johan Thorn Prikker (1868–1932) forms a hinge between 19th century art and the Rhenish Expressionists , who belonged to the avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century. With his powerful "tug of war", some large-format window designs for the Neuss Dreikönigenkirche, an inlaid jewelery box and an exhibition poster, Prikker reminds us that at that time the boundaries between "high" art and everyday objects were fluid.

The rich collection of Rhenish Expressionists, of which the Clemens Sels Museum can boast, includes works by August Macke (1887–1914), including his probably last watercolor "Kandern IV" or "Promenade in Brown and Green", but also works by Heinrich Nauen , Adolf Seehaus and Heinrich Campendonk (1889–1957), who with his impressive, large-format, almost singular early work "Saint Julian, chasing" encounters the "Journey of Saint Julian across the river" by his teacher Johan Thorn Prikker .

The art of the naive

In the course of her work for the Clemens Sels Museum, Irmgard Feldhaus was able to set up, apart from the art collection on symbolism , an extensive naive department of exemplary importance, in which - in addition to the French "classics" André Bauchant (1873-1958), Camille Bombois (1883–1970), Séraphine Louis (1864–1942) and Louis Vivin (1861–1936) - artists from all European countries as well as from Israel, Mexico, Tanzania, Haiti and the USA are for the most part represented with several works.

The foundation of the collection was laid in 1965 with the acquisition of five paintings and 35 drawings by the "German Rousseau" Adalbert Trillhaase (1858–1936). Another focal point for naive painting in Germany is a complex of pictures by the farmer Max Raffler (1902–1988), but Josef Wittlich (1903–1982) from Höhr-Grenzhausen should also be mentioned.

Adalbert Trillhaase (Erfurt 1858–1936 Niederdollendorf / Königswinter), The Prisoner Jews Lament, around 1925, oil on canvas, Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss

The range of what belongs to the "modern primitives" is extremely impressive. The legendary Polish beggar Nikifor (1895–1968), for example, saw things that the "trained" eye is only willing to perceive with gentle force: he practiced city views, religious motifs and on cigarette boxes ( Picasso was able to do the same ), photo paper, poster remains and other image carriers Architectures that are classics today as well as the cheeky or demonic, but always suggestive statues of his compatriot Adam Zegadlo, the gloomy pagan deities and desolate devils of Szczepan Mucha or the legends of the saints of the imaginative farmer Katarzyna Gawlowa.

Pictures of the comb and button maker Emerik Fejes (1904–1969) from Croatia, who - without ever leaving his hometown - painted architectural and city pictures from all over the world according to postcards with meticulousness and imagination, the Italian Enrico Benassi (1902–1979 ) with their glamorous pathos and the Dutch native Leonardus Neervoort (1908–1981) with his multi-figure crowd scenes can be found in the Clemens Sels Museum. The inventory of over 800 paintings and sculptures of the art of the naive is shown only sporadically.

Conceptual color painting

The area of ​​conceptual color painting, which Gisela Götte systematically began to collect in the Clemens Sels Museum in the 1980s, has since grown to over 80 works. In the foyer, visitors are greeted by a selection of works by Phil Sims , Ulrich Erben and Jürgen Paatz as well as recently acquired works by Susanne Stähli and Kees Barten .


"Cybele cult site"

In 1956, a late antique stone cellar was discovered at today's Gepaplatz in Neuss during rescue excavations. At the time it was thought to be a fossa sanguinis , a blood cellar for the Cybele cult. Which “sacred” function the cellar served is currently still in the dark. Visitors can visit the cellar in the Fossa Sanguinis pavilion upon request.

Field House - Museum of Popular Printmaking

Feld-Haus, on the Kirkeby-Feld Hombroich (between the island of Hombroich and the rocket station)

The youngest branch of the Clemens Sels Museum is the Feld-Haus, which opened in 2010 - the museum for popular printmaking . In the building designed by Per Kirkeby as an architectural sculpture in the Hombroich cultural area , printed products from devotional graphics to wall art decorations from four centuries are presented. With more than 5,000 objects, the collection compiled by Irmgard Feldhaus is one of the most extensive in Germany. Therefore, the field house was able to establish itself as a research facility.

The Feld-Haus is at Berger Weg 5, 41472 Neuss, on the Kirkeby-Feld Hombroich (between the island of Hombroich and the rocket station).

List of exhibitions

  • May 16 to July 4, 2004, Claudia Desgranges - timeline
  • September 23, 2012 to January 13, 2013, Longing for Color - Moreau, Matisse & Co.
  • September 13, 2015 to January 10, 2016 Rita Rohlfing - The virtual in the concrete
  • October 24, 2015 to February 14, 2016: Jürgen Paatz - works on paper
  • November 29, 2015 to February 14, 2016: Bert Gerresheim. Everything confused. 80th birthday homage
  • March 13 to May 22, 2016: Italy so close - Johann Anton Ramboux (1790-1866)
  • June 26th to September 25th 2016: The Limes in Novaesium. About life on the Roman border
  • May 22 to October 3, 2016: Paul Schwer - Billboard Painting. Light sculpture in the outdoor area
  • June 5 to October 23, 2016: Edelweiss and Goldlamé. Embroidered house blessings on luxury paper. Dependance field house. Museum of Popular Prints
  • October 23, 2016 to February 19, 2017: Beloved Enemies - Symbolism Today. From Peter Doig to Thomas Schütte
  • November 13, 2016 - July 2, 2017: Dog cat mouse. Animal representations from all over the world on popular prints. Dependance field house. Museum of Popular Prints
  • March 19 to May 28, 2017: Man is himself! Erich Bödeker and Josef Wittlich.
  • July 23, 2017 to January 28, 2018: Souvenirs, souvenirs! Travel and pilgrimage souvenirs from the Feld-Haus collection
  • October 15, 2017 - February 18, 2018: Desire & Reality. The influence of photography on the portrait
  • March 18 - June 10, 2018: Romans at your fingertips. Myth and Facts.
  • November 18, 2018 –10. March 2019: ahead of your time! Heinrich Campendonk - Heinrich Nauen - Johan Thorn Prikker .

See also


  • Gisela Götte: Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss. Paintings, sculptures. A selection. Association of Friends and Supporters of the Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 1995, ISBN 978-3-00-000352-3
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: Pablo Picasso - Creativity and the urge to create. Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2008, ISBN 978-3-936542-37-0
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: Wilhelm Schmurr - The magic of the moment. Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2009, ISBN 978-3-936542-44-8
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: From Ensor to Matisse - Homage to Irmgard Feldhaus (1920-2010). Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2011, ISBN 978-3-936542-55-4
  • Johann Wilhelm Schirmer. From the Rhineland into the world, ed. by Marcel Perse, Bettina Baumgärtel, Irene Haberland, Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz, Elmar Scheuren and Wolfgang Vomm, Petersberg 2010
  • Max Tauch: Neuss. Clemens Sels Museum. In: Heinz Günter Horn (Ed.): The Romans in North Rhine-Westphalia. Licensed edition of the 1987 edition. Nikol, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-933203-59-7 , pp. 589-591.
  • Max Tauch: Clemens Sels Museum Neuss. Roman department. Schnell and Steiner, Munich 1983
  • Christiane Zangs: Passionate about collecting. About the donors Pauline and Clemens Sels and the founding of the Neuss Museum. Clemens Sels Museum Neuss, 1999
  • Bettina Zeman: Susanne Stähli - The transformed space. Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2010, ISBN 978-3-936542-51-6
  • Bettina Zeman: Aristide Maillol & Maurice Denis - An artist friendship. Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2011, ISBN 978-3-936542-60-8
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: Longing for Color - Moreau, Matisse & Co. Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss 2012, ISBN 978-3-936542-65-3
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: Masterpieces of the Collection. Great art in a small format , Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 2015, ISBN 978-3-936542-69-1
  • Ulf Sölter: One picture is not enough. The art publisher A. Felgner . Clemens Sels Museum Neuss 2015, ISBN 978-3-936542-71-4
  • Bettina Zeman: re: set - abstract painting in a digital world. With contributions by Hermann Rotermund and Michael Stoeber, Bönen 2014, ISBN 978-3-86206-331-4
  • Ulf Sölter: Protecting angels and heavenly helpers. With contributions by Ulf Sölter and Romina Pieper, Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 2015, ISBN 978-3-936542-73-8
  • Uta Husmeier-Schirlitz: Bert Gerresheim - Everything confused. 80th birthday homage . Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 2015, ISBN 978-3-936542-74-5
  • Ulf Sölter: Italy so close - Johann Anton Ramboux (1790 - 1866) , Clemens Sels Museum Neuss. Cologne 2016, ISBN 978-3-936542-77-6
  • Ulf Sölter: Edelweiss and Goldlamé. Embroidered house blessings on luxury paper . With contributions by Ulf Sölter and Romina Pieper, Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 2016, ISBN 978-3-936542-78-3
  • Bettina Zeman: Beloved Enemies - Symbolism Today. From Peter Doig to Thomas Schütte. Clemens Sels Museum, Neuss 2016, ISBN 978-3-936542-80-6
  • Ulf Sölter: Himself is the man! Erich Bödeker and Josef Wittlich. Clemens Sels Museum Neuss. Dresden 2017. ISBN 978-3-95498-299-8
  • Ulf Sölter: Souvenirs, souvenirs! Travel and pilgrimage souvenirs from the Feld-Haus collection . Neuss 2017. ISBN 978-3-936542-84-4

Web links

Commons : Clemens-Sels-Museum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Helga Bittner: With elegance and an iPad into the future. Clemens Sels Museum. In: NGZ online. Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung , March 20, 2015, accessed on March 20, 2015 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 11 ′ 39 ″  N , 6 ° 41 ′ 54 ″  E