Hans Ottomeyer

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Hans Ottomeyer

Hans Ottomeyer (born March 12, 1946 in Detmold ) is a German art historian and former president of the German Historical Museum Foundation in Berlin.


Hans Ottomeyer is a great-grandson of the industrial pioneer Friedrich Ottomeyer , founder of the Westphalian entrepreneurial family Ottomeyer .

He studied law , classical archeology , literary and art history at the Universities of Göttingen , Freiburg , Berlin and under Willibald Sauerländer in Munich , André Chastel in Paris and Anthony Blunt in London . In 1976 he received his doctorate from the University of Munich . The subject of his dissertation, published in 1981, is Charles Percier's early oeuvre . At the beginning of historicism in France .

As a volunteer in the Bavarian Palace Administration, Ottomeyer was entrusted with the reconstruction of the original furnishings of the royal building of the Munich Residence in 1976/77 . The empirical basis of his work was fundamental source and inventory research. From 1978 to 1980 he worked on the planning and implementation of the exhibition for the House of Bavarian History in Wittelsbach and Bavaria. Crown and constitution. King Max I Joseph and the new state . From 1981 he prepared the exhibition of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg Living and Working in the Industrial Age. ... on Bavarian economic and social history since 1850 .

In 1983 Ottomeyer became a curator at the Munich City Museum , where he headed the furniture department until 1995. He conceived and curated exhibitions such as Biedermeier's luck and end. … The disturbed idyll 1815–1848 (1987), The Masters of Munich Art Nouveau (1989), The decent lust. From eating culture and table manners (1993) and the art of advertising (1996). In addition, he acted as acting managing director of Villa Stuck eV in Munich and supervised the transfer of the association into a public foundation.

In 1995 Ottomeyer was appointed director of the Staatliche Museen Kassel and was in charge of the renovation and refurbishment of Wilhelmshöhe Palace with its antique collection and picture gallery. Here he curated major exhibitions on cultural history such as Katharina the Great (1997) and Moritz the Scholar. A Renaissance Prince in Europe (1998) and the birth of time. A history of images and concepts (1999).

From September 2000 to March 2011 Ottomeyer was General Director of the German Historical Museum (DHM) in Berlin and from 2009 President of the Foundation. An essential contribution to the house was the conception and realization of the permanent exhibition German history in pictures and testimonies on the two floors of the Berlin armory, which became an exemplary model of success for the presentation of history and was also recognized internationally.

Major exhibitions at the DHM that he initiated and curated were The Second Creation. Images of the industrial world from the 18th century to the present (2002), The public panel. Table ceremony in Europe 1300–1900 (2002), interiors from the Biedermeier period. Room watercolors from princely palaces owned by the House of Hesse (2004), immigration country Germany. The Huguenots (2005), Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation 962–1806 (2006), The Invention of Simplicity - Biedermeier (2007), Novo Mundes - New Worlds. Portugal and the Age of Discovery (2007), Founding Period 1848–1871. Industry & Dreams of Life between Vormärz and Empire (2008) and Kassandra. Visions of Doom 1914–1945 (2008).

From 2003 to 2011 Ottomeyer was honorary professor for modern history at the Humboldt University in Berlin .

Since 1989 he has worked as an expert for paintings and furniture in the series Kunst und Krempel of Bavarian TV .

Ottomeyer's main research interests are political iconography in the image traditions of Europe; History of architecture and style 1700–1930: Late Baroque, Classicism, Empire and Biedermeier, Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau; European interior design: history of interior design, furniture and gilded bronzes; Ceremonial: history of the table and of utility silver; Drafting, design and advertising.

Ottomeyer is married and has three children.

Honorary positions


Fonts (selection)

In addition to the catalogs of the exhibitions mentioned:

  • The crown insignia of the Kingdom of Bavaria , Munich 1979
  • Wittelsbach album. Interiors of royal living and party rooms 1799–1848 , Munich 1979
  • with Peter Pröschel (Ed.): Gilded bronzes. Bronze work of the late baroque and classicism , 2 vols., 1986,
  • Art Nouveau furniture. Catalog of the furniture collection of the Münchner Stadtmuseum , Munich 1988
  • Braid and Biedermeier furniture. Catalog of the furniture collection of the Münchner Stadtmuseum , Munich 1991
  • (Ed.): Munich rooms. Models of new interior design , Munich 1991
  • Neoclassicism and New Objectivity. Catalog of the furniture collection of the Münchner Stadtmuseum , Munich 1993
  • (Ed.): Die Möbel in der Münchner Residenz (Ed.), Munich 1994–1998
  • (Ed.): Ways to Modernity. Art Nouveau in Munich 1896 to 1914 (publisher), Munich 1997
  • (Ed.): Heinrich Christoph Jussow: 1754–1825. A Hessian architect of classicism (ed.), 1999
  • (Ed.): Wallpaper art: French interior design and interior decoration from 1730–1960, Bernard Poteau collection , 2000
  • (Ed.): The times in the course of time , Kassel 2002
  • The Merseburg Medal Cabinet, Merseburg Castle Cultural History Museum , Berlin 2007
  • (Ed.): Burg und Herrschaft , Dresden 2010
  • (Ed.): The exhibit as historical evidence. Forms of presentation of political iconography , Dresden 2010


  • Explore history - learn history. Speeches on the occasion of the farewell to Prof. Dr. Hans Ottomeyer, President of the German Historical Museum, on March 15, 2011 in the Schlueterhof of the Zeughaus , eds. Dieter Stolte and Esther Sophia Sünderhauf, Berlin 2011 (with list of publications).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. When a mammoth plowed the Emsland . In: Meppener Tagespost . August 31, 2010 ( full text online at noz.de ).
  2. Die Welt DIE WELT - Baroque Chef in the Baroque House from June 3, 2006, accessed on August 10, 2018