Malkasten (artists' association)

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Allegory of the artists' association Malkasten on the “Malkasten curtain” by Wilhelm Simmler

Malkasten is an artists' association founded on August 6, 1848 in Düsseldorf . It is based in the Malkasten-Haus at Jacobistraße 6a in the Pempelfort district .


Scene of an event by the artists' association “Malkasten”, illustration in the gazebo , 1869
Scene at the bowling alley in the “Malkasten”, illustration in the gazebo , 1885, after a drawing by Themistocles von Eckenbrecher
Hard punch in the paint box , wood engraving by Heinrich Otto , 1890
Commission of the lottery 1861 of the artists' association Malkasten
Cheerful round in the paint box , painting by Wilhelm Schreuer
Midday in the paint box , painting by Eduard Daelen , 1898

During the unrest in 1848, known as the March Revolution , which led to the German National Assembly and thus to the adoption of the constitution , artists from Düsseldorf also took part in the political discussions. On August 6, 1848, the Düsseldorf “ Association for Democratic Monarchy ” called for the “ Festival of German Unity ”, to which painters and sculptors contributed with their artistic design. Thereupon they founded an artists' association on the same evening as part of the celebrations, which they  named "Malkasten" a few days later - at the suggestion of the painter Carl Wilhelm Huebner . The name should express the equal coexistence of every political and artistic color. The artists' association Palette Club , which was later founded in New York, borrowed from this name.

Julius Tausch , caricature by Ernst Bosch , around 1877

The total of 112 all male founding members of the association included not only academy professors such as the history painters Theodor Hildebrandt , Heinrich Mücke and Karl Ferdinand Sohn , but also the painter and editor of the politically satirical " Düsseldorfer monthly " Lorenz Clasen and the painter from the Düsseldorf painting school Johann Peter Hasenclever , Joseph Fay , Johann Wilhelm Preyer , Peter Schwingen and the American painter Emanuel Leutze , who played a key role in the development of a “free” art community independent of the academy and the art association. The only founding member who did not belong to the visual arts was the city music director of Düsseldorf, Julius Tausch , who enriched the musical life of the association and composed the Malkasten-Paukenmarsch (op. 7) in 1852. Women were only accepted as full and extraordinary members from 1977 , although they were already active in the artists' association in the 19th century.

In addition to academy members, professors and students, artists from outside the academy, such as Carl Friedrich Lessing , came together to found a joint organization .

On August 11, 1848, the statutes of the Malkasten were established and the first board was elected. The statutes stipulated that the "KVM" as an "association for sociable artist life" should represent a heterogeneously composed membership and "has no other purpose than to discuss and promote the interests of art and artists and to entertain each other socially". As early as 1849, the board was able to officially announce that almost all of Düsseldorf's male artists had joined the association.

As the “crystallization point of all intellectual endeavors of the entire local artist community” and with the decision that non-artists can also join, the “paint box” quickly gained a central role in Düsseldorf's social life. For this purpose, he rented rooms in various restaurants. His events included various social gatherings, such as the Carnival Redoute , also known as the Malkasten Redoute , and the annual Foundation Festival in late summer. The versatility of the association was shown by the cooperation of musicians, poets and writers. Robert Schumann was accepted at the beginning of November 1850, first as an extraordinary, then as a full member.

In 1851 "the local artists" organized a Schadow festival on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow's service . Seventy former Schadow students, from Andreas Achenbach to Christian Julius Zielke , each took part with a drawing or sketch, which was then combined into an album. The album was put together again in 2009 by Katharina Bott and published as an illustrated book.

In 1856, the Malkasten called for a “first gathering of German visual artists” in Bingen am Rhein . The initiators of the call were a group around Hermann Becker and Emanuel Leutze . The artists' meeting held on September 28-30, 1856, to which around 160 participants from 21 locations in Germany came, led to the establishment of the Allgemeine Deutsche Kunstgenossenschaft , the first national professional association for visual artists in Germany.

Festival in front of Kaiser Wilhelm I in the paint box on September 6, 1877 , mural by Fritz Neuhaus
The mermaid pond from the Malkasten Festival in Düsseldorf , illustration by Wilhelm Beckmann in the magazine Die Gartenlaube , 1877
Tableau vivant by Karl Hoff from the Malkasten Festival on September 6, 1877, photo
Cornelius Celebration on June 24, 1879 , illustration by Max Volkhart in the magazine Die Gartenlaube , 1879

The various rented rooms quickly became too small for the many activities in the paint box. Most recently, from 1852 to 1865, a large room with a stage for the restaurateur Eugen Bouverot was available at No. 3 Ratinger Strasse . And so, from 1857 onwards, efforts were made to build the Jacobi'schen Garten in Düsseldorf, on which a house was to be built. When the property adjacent to Jägerhof Palace was to be sold in the 1850s and since the residence of the philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was not to fall into the hands of speculators, the city approved the sale to the KVM in 1861. On April 17, 1861, the artists' association was granted the right to corporation and thus the legal process to acquire the property.

To finance the property, the commission of the artists' association Malkasten organized a big lottery with chairman Otto Euler . The artists provided oil paintings (all in gold frames), watercolors, hand drawings, lithographs, woodcuts, prints and etchings, as well as photographs and also a marble statue and plaster items with a total value of 46,000 thalers for the raffle. The new club house could be built from 1864 and inaugurated in spring 1867. The events held here made the paint box the focus of art-interested members of the Düsseldorf society. A special attraction were the “dramatic-painterly-musical performances” of the Malkastenbühne, whose decorative and scenic equipment was often in the hands of painters such as Andreas and Oswald Achenbach , Alexander Michelis , Fritz von Wille and Emanuel Leutze and the tradition of tableaux vivants to tie in. On September 6, 1877, Kaiser Wilhelm I attended a performance at the Malkastenbühne, in which several tableaux vivants , including the picture of Blücher crossing the Rhine near Kaub , were festively staged. Karl Hoff wrote the festival. Julius Tausch composed the music for the evening . The subsequent banquet took place in the Tonhalle . This event seemed so important to the people of Düsseldorf that they had a mural made of it in the meeting room of their New Town Hall , built in 1884 .

The garden, the historical and new buildings, the Düsselbach and the Venusteich provided the space and background for imaginative artist festivals that were known beyond the borders of Düsseldorf. The Venus pond got its name from a figure of Venus erected in the middle of the pond , which was modeled on Venus de Milo . Since it was made of the soft metal of collected and melted paint tubes, its "bottom" - as the writer Hanns Heinz Ewers wrote - soon got some beautiful "blötsch" from being shot at with crossbows, slings and blowguns.

On June 24, 1869, the "Semisaecular Celebration of the Düsseldorf Art Academy " (the third day of the event) took place with a festival and a pageant in the Malkastengarten . Wilhelm Camphausen played the father of the Rhine , Albert Bogislav Lüdecke and Otto Erdmann the painters, Karl Hoff a gnome, actress Ehrenbaum from Dessau the romantic and Albert Baur the elector Johann Wilhelm . Andreas Achenbach painted the decorations. The festive procession was a tableau vivant of paintings from the romantic period of the Düsseldorf School of Painting . The proceeds were intended for the Cornelius monument . This was to honor Peter von Cornelius , who was appointed director when the academy was re-established in 1819.

In the early 1880s, the Prussian Rittmeister Armand Léon von Ardenne , his wife Elisabeth and the magistrate Emil Hartwich met in the paint box . The love affair between the officer's wife and the magistrate, which had become public, prompted the officer to challenge the magistrate to a pistol duel on November 27, 1886, fatally injuring him. The writer Theodor Fontane used this incident as material for his famous social novel Effi Briest .

The association for the organization of art exhibitions e. Founded by the association of Düsseldorf artists founded in 1844 for mutual support and assistance in 1898 . V. resided in the Malkasten house . Quite a few members of the Malkasten were also represented in these associations.

Around 1900, the initiative to found the art and culture magazine Die Rheinlande came from an art commission, which mainly included members of the paint box . Its most important initiators at that time were the industrialist and art patron Fritz Koegel and his friend, the writer Wilhelm Schäfer .

For the " Millennium Celebration of the Rhineland " in 1925, historicizing parades with several hundred costumed participants represented the development of Rhenish history, and in 1928 the KVM performed one of the last major festivals in honor of Albrecht Dürer , which were composed and staged by the members themselves. In the 1920s, the KVM was in close contact with prominent artists in Germany. In this way he was able to win over writers like Thomas Mann for lectures.

While many Düsseldorf artists were persecuted in the course of the Gleichschaltung , the KVM came to terms with the National Socialists . Together with the Kampfbund for German Culture , he celebrated the “national uprising” and planted a “Hitler oak” for the “rescuer in dire need”.

The membership structure did not experience any significant changes until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939; Artists and those interested in art were part of a permanent group of an average of 400 members. Due to the great acceptance of the KVM and the large number of members, the stagnation in the world economic crisis and the time of National Socialism could be survived. After 1945, with the self-sacrificing support of the members, the club buildings were rebuilt according to the plans of the architects Helmut Hentrich and Hans Heuser . Helmut Hentrich was the first chairman of the association from 1945 to 1955.

1977 Helga Radener-Blaschke became the first full female member.


Hentrichhaus of the artists' association Malkasten
Imperial eagle with painter's shields , beer glass and house key - "Malkasten-Adler" (club coat of arms), Max Kratz , 1966, next to the entrance to the Jacobihaus

Under the chairmanship of Professor Klaus Rinke , KVM has been trying to consolidate the economy since June 1992. With the renovation of the entire building complex and the development of a catering concept, he was able to create the basis for future cultural engagement and make the premises available to a wider public. The chairman of the elected and voluntary board of the association is - elected again and again since 2000 - Robert Hartmann . Katja Stuke has been the second chairwoman since 2018 .

In possession of the paint box, d. H. in artist hands , are the Jacobihaus with lounges and archive, the Hentrichhaus with theater hall, artist cellar, restaurant and bar, as well as the Malkastenpark (or Jacobigarten ) with beer garden (operated until 2014) and a number of extensions in need of renovation (called annex buildings ) including the so-called parking garage , which has been run by Karl Heinz Rummeny (together with others in the first few years) as an exhibition space for young contemporary art since 1997.

According to the minutes of the general meeting of April 2019, the artists' association has 302 full members (mostly artists). According to its website, in 2018 the association had around 280 full members and around 170 extraordinary members (friends and sponsors), as well as 5 honorary members. According to the last printed membership directory from 2002, the artists' association still had 403 full members at that time.

Throughout the paint box there are four organizational structures: the artists association , giving it affiliated winery Malkasten GmbH , whose tenants of gastronomy , as well as the Foundation paint box . As a branch of the economy, the artists' association Malkasten maintains the Malkasten winery for the management and rental of the entire property and catering as the leaseholder of the restaurant and bar (and the beer garden, which has not been operated since the LIDO took over catering). The MK-Gastronomie GmbH , which operated from September 1995 was closed in December, 2014. On July 4, 2012, the Malkasten Foundation was recognized as a non-profit foundation by the Düsseldorf District Government. This pursues the goal of supporting the artists' association Malkasten in preserving its listed buildings and the historic Malkasten Park and thus preserving its independence. In this sense, the exhibitions and events of the KVM should also be promoted as a place of encounter, discourse and sociability.

The board of the artists' association Malkasten and other active members, supported by the association's office under the direction of Tatjana Tschirnt and Sabine Siegmund, organize ongoing exhibitions, artist talks, concerts, film screenings, lectures and other cultural events in the buildings and in the park. Access to the events is open to all interested parties, mostly free of charge or at a low admission price.

Honorary members (selection)

See also


  • Shakspeare album: all of the costume figures from the Shakspeare festival ... 1864, photographed and edited by the artists' society 'Malkasten' in Düsseldorf. by Gebr. G. & A. Overbeck . Düsseldorf 1864 ( digitized version )


Web links

Commons : Malkasten-Haus, Düsseldorf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Malkasten (Düsseldorf)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bernhard Endrulat: An imperial festival in the "Malkasten" in Düsseldorf . Düsseldorf 1878, p. 13
  2. Lilian Landes: "... a new subject in the genre". The socially critical genre image of the Düsseldorf School of Painting in an international comparison . In: Bettina Baumgärtel (Hrsg.): The Düsseldorf School of Painting and its international impact 1819–1918 . Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-86568-702-9 , Volume 1, p. 207
  3. ^ The first meeting of German visual artists. In: Friedrich Wilhelm Hackländer : Experienced . Second volume, chapter 5, 1856, accessed on June 26, 2020 from the portal (Gutenberg project)
  4. ^ Eleonore Sent: Hermann Heinrich Becker (September 28, 1817 - May 3, 1885) . (PDF) City Archive State Capital Düsseldorf, bequests / collections (4-2, Finding aid number: 7-2-4-2.0000); Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  5. To the last festival of the "Malkasten" in the old club house in 1865
  6. Prize list for the raffle for the acquisition of the Jakobi'schen Garten
  7. ^ To the preliminary celebration of the Düsseldorf jubilee festival . In: The Gazebo . Issue 25, 1869, pp. 394 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).
  8. Hans Heinz Ewers : The bottom of Venus . In: Beatrix Müller, Marianne Tilch (Eds.): Düsseldorf. Texts and images from four centuries. JB Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-476-00784-7 , p. 264 f.
  9. Program for the festival of the semisecular celebration of the art academy in the Malkastengarten
  10. Joachim Lilia: Thomas Mann's last visit to the Rhineland with a photo of Thomas Mann on August 26, 1954 in the Malkasten , with his listeners Till and Hedda Eulenberg, Viktor Achter, Katja Mann, Gustav Lindemann, Mira Heuser. In: Rheinische Post , August 20, 1994
  11. 1848-1998. One hundred and fifty years of the Malkasten Artists 'Association , published by the Malkasten Artists' Association, Düsseldorf, 1998, ISBN 3-00-003401-3 , p. 153
  12. LVR Archive Issue 24, sources on the history of the artist Malkasten, edited by Sabine Schroyen, p.56
  13. Structure of the artists' association Malkasten , accessed on June 10, 2020
  14. The name Weinkellerei comes from the times when the paint box was trading in wine
  15. Malkasten: Gastronomy meets art, the new Lido restaurant , on RP online August 12, 2015, accessed on September 11, 2015

Coordinates: 51 ° 13 ′ 47 ″  N , 6 ° 47 ′ 16 ″  E