Folkwang Museum

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Front view of the Folkwang Museum with the new building designed by David Chipperfield. Recorded on the opening weekend in January 2010.

The Folkwang Museum is an art museum in Essen . It was opened in Hagen in 1902 by the art patron Karl Ernst Osthaus under the name Folkwang Museum and for a long time played a pioneering role in the field of modern art . After Osthaus's death in 1921, his collection was sold to Essen, where the Folkwang Museum Association was set up with the aim of acquiring it. The museum has continued there since then. The collection contains works of impressionism , expressionism , surrealism and other styles of modern art. The Folkwang Museum also owns objects from the arts and crafts, a graphic and a photographic collection. During the National Socialist era , the museum lost 1,400 works, including important parts of the collection, in the " Degenerate Art " campaign. After the war, most of these losses could be replaced by buybacks or new acquisitions. In 2006 the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation announced that it would finance the new building of the Folkwang Museum. After two years of construction, the new building designed by David Chipperfield was officially opened on January 28, 2010 as part of the RUHR.2010 Capital of Culture year .


Foundation in Hagen

Portrait of Karl Ernst Osthaus. Painting by Ida Gerhardi , 1903

The only 24-year-old banker's son Karl Ernst Osthaus , who had inherited a significant fortune from his maternal grandparents, developed the idea for his own museum in Hagen around 1898. He intended to exhibit his private collection of scientific , folkloric and handicraft objects there, which he had acquired with the money he had inherited on extensive trips through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. He saw his goal in the museum "to contribute to improving public taste". He commissioned the architect Carl Gérard from Berlin with the new Hagen museum building, which was built between 1899 and 1902 with an eclectic facade that combines neo-renaissance , neo-Gothic and neo-baroque elements. In 1899 Osthaus went on a trip to Tunisia , from which he brought back Islamic works of art . He decided to build an art museum. This reorientation of his museum project did not displace the scientific component from the project, because Osthaus saw the basis for art in the aesthetic quality of nature. In 1900, Karl Ernst Osthaus contacted the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde and presented him with his idea of ​​founding a museum that would give art in the industrial region of the Ruhr area a higher priority. Van de Velde accompanied the museum project, designed the interior in Art Nouveau style and advised Osthaus, who was previously primarily interested in 19th century German painting from the area around the Düsseldorf School of Painting , on his purchases of Belgian and French works of art. Osthaus's turn to modernity goes back to the Belgian. Major acquisitions followed, such as the Lise with the parasol from Pierre-Auguste Renoir , which Osthaus bought from Paul Cassirer in 1901 . In 1902 he acquired, among other things, The Harvest from Vincent van Gogh . It was the first work by the Dutchman to find its way into a German museum collection.

The Folkwang Museum was opened on July 9, 1902, and its lecture hall, designed by Peter Behrens , was not completed until 1905. It contained the natural history collection in the basement and the arts and crafts collection on the ground floor, and the art collection on the upper floor. The name Folkwang comes from the old Norse myths of the Edda , in which he describes the palace of the goddess Freya , who in addition to her role as fertility goddess also acted as patron goddess of the arts. This choice of name should clarify the unity of art and life in the new museum. Over time, aesthetic education moved to the center of the museum's orientation, with the result that the importance of the natural history parts of the collection decreased. The museum presented the collection according to aesthetic criteria and not, as usual, according to epochs and regions. In 1916 the natural history collection in the basement was replaced by the collection of Islamic art , ceramics and handicrafts. The ground floor contained antiques , medieval sacred art, prints and applied arts. The collection of modern art, porcelain and jewelry was housed on the upper floor. Osthaus was the first to venture into his museum presentation to take up the inner kinship between African and Oceanic "primitive art" and modern art, assumed by artists of Fauvism and Cubism and a few art theorists , among others , which also manifested the Folkwang Museum's pioneering role.

The building of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen now houses the Osthaus Museum Hagen , in April 2005

This kind of presentation and the support of modern art by Osthaus received positive feedback from the artists of these styles; Some members of the artist groups Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter maintained close contact with Osthaus, who acquired their works and supported them through exhibitions. After consulting with Henry van de Velde, Osthaus bought works by Belgian and French painters and sculptors such as Georg Minne , Constantin Meunier and Théo van Rysselberghe . He acquired the painting The Kiss by Maurice Denis , which was one of the painter's first works in a public German collection. With the painting Seine near St. Cloud by Paul Signac , the Folkwang Museum was the first German institution to purchase a work by this French neo-impressionist . Osthaus maintained close contact with a number of artists such as Christian Rohlfs , who moved into an apartment and studio on the first floor of the museum building in 1902 and worked there. Other artists such as Jan Thorn-Prikker , Milly Steger , Emil Rudolf Weiß and Moissey Kogan were brought from Osthaus to Hagen to the Folkwang Museum in order to liven up the cultural landscape of the city. The museum's founder made trips to Auguste Rodin , Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir , among others , where he acquired works directly from them. In 1908 Henri Matisse came to Hagen to visit the Folkwang Museum. These personal relationships contributed to the expansion of the collection, but ended with the death of Karl Ernst Osthaus in March 1921.

Continuation in Essen

Vincent van Gogh's painting Rhonebarken from 1888 was one of the outstanding acquisitions of the Kunstmuseum Essen

Osthaus' life's work in Hagen fell apart. Ernst Fuhrmann , head of the Folkwang publishing house founded in 1919 and administrator of the Osthaus estate, contacted Ernst Gosebruch from the Essen Municipal Art Museum in 1922 and offered him the purchase of the Folkwang Museum collection. Fuhrmann thus fulfilled the testamentary stipulation that the collection should be kept together. Gosebruch had headed the Essen museum since 1909, was close friends with Osthaus and had also dedicated himself to modern art. Under his leadership, the Essen house acquired the Rhonebarken from Vincent van Gogh in 1912 . In 1917 Hans Goldschmidt donated his villa at Bismarckstraße 98 to the art museum, where the museum then presented its collection. After the estate administrator of Karl Ernst Osthaus approached Gosebruch, the Folkwang Museum Association, to which citizens and companies of the city belonged and which financed the acquisition of the collection for 15 million marks , was founded at his instigation . It is thanks to the initiative of this association that the collection of the Museum Folkwang could be kept together. With the sale, the collection was removed from the overall context of Osthaus' life reform work, so the focus shifted to the presentation of art, which had meanwhile become established. The keys were handed over in Hagen on June 7, 1922, and the holdings were then brought to Essen. The difficulty turned out to be that there was a lack of professional structures in Hagen and therefore no inventory was made. Because of this, the protection of the exhibited objects was neglected and some works were considered to have disappeared. As a result, the holdings of the Essen museum were merged with the 99 paintings, 43 sculptures, objects of the arts and crafts, drawings and graphics taken over from Hagen. On October 29, 1922, the museum was opened under the name Museum Folkwang in the Goldschmidt villas in Essen on Bismarckstrasse, after Hans Goldschmidt had convinced his brother Karl Goldschmidt to donate his house to the museum as well.

In 1924 the Essener Kunstverein was renamed the Kunstverein Folkwang and today it is known as the Kunstring Folkwang . A year later, the museum board of trustees decided to build a new museum building. The design came from the architect Edmund Koerner , who included the two Goldschmidt villas in the planning. Construction work began in 1926 and lasted until 1929. In 1927 the museum allowed the Essen technical school for music, dance and language and the crafts and arts and crafts school to be renamed the Folkwang School . After the opening of the new museum building in 1929, Director Gosenbruch received great encouragement from museum colleagues. For example, the director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg, Max Sauerlandt , wrote to Gosenbruch: “You have set up a new type of contemporary museum in the purest sense.” A studio was set up in the new building by the photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch used. In addition, Gosebruch engaged Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Oskar Schlemmer for the artistic design of the ballroom and rotunda. In doing so, he continued the direct promotion of artistic production that Osthaus had operated. Under the direction of Gosebruch, the Folkwang Museum also maintained Osthaus' committed exhibition policy. The director also added numerous new acquisitions to the collection, including the painting The Singer Jean Baptiste Faure as Hamlet by Édouard Manet in 1927. With this acquisition at the latest, hostilities against the museum and its director from the right-wing political camp began because in the Too many French works were represented in the collection.

time of the nationalsocialism

Wassily Kandinsky: Improvisation 28 (1912), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , New York

After the takeover of the Nazis in 1933 which called Militant League for German Culture dismissal Ernst Gosebruchs, which was rejected by the board of trustees. At the end of 1933 the director resigned from his position. His successor, Klaus Graf von Baudissin , who professed the National Socialist ideology of art and was radically opposed to modern art, took office on January 24, 1934. This occupation was enforced by the National Socialists against the will of the Folkwang Museum Association. Shortly after he became director, Baudissin had a large number of modern and abstract exhibits removed from the exhibition and transferred to the magazine. Some of the works were presented in an exhibition room as a collection of frightening counterexamples to system-accepted art. Under Baudissin, the museum's collection lost important works. First he sold, for example, Improvisation 28 by Wassily Kandinsky , then a total of 1,400 modern works were confiscated in 1937 as part of the “ Degenerate Art ” campaign. The director himself played a leading role in this confiscation, which robbed the Museum Folkwang of almost all of its modern collections. Of the works of modern art, only a few sheets by Matisse and Picasso, as well as works of impressionism, remained in the museum. Some of the confiscated works were presented in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich in 1937 and in the subsequent traveling exhibition, and some were sold abroad as part of the “Degenerate Art” exploitation. A total of 18 works went into the exhibition, including four by Emil Nolde and seven by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner . In 1939, Galerie Fischer in Lucerne auctioned eight works from the Museum Folkwang's collection, including André Derain's View from the Window and River Landscape by Henri Matisse , both of which are now in the Kunstmuseum Basel . The St. Louis Art Museum bought the bathers with a turtle that Matisse had also painted.

In 1938, the new Lord Mayor of Essen, Just Dillgardt , took a leave of absence after consulting the Board of Trustees and the Museum Association, Klaus Graf von Baudissin, who was replaced by his assistant Heinz Köhn . The reason for this step were the differences that had repeatedly arisen between Baudissin and the museum environment since 1934. Baudissin resisted this decision by the city of Essen, but was ultimately unable to prevail. As a result, Köhn tried to keep the collection away from further damage. During the Second World War in 1941 and 1942, Köhn acquired several paintings from galleries in occupied Paris, including works by Gustave Courbet , Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Charles-François Daubigny . In 1942, the remaining museum holdings were relocated to protect them from damage. The museum building was damaged in air raids in 1944 and completely destroyed on March 11, 1945.

After the Second World War to the present

On December 15, 1947, the first meeting of the museum board of trustees took place after the war. The city of Essen and the Folkwang Museum Association decided to rebuild the museum, the outsourced works were transferred to the Hugenpoet Castle in Kettwig , where they were also exhibited again. The management of the museum remained with Heinz Köhn. In 1948, the museum returned the paintings it had acquired in Paris during the war to France. Two partially restored exhibition rooms on Bismarckstrasse were opened to the public again in 1950. The decision to build a new Museum Folkwang was made in 1954 and started in 1956 according to plans by Erich Hösterey , Werner Kreutzberger and Horst Loy . Under Köhn, the restoration of the museum collection began after the losses during the dictatorship of National Socialism. In 1957 he acquired all of the prints as well as drawings and watercolors from Christian Rohlfs , and further additions to the graphic collection, which had been particularly troubled, followed. One of the repurchased painting was the hat shop of August Macke , which returned to the Museum Folkwang 1,953th In 1960 the new building of the Folkwang Museum was opened.

Heinz Köhn died in 1962, and Paul Vogt succeeded him as director of the museum a year later . He continued the restoration of the collection begun by Köhn and was able to re-acquire some important works that had been removed from the collection in 1937. One example is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's dancing couple . In addition, with his acquisition policy, he managed to connect the collection to art after the Second World War with acquisitions of works of Abstract Expressionism . However, under his leadership the museum also acquired both Monet works in the collection. In 1970, the Folkwang Museum Association financed the preliminary planning for an extension. Eight years later, thanks to the provision of funds from the “ Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation ”, the actual planning for this building could begin. In 1978 the city also decided to set up a museum center, which included the extension of the Folkwang Museum and the new Ruhrland Museum . In the following year, the photographic collection of the Folkwang School of Design in Essen-Werden , founded in 1958 by Otto Steinert , was incorporated into the Folkwang Museum as an independent department. The construction of the museum extension, which began in 1981, was completed in 1983. In 1988 Georg W. Költzsch replaced Paul Vogt as director.

Crowds of visitors on the first day of the opening weekend 30./31. January 2010.

Extensive renovation work was carried out on the old building during Költzsch's term of office. This began in 1996 under the direction of the architecture office Allerkamp and Niehaus and the building construction department of the city of Essen. In 1998 the cafeteria and the entrance area were redesigned. The following year the collections reopened to the public. Under his leadership, however, lost works in the collection, such as Emil Nolde's Still Life with a Wooden Figure, could be repurchased in 1994. He also entered into collaborations with sponsors such as Ruhrgas , Sparkasse Essen and Hochtief , who co-financed large special exhibitions. In addition, a special association for the photography department was founded in 1999. In 2003, Hubertus Gaßner took over from Költzsch as director of the Folkwang Museum. He was followed by Hartwig Fischer from 2006 to 2012 . Also in 2006, Berthold Beitz , chairman of the board of trustees of the “Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation”, announced that the foundation is financing a new building for the Folkwang Museum. David Chipperfield emerged as the winner of the international architectural competition on March 13, 2007 . The foundation agreed with this jury decision. In early July 2007 the museum was closed and construction began. The topping-out ceremony for the new building took place in autumn 2008 and was officially opened on January 28, 2010 as part of the RUHR.2010 Capital of Culture year .

From January 1, 2013, the Swiss art historian Tobia Bezzola succeeded Hartwig Fischer in running the Folkwang Museum. In February 2015 it became known that a municipal company, GVE Grundstücksverwaltung Stadt Essen GmbH (GVE), had misappropriated reserves for the operation of the Folkwang Museum. In the course of the new museum building, the city committed itself to set aside 2.1 million euros annually for maintenance at the GVE. When the costs for the new construction of the Essen stadium got out of hand, GVE withdrew six million euros from this trust fund from 2010 and used it for the stadium construction. The misappropriated funds were soon returned in full by the city of Essen to the relevant GVE fund.

The Folkwang Museum received special attention across Germany at the end of June 2015 when it became the first major German museum to offer free entry to its permanent exhibition. This has become possible thanks to the five-year support from the Krupp Foundation. In the first few months, the free entry resulted in a tripling of the number of visitors to the museum's collection. At the end of 2017, Tobia Bezzola left the museum to take part as the new director of the Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI) in Lugano from the beginning of 2018. The director of the Museum Folkwang has been the curator and art historian Peter Gorschlüter , who has completely re-hung the museum's permanent exhibition since July 1, 2018 . The traditional chronological hanging has been replaced by a thematic hanging on an anchor mechanism. It was originally set up as such by the founder of the collection. In addition, those images that were the restitution could be subject, accompanied by a restitution table showing the current state of provenance Show -Research. In 2020 the museum was voted Museum of the Year by AICA Germany .


Picture of the old entrance area, photo taken in 2004

Today's Folkwang Museum was built between 1956 and 1960 in place of the previous buildings destroyed in the war. This new museum building was next to that of the Duisburg Lehmbruck Museum one of the most important of this time in Germany. The building complex consists of a two-story administration building and a single-story exhibition building. The exhibition rooms are grouped around two inner courtyards. They receive their natural light partly through skylights and partly from floor-to-ceiling windows. The two inner courtyards are connected by a garden room, which also connects the exhibition rooms. The courtyard surrounds are completely glazed, which creates a transparent effect of the room. Next to the exhibition wing, connected by a glass entrance hall, is the administration building clad with basalt lava . It also houses the library, collection rooms and an auditorium. Despite some renovations, the architecture of this museum building has been almost completely preserved. The importance of the building results from its status as a symbol for the reconnection to modern art after the time of National Socialism. It is an example of modern museum architecture in the Federal Republic of Germany and shows the link between architecture and exhibition design in the 1950s.

In 1981 an extension was added to the museum building (Architects Allerkamp, ​​Niehaus, Skornia), which also housed the Ruhrland Museum . The limited exhibition space led to the decision in 2006 to build a new extension. On August 24, 2006, the “ Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation ” announced that it would finance this new building for the Folkwang Museum with 55 million euros. After the architectural competition, in mid-March 2007 the jury voted in favor of the first prize winner, the renowned British architect David Chipperfield , who had also drawn up the master plan for Berlin's Museum Island . The chairman of the board of trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, Berthold Beitz , and the city of Essen agreed to this recommendation . The architecture firm Adjaye Associates won the second prize . The jury particularly praised Chipperfield's respect for the heritage-protected old building of the museum, whose architecture was reflected in the six tall cubic structures that are connected to one another by inner courtyards. The concepts of the large windows and the inner courtyards adopted from the old building make it possible to present the art objects in natural light, where this is possible for conservation reasons. "The visitor follows the course of the day in these rooms and experiences how lively art reacts to light and how strongly natural light in its various states supports and promotes our perception." In the new, 1400 m² exhibition room, a special shed roof construction provides this natural lighting if the hall for exhibitions is divided by partition walls. The new building offers the museum an additional usable area of ​​16,000 m², so that the entire museum has an exhibition area of ​​7,000 m². The connection to the listed old building erected in 1960 is at ground level. The views out and through the large windows and atria should enable the visitor to orientate himself. David Chipperfield: "In a museum you want to lose yourself and indulge in immersion, but you also want to be able to orientate yourself."

The new building was built in autumn 2007 on the area of ​​the extension that was inaugurated in 1983 and which was demolished. Construction was completed in November 2009. The official reopening took place on January 28, 2010, when Essen became part of the Ruhr 2010 Capital of Culture .


The Museum Folkwang's collection includes around 600 paintings , 280 sculptures , around 12,000 graphics , over 50,000 photographs and handicraft objects , including ceramics from more than 2000 years. The focus is on modern and contemporary art , which are represented with many of their styles such as impressionism , expressionism , late impressionism , abstract expressionism and new figuration .


The painting collection of the Museum Folkwang comprises around 600 works from the 19th century , modern and contemporary art . The collection goes back to acquisitions by the museum's founder Osthaus and the City Art Museum in Essen . The museum lost most of its modern works through confiscation and sale or destruction during the Nazi era. After the Second World War, the directors of the Museum Folkwang, Heinz Köhn and Paul Vogt, were able to buy back works previously classified as “degenerate art” and acquire other outstanding works as compensation for lost works of art. This is how one of the leading collections for German and French painting of the 19th and 20th centuries was created in Germany. In addition, other contemporary art movements were added to the collection.

The oldest paintings in the Museum Folkwang's collection date from the Classicism era . Examples of works from this period are the two landscape paintings The Franziskushöhle by Jakob Philipp Hackert and View from the Grave of Virgil over the city of Naples with the Castel Sant'Elmo by Franz Ludwig Catel . With the 1,814-painted landscape at Pichelswerder is also Karl Friedrich Schinkel , the seminal figure of classicism in Prussia, represented in the collection Folkwang. The collection of the German Romantic period includes paintings such as Landscape with the Rainbow and Woman in Front of the Setting Sun by Caspar David Friedrich , as well as Easter Walk and Early People by Carl Gustav Carus . Also by Carus comes the picture High Mountains from around 1824 , which is an idealized representation of Mont Blanc with its glaciers, as well as a work by Eugen Bracht . The portrait painting of realism is represented in the collection of the Museum Folkwang by The Lady in Gray by Wilhelm Trübner and the portrait of Mrs. Government Councilor H. by Wilhelm Leibl . Exemplary works of symbolism are Mord im Schloss and Pan im Kinderreigen by Arnold Böcklin , and Spring by Ferdinand Hodler .

In addition to German painting, the museum has a rich inventory of French art from the 19th century. As an example of the Barbizon school , the museum shows Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot's painting The Feast of Bacchus ; Gustave Courbet's paintings The Oraguay Rock and The Wave stand for realism in France . Impressionism can be seen in the collection with paintings of some of its main exponents. By Claude Monet a painting of the series belonged Rouen Cathedral and an image of the lily pond to the museum. The paintings Lise with the Parasol by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and The Singer Jean-Baptiste Faure as Hamlet by Édouard Manet are among the outstanding works in the collection. The picture The Bibémus Quarry by Paul Cézanne is an example of the works that were sold abroad by the National Socialists to obtain foreign currency. This particularly heavy loss was compensated for in 1967 by purchasing the painting again. The Museum Folkwang owns four works by the post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin , including Woman with a Fan and Breton Tang collectors . Another representative of this style in the collection is Vincent van Gogh , of whom among others the portrait Armand Roulin and the landscape The Harvest. Cornfield with reapers can be seen. Pointillism is also represented in the museum's collection through the painting The Seine at Saint-Cloud by Paul Signac . The Folkwang Museum also owns works such as Still Life with Asphodel by Henri Matisse and Bottle, Guitar and Pipe by Pablo Picasso, as well as paintings from Fauvism and Cubism . In addition to Picasso, there are also Cubist works by Robert Delaunay such as a picture from the series The Eiffel Tower in the museum. The surrealism is about by René Magritte image of revelers represented in the collection.

The Folkwang Museum owns numerous works of German modern painting. An example of German Impressionism is the painting Der Papagaienmann by Max Liebermann , in which the latter particularly complied with the ideals of this style. By Lovis Corinth is the picture Thomas in armor that shows his son to see. Paula Modersohn-Becker's self-portrait with a camellia branch is an example of early Expressionism in the Museum Folkwang 's collection . Further exhibits of Expressionism include the painting Hat Shop by August Macke , as well as the pictures Seated Nude on Orange Cloth , Leipziger Strasse with Electric Train and The Red Tower in Halle by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner . Other expressionist paintings in the collection are by Emil Nolde , Erich Heckel , Ludwig Meidner , Otto Müller and Christian Rohlfs . In addition, the Folkwang Museum shows, among other things, the Kurische Nehrung, Nidden by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff , Elbe landscape in Dresden by Oskar Kokoschka and Flowing Forms by Franz Marc . In addition to Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, two other painters from the artist group “ Der Blaue Reiter ”, are represented in the museum's collection with a few works. With a winter landscape with stars and a bathing boy , the museum also shows works by the Norwegian Edvard Munch .

The painting Portrait of Mrs. Martha Dix , painted by Otto Dix , together with Franz Radziwill's painting The Fall of Death by Franz Radziwill, represent the New Objectivity in the collection of the Museum Folkwang. Other artists of the 1920s and 1930s who represented Dadaism , Surrealism , Constructivism or completely independent artistic positions and whose works can be seen in Essen are Max Ernst , Max Beckmann , Piet Mondrian , Marc Chagall and Willi Baumeister . With The Pharmacist of Ampurias in Search of Absolutely Nothing from 1936, the museum also owns a work by one of the main exponents of Surrealism, Salvador Dalí .

Post-war painting is represented in the museum collection by various artists. For example, the works Two Sided Painting by Jackson Pollock , KSI by Morris Louis and Prometheus Bound by Barnett Newman can be seen. Otto Piene , a co-founder of the artist group ZERO , is represented with Sensibilité prussienne , along with Günther Uecker and Lucio Fontana, other artists associated with this group. Several works by Ernst Wilhelm Nay , one of the most important representatives of abstract painting in post-war Germany, and Georg Baselitz belong to the Museum Folkwang. With Tomlinson Court Park I by Frank Stella , a work from the 21-part series of black stripe pictures can be seen in Essen. Another example of contemporary painting in the Folkwang Museum is the cloud picture, No. 265 by Gerhard Richter .


The Museum Folkwang's collection includes around 280 sculptures. The French sculptor Auguste Rodin , whom the museum's founder Osthaus himself visited in Paris, is represented in the collection with his works Eva , The Bronze Age , The Crouching Girl and Faun and Nymph . The Eva is part of the complex of works unfinished gates of hell and was designed by Rodin after their expulsion from paradise shown. He did without the usual attributes like apple and snake. The sandal binder by Louis Tuaillon represents a modern reception of a classic pose since antiquity. The Museum Folkwang owns the sculpture Boy with Hose and the marble fountain with kneeling boys from the Belgian sculptor George Minne , which was made in 1905/1906 in the entrance hall of the Hagener Museum had been set up. The German sculptors are represented in the collection by Wilhelm Lehmbruck with his standing female figure , which, in contrast to Rodin's anticlassical works, he conceived as a classical female figure . The painted wooden figure standing girl is by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , the crouching one made of lime wood by Erich Heckel . Cubist sculpture is also represented in the Museum Folkwang's collection with an untitled work of painted plaster by Alexander Archipenko . The head in brass by Rudolf Belling is a head composed of abstract forms, the effect of which also results on the reflective material. An example of the contemporary sculpture in the collection is the figure Stahlfrau Nr. 11 by Thomas Schütte from 2002.


The graphic collection of the Museum Folkwang comprises 12,000 drawings , watercolors and prints . The oldest works date from the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, including works by artists such as Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki , who were still stylistically based on the Baroque and had already devoted themselves to bourgeois art. The romance is about by Caspar David Friedrich's work The reason Uttenwalder represented in the collection, the classicism example, by Joseph Anton Koch with the drawing Landscape with Hercules at the Crossroads . The heroic landscapes of Koch were followed by realistic depictions by artists such as Franz Krüger and Adolph Menzel and poetic, ironic depictions by Carl Spitzweg , Ludwig Richter and Moritz von Schwind . The focus of Museum Folkwang on 19th century graphics goes back to a donation of an extensive Ludwig Richter collection by Karl Budde to the Essen Art Museum in 1906. This was subsequently supplemented, especially during the period of the Third Reich, when collection activities in the modern area could not be continued.

Ernst Gosebruch significantly expanded the Museum Folkwang's collection of graphics by acquiring modern works. The expressionist prints and drawings are particularly represented by numerous works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde , as well as drawings from impressionism . During the Nazi era, 1200 works were expropriated from this collection, almost the entire modern inventory. However, some prints by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso remained in the museum. After the Second World War, the directors replaced the loss of the collection with their purchase policy. In 1957, the museum acquired all of the prints, drawings and watercolors by Christian Rohlfs . Almost all of Erich Heckel's prints were also purchased in the 1960s. The Museum Folkwang has collected abstract graphics from contemporary art. Most recently, the collection received significant growth through a donation by Jim Dine , who donated a group of more than 200 graphic works to the museum in 2015.


The Folkwang Museum's photographic collection goes back to the collecting activities of Otto Steinert , who took over the photography class at the Folkwang School in 1959. In 1961 he was able to induce the city of Essen to build up a collection of photographs. Steinert acquired numerous 19th century architectural photographs and portraits by Robert Adamson and David Octavius ​​Hill . After Steinert's death in 1978, the collection came to the Folkwang Museum, where the director Paul Vogt used it as the basis for establishing his own department. The museum owns numerous works by August Sander and portrait photography from the 1920s. There are also some bequests in the Folkwang Museum, including those of Helmar Lerski , Germaine Krull , Otto Steinert and Peter Keetman . The museum also supports contemporary photography through grants and prizes, which is a focus of the collection alongside the 19th century as well as the 1920s and 1950s. Ute Eskildsen headed the photography collection until 2012 . From 2012 to 2018 Florian Ebner was head of the photographic collection. On September 3, 2018, Thomas Seelig (* 1954) took over the management of the photographic collection.


The Folkwang Museum owns arts and crafts objects from Africa, Asia, Central America, the South Seas and Europe. There are also objects from antiquity , as well as textiles, tiles and glass from different epochs. This part of the museum collection goes back to Osthaus's trip to Tunisia in 1897, which aroused his interest in exhibits from the Middle East . So he started collecting Islamic ceramics. As a result, he built up a collection that was understood more as a collection of samples for the local industry and artists. A large number of objects from the South Seas, such as ceremonial shields and ancestral boards, came from Emil Nolde , who had collected them during his participation in the medical-demographic German New Guinea expedition . Another focus of this part of the collection is African art. In 1914 the Folkwang Museum acquired items from the Leo Frobenius collection from the ethnological institute in Hamburg, which came to Europe in 1910 as part of the German Inner Africa Research Expedition. Two works that is representative of the African exhibits are, one of brass with iron deposits crafted head of a king "uhumnw-ELAO" from Benin and the male cult figure of the Baule> blolo bian </> asie usu < . The Museum Folkwang's Africa collection survived the Second World War without major losses, while the Ruhrland Museum recorded major losses in this area. Central and South American art is represented in the collection by Peruvian ceramics from the Moche and Nasca sites , as well as stone sculptures from today's Mexico.

The Ancient Egypt is represented by objects of different dynastic periods up to the time of the Hellenistic influence. The museum owns, among other things, the sculpture double statuette of the head of the gold deserts of Amun, Wersu - Sat-Re from the 18th dynasty , as well as other sculptures and ceramics. The collection of the Folkwang Museum also includes Greek ceramic objects such as examples of Greek vase painting , as well as Etruscan bronze work and glasses from Roman antiquity. Asia is represented by a wide variety of ceramics in the collection. There are also outstanding exhibits such as the Kuei bronze from China from the 9th century BC or the Garuda bird from the 18th and 19th centuries, which comes from the island of Java . Other pieces in the collection include sculptures from China, Japan and India, lacquer work such as writing boxes and ceramics from the Japanese tea ceremony .

The collection of textile samples includes 200 exhibits, which were originally intended primarily to be used by industry for viewing. 60 of them are Coptic textiles. This part of the collection also includes Asian fabrics and robes, as well as those from the Baroque and Rococo . The European arts and crafts are also represented in the Folkwang Museum by a large number of products such as crucifixes and statuettes. An example from this area is a Flemish eagle stand from the 14th century. The Folkwang Museum also has a collection of Art Nouveau vases , including some that Tiffany created.


The Folkwang Museum in Hagen has long been a pioneer in the field of modern art exhibitions. The museum has continued its exhibition activities in Essen and up to the present day. In 1905 the museum was the first German museum to show an exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh . In the same year there was an exhibition of paintings by Ferdinand Hodler , followed in 1906 by shows with works by Edvard Munch and Emil Nolde . After the artist group Brücke asked Osthaus about an exhibition at the Folkwang Museum in December 1906, the museum held a Brücke exhibition for the first time in the summer of 1907. In 1910 another exhibition of the bridge took place in the museum. In July 1912, the group The Blue Rider also exhibited in the museum. During this period, the Folkwang Museum showed other important exhibitions by artists such as Alexej von Jawlensky and Wassily Kandinsky . In addition to these modern art exhibitions with a focus on painting and graphics, the Museum Folkwang also presented photography exhibitions. For example, it organized an exhibition on international professional photography as early as 1903. In 1929 the Museum Folkwang presented the exhibition Photography of the Present , in 1933 Florence Henri's first solo exhibition . In addition, one of the first exhibitions of African art in Germany took place in the Folkwang Museum after the objects were acquired by the German Inner Africa Research Expedition . Even after the move to Essen and after the Second World War, the dedicated exhibition policy was continued, which extends into the present day.

Since the end of the 1980s, sponsors such as Ruhrgas AG , Sparkasse Essen and Hochtief have increasingly participated in the financing of large exhibitions. The first major exhibition financed by a sponsor was Edvard Munch in 1987. In terms of visitor numbers, the most successful exhibitions in the Folkwang Museum were Vincent van Gogh and Modernism with 505,000 visitors in 1990, and Caspar David Friedrich with 357,000 visitors in 2006 and Morosow , Schtschukin - The Russian collectors with 572,000 visitors in 1993. The exhibition, in which the important collections of the two Russian collectors were presented, took place on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of natural gas deliveries from the Soviet Union to the sponsoring company Ruhrgas . The event character of this exhibition was underscored, among other things, by the change in opening times, so that the show was open until midnight on Fridays. The exhibition Edward Hopper and Photography - The Truth of the Visible in 1992, sponsored by the Sparkasse, attracted 130,000 visitors. Bochum's Westfalenbank has also been promoting photography exhibitions since 1992 , while in 2000 RWE agreed to cooperate with the Folkwang Museum for exhibitions in the field of contemporary art.

When he took office in 2013, Tobia Bezzola announced that he would focus more on blockbuster exhibitions in order to adequately use the Chipperfield building. Starting in 2014, three or four exhibitions of national importance should be brought to Essen every year. One of these exhibitions should be dedicated to a contemporary artist, photography and classical modernism. For the realization of these exhibitions, more cooperation should also be taken with private sponsors.

In addition to exhibiting in-house, the Folkwang Museum was also represented with exhibitions overseas. For example, in 1912 the museum organized an arts and crafts exhibition in the United States. A recent exhibition was Masterpieces from the Museum Folkwang Essen , which was shown in the Nagoya City Art Museum in 1996 .

International Folkwang Prize

Since 2010, the Folkwang Museum Association has been awarding the International Folkwang Prize, endowed with 25,000 euros, for outstanding commitment to conveying art from different cultures and across borders . The first prize winner in 2010 is the Director of the British Museum (London), Neil MacGregor . He was followed in 2013 by the Swabian entrepreneur and patron Reinhold Würth . In 2017 the prize was awarded to the Nigerian exhibition organizer and art historian Okwui Enwezor , who was director of the Munich House of Art from 2011 to 2018 .

The International Folkwang Prize is awarded every two to three years in memory of Karl Ernst Osthaus .



  • Folkwang-Museumsverein (ed.): Pictures for a collection. Museum Folkwang Essen . DuMont, Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-7701-3433-8 .
  • Georg-W. Költzsch : Phoenix Folkwang. The masterpieces . DuMont-Literatur-und-Kunst-Verlag, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-8321-4994-5 .
  • Museum Folkwang (Ed.): Museum Folkwang. A school of sight . Prestel, Munich a. a. 2005, ISBN 3-7913-2994-4 .
  • Johann Georg Prince of Hohenzollern , Hubertus Gaßner (Ed.): Folkwang: First Museum of Modernity . Hirmer, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7774-2245-2 .
  • Paul Vogt: The Museum Folkwang Essen. The story of a collection of young art in the Ruhr area . DuMont, Cologne 1965.
  • Tayfun Belgin , Christoph Dorsz (Ed.): The Folkwang Impulse. The museum from 1902 until today . New Folkwang Verlag, Hagen 2012, ISBN 978-3-926242-63-9 .
  • Uwe Fleckner (ed.): Attack on the avant-garde. Art and Art Politics in National Socialism. Academy, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-05-004062-2 .
  • Andreas Lepik: The return of art to life: Karl Ernst Osthaus and the Folkwang Museum. In: Manet to van Gogh, Hugo von Tschudi and the struggle for modernity. Exhibition catalog. Prestel, Berlin / Munich 1996, ISBN 3-7913-1748-2 .
  • Folkwang Museum. Modern art - plastic - painting - graphics. Anniversary catalog 1912. Folkwang Museum publishing house, Hagen 1912.
  • Museum Folkwang (Ed.): Museum Folkwang. Masterpieces from the collection . Sieveking Verlag, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-944874-11-1 (German), ISBN 978-3-944874-12-8 (English)
  • Museum Folkwang (Ed.): Museum Folkwang. Painting & sculpture 19th - 21st century . Sieveking Verlag, Munich September 2014, ISBN 978-3-944874-09-8 (German), ISBN 978-3-944874-10-4 (English)

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Lepik: The return of art to life: Karl Ernst Osthaus and the Museum Folkwang. P. 302.
  2. Tina Burkhardt: The Folkwang Museum in Hagen (1902–1921) - The museum as a living total work of art .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) at (accessed September 26, 2009).@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.): Museum Folkwang. A school of sight . Prestel, Munich 2005, p. 19.
  4. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 17.
  5. Georg-W. Költzsch: Phoenix Folkwang. The masterpieces . DuMont-Literatur-und-Kunst-Verlag, Cologne 2002, p. 14.
  6. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 20.
  7. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 21.
  8. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 22.
  9. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Pp. 212 and 213.
  10. Georg-W. Költzsch, Cologne 2002, p. 265.
  11. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 210.
  12. Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 28.
  13. ^ Paul Vogt, The Museum Folkwang Essen. The history of a collection of young art in the Ruhr area, Cologne 1965, 53.
  14. a b Georg-W. Költzsch, p. 266.
  15. a b Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 209.
  16. ^ Paul Vogt, The Museum Folkwang Essen. The history of a collection of young art in the Ruhr area, Cologne 1965, 64–68.
  17. Georg-W. Költzsch, p. 33.
  18. Uwe Fleckner: Attack on the avant-garde. Art and Art Politics in National Socialism. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 39.
  19. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 29.
  20. Georg-W. Költzsch, pp. 46 and 47.
  21. Uwe Fleckner, Berlin 2007, p. 66.
  22. Georg-W. Költzsch, pp. 48 and 49.
  23. Georg-W. Költzsch, p. 50.
  24. Georg-W. Költzsch, p. 275.
  25. Georg-W. Költzsch, Cologne 2002, p. 268.
  26. Bertram Müller: “Folkwang wants to become more modern”, article on from June 23, 2012, accessed on September 29, 2012.
  27. Marcus Schymiczek: “Folkwang millions branched off for the Essen stadium?”, Article on from February 25, 2015, accessed on October 12, 2015.
  28. ^ Message from the Lord Mayor of Essen dated April 4, 2017 ( memo from December 28, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) at the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Museum Folkwang.
  29. Martina Schürmann: "Free entry - Folkwang becomes a pioneer in the German museum landscape", article on from June 19, 2015, accessed on October 12, 2015.
  30. dpa: “Free entry. Folkwang collection triples visitor numbers ”, article on from September 18, 2015, accessed on October 12, 2015.
  31. WAZ of June 14, 2017: MUSEUM POLICY Tobia Bezzola leaves the Folkwang Museum early , by Martina Schürmann , accessed on June 16, 2017
  32. Peter Gorschlüter becomes director of the Museum Folkwang , (dpa), February 16, 2018, accessed on February 17, 2018.
  33. AICA Germany of March 7, 2020 , accessed on March 13, 2020
  34. monopoly. Magazine for Art and Life from March 8, 2020: AICA: Art Critics Association selects museum and exhibitions of the year , accessed on March 10, 2020
  35. a b Museum Folkwang. In: arch INFORM ; accessed on September 17, 2009. (Information on the museum building).
  36. Information on the new building at . Retrieved September 18, 2009.
  37. ^ Museum Folkwang in Essen architecture competition, accessed on October 2, 2015.
  38. ^ A b Hendrik von Boxberg, Frederike Johanning-Fischer (editor): Museum Folkwang, opening of the new building. Essen, January – March 2010, p. 11.
  39. ^ Hendrik von Boxberg, Frederike Johanning-Fischer (editor): Museum Folkwang, opening of the new building. Essen, January – March 2010, p. 9ff.
  40. Information on the painting collection at . Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  41. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 50.
  42. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 73.
  43. Illustration: Robert Delaunays The Eiffel Tower , 1910/1911 . Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  44. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 68.
  45. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 194.
  46. Illustration: Frank Stellas Tomlinson Court Park I , 1959 . Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  47. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 196.
  48. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 60.
  49. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 76.
  50. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Munich 2005, p. 143.
  51. ^ Museum Folkwang (Ed.), Munich 2005, p. 221.
  52. a b Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 222.
  53. Martina Schürmann: "Jim Dine and his work full of hearts and hammers", article on from October 30, 2015, accessed on February 4, 2015.
  54. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 228.
  55. ^ City of Essen, press release from August 31, 2012, accessed on September 3, 2012.
  56. a b Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 217.
  57. a b Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 218.
  58. ^ Museum of Archeology and History, Essen-Altenessen (ed.), The Africa Collections of the Essen Museums , Essen 1985, p. 6.
  59. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 219.
  60. ^ Museum Folkwang (ed.), Pp. 23 and 24.
  61. a b Museum Folkwang (ed.), P. 225.
  62. Georg-W. Költzsch, pp. 237 and 238.
  63. Georg-W. Költzsch, pp. 242 and 243.
  64. Georg-W. Költzsch, pp. 261 and 262.
  65. Martina Schürmann: "Museum Folkwang -" We want to make more offers "", article on from January 19, 2013, accessed on January 25, 2013.
  66. Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (KStA) Newsticker from April 30, 2013: International Folkwang Prize for Reinhold Würth (dpa / lnw) , accessed on April 30, 2013.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on November 22, 2009 in this version .

Coordinates: 51 ° 26 ′ 30 ″  N , 7 ° 0 ′ 15 ″  E