Wiesbaden Museum

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Wiesbaden Museum
Museum Wiesbaden 2019.jpg
Front view of the museum (2019)
place Wiesbaden
Art and Natural History Museum
architect Theodor Fischer
opening 1920
ISIL DE-MUS-145811

The Wiesbaden Museum in the Hessian state capital Wiesbaden is one of the five Hessian state museums , along with the houses in Kassel and Darmstadt and the Hesse State Archaeological Museum with the locations Keltenwelt am Glauberg and Römerkastell Saalburg . It is a two-part house for art and nature.


Portrait of Johann Isaak von Gerning , oil painting by Angelika Kauffmann, 1798
Prepared birds in the Wiesbaden Museum, by Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied .

The foundation of the original three museums goes to the citizens of the city and 1814/1815 in Wiesbaden for cure was staying Johann Wolfgang von Goethe back, who had very worked towards the establishment of such a cultural institution. In 1825 he induced the Frankfurt private collector Johann Isaac Freiherr von Gerning to make his extensive collections of works of art, antiquities and natural objects available to the Duchy of Nassau against payment of an annuity. Under the responsibility of the newly founded associations, but controlled by the ducal government, the citizens of Wiesbaden and the region were able to quickly expand these collections.

Together with the pieces from the Society for Nassau Antiquity and Historical Research, which had existed since 1812, three originally independent museums emerged. In addition to the Society for Nassau Antiquities and Historical Research, the sponsors of these museums were the Nassau Society for Natural History and the Nassau Art Society . With the death of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm (Nassau-Weilburg) in 1816, the Erbprinzenpalais built for his son on Wilhelmstrasse was now available for other purposes. In contrast to other cities, spaces for the cultural assets that were also collected by the citizens could be found at a very early stage. The three museums and the state library were able to move into the palace from 1821, which is now the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry .

The building became too small as early as the middle of the 19th century due to lively collecting activities and new acquisitions. The call for a new building grew louder and louder.

After the three museums came under Prussian control in 1866, the city of Wiesbaden took over these facilities in 1899. This change also met with general approval because Wiesbaden had sufficient means to promote culture at the end of the 19th century.

According to plans by the architect Theodor Fischer , the foundation stone was laid in 1913 for a new building with three wings on the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Rheinstrasse . The Mons banker's villa, which housed the reception building of the Ludwigsbahnhof until 1906, had previously stood there . The interior design of the three houses was significantly influenced by the three directors and the custodians, as there were different needs.

The painting gallery was opened first on October 1, 1915 . In the same year, the Natural Science Collection was also able to move into the new building, but it was not until after the end of the First World War that the Natural Science Museum and the Museum of Nassau Antiquities reopened on July 15, 1920 .

Half of the picture gallery was intended to be used for changing exhibitions that were carried out by the Nassauischer Kunstverein in the 1920s and early 1930s . During this time, Wiesbaden citizens also contributed to important additions to the collections. The natural science collections showed in particular systematic exhibitions on geology, paleontology and biology. For the first time, ecological aspects were also presented.

During the Second World War , the building was partly used for military purposes. With a few exceptions, the collections survived the war unscathed. However, the exhibitions were dismantled and most of the showcases were damaged. After renovation, the rooms were only able to regain their actual task slowly. There was another reason for this delay: the Americans who moved into Wiesbaden after 1945 turned the museum into a central collecting point . Temporary art treasures were shown, such as the bust of Nefertiti or the painting The Man with the Gold Helmet, then attributed to Rembrandt .

After their return, a collection was built up again from the 1950s with very economical means. Clemens Weiler , the then director of the art museum, played a key role in building up the Alexej von Jawlensky collection, which is the most important collection in the house today. The Natural Science Museum was largely rebuilt by Friedrich Heineck, who was relieved of his offices during the war. In particular, the biomes should be presented in the exhibitions . The reconstruction was not completely successful, also because rooms were still being used by other people (for example by an American library and a municipal archive).

In 1973 the three museums came into the possession of the State of Hesse . Since then, they have been united in a three-part house, the Wiesbaden Museum. The Nassauischer Kunstverein, which until then had been housed in the museum, was relocated to the historic villa at Wilhelmstrasse 15 in the immediate vicinity. From 1987 to 2010 Volker Rattemeyer was director of the museum. Under his leadership, in 2007 it was voted “ Museum of the Year ” by the International Association of Art Critics AICA . From 2010 to summer 2019, Alexander Klar was director of the museum.

From 1994 to 1997 the Kassel architects Schultze and Schulze completely renovated the rooms of the art collection, from 2003 to 2006 the roofs, the entrance area and the lecture hall and opened up new exhibition rooms for the art collection. From 2007 to 2012 the north and south wings were renovated. The natural history collection has been shown in the north wing since 2013. The Nassau Antiquities Collection (SNA) is now on display in the SAM City Museum on the market . In the now vacant south wing, the old masters are presented in connection with contemporary art: The chronological sequence has been given up in favor of rooms on the subjects of 'religion', 'portrait', 'mythology', 'still life' and 'landscape'.

Was restituted by the museum in 2014 after extensive provenance research and then in the major Wiesbaden campaign
, turning it around! reacquired: Hans von Marées : Die Labung , 1880

Since 2015, the museum has been the headquarters of the central office for provenance research in the State of Hesse, after the Wiesbaden Museum had repeatedly acquired a good reputation for processing its own collection history through its return practice and the subsequent reacquisition of works of art. Nevertheless, there was also criticism of the decision not to locate the position at a university.

In 2017, the museum received the Ferdinand Wolfgang Neess Collection, an important Art Nouveau and Symbolism collection, which will be presented permanently in the south wing of the building from June 29, 2019.

Directors of art

Art collection

Carl Spitzweg : The butterfly catcher , around 1840
Ludwig Knaus : Self-Portrait with a Palette , 1890
Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin : Portrait of Marianne Werefkin , 1888, former
Ernst Alfred Aye collection
Gustave Moreau : Young Thracian with the head of Orpheus , around 1875
Charles-Amable Lenoir: La Mort de Sapho , before 1896
Heinrich Vogeler : Homecoming , 1898
Wilhelm Bernatzik : Entrance to Paradise , around 1903
Alexej von Jawlensky : Lady with a Fan , 1909
Alexej von Jawlensky: Nikita , 1910
Marianne von Werefkin : Shingle factory , 1910
Lovis Corinth : Walchensee, on the terrace , 1923

The art collection goes back to the former collection of Johann Isaak von Gerning from Frankfurt. Purchases, donations and loans have made the art collection one of the most important in Germany, especially in the 19th and 20th century.

The Wiesbaden Museum endeavors to identify Nazi-looted art in its own holdings and, if necessary, to return it to the rightful heirs. In October 2014, the museum therefore launched a spectacular campaign entitled “Wiesbaden is turning the corner!”. The painting Die Labung by Hans von Marées , looted by the Nazi regime in 1935 , came into the museum's possession in 1980. It was still shown as part of this campaign, but now only the back. It was not until the beginning of November that enough money had already been collected through donations for the now legal purchase that the painting could be turned over again.

Sculpture Collection

The sculptures do not play a significant role in the art collection. However, some interesting works are represented. The French sculpture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is presented with a work by one of its main representatives, Aristide Maillol's Bathers . The German sculptors of the first half of the 20th century are represented by Max Klinger ( portrait bust of Friedrich Nietzsche , around 1910), Franz von Stuck , Georg Kolbe , Wilhelm Lehmbruck , Gerhard Marcks, Emy Roeder and Ernst Barlach ( Death , 1925).

Graphic collection

Compared to the painting collection, the graphic collection is less important. Works before 1800 are only sparse. In the 19th century, however, there are a few sheets, including by Ludwig Knaus , Arnold Böcklin , Hans von Marées and Max Slevogt . In the first half of the 20th century, the Expressionists stood out, especially Alexej von Jawlensky (see Jawlensky Collection ), who were excellently represented with drawings, woodcuts and lithographs . Mention should be made of prints by Brücke artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , Erich Heckel or Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and works by the artists around the Der Blaue Reiter editorial team . Works by Franz Marc , August Macke and above all Wassily Kandinsky's watercolor All Saints (1910) from the Hanna Bekker vom Rath collection deserve special mention . But there are also works by other artists of the time such as Edvard Munch , Otto Dix , Oskar Kokoschka , Käthe Kollwitz and Pablo Picasso . The graphics of the Constructivists, to be mentioned are László Moholy-Nagy , the artist couple Robert Michel and Ella Bergmann-Michel and Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart , form a further focus. The graphic collection of art after 1945 is very extensive, which is why only a few names are mentioned here. The informal graphic is represented by works by Karl Otto Götz , Otto Greis and Bernard Schultze . Further sheets from the 1940s and 1950s come from Willi Baumeister , HAP Grieshaber and above all from the extensive Ernst Wilhelm Nay collection. Work by Sol LeWitt shows minimalist tendencies . The art of Pop Art is represented by Thomas Bayrle, among others.

Collection of the Old Masters

Compared to the collection of the 19th and 20th centuries, the “Old Masters” are rather rare in the Museum Wiesbaden. The focus is on Italian and Dutch artists from the 15th century. The most important Italians are Prospero Fontana , Alberto Piazza da Lodi ( Master of the Wiesbaden Visitation ), Domenico Tintoretto , Marietta Robusti , Sebastiano del Piombo , Luca Giordano , Francesco Solimena and Sebastiano Ricci .

Dutch painting is done by artists such as Joos van Cleve ( Christ Child with Bunch of Grapes ), Albrecht Bouts , Otto van Veen , Joos de Momper , Frans Floris , Roelant Savery , Gerard van Honthorst , Willem van de Velde , Willem van de Velde , Jan Lievens , Frans Snyders ( still life ) and Nicolaes Berchem represented.

German late Gothic and Renaissance art is represented by the Master of the Heisterbach Altarpiece, Master of the Holy Tribe, Lucas Cranach the Elder , Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder and Hans Muelich . The German art of baroque and classicism by Johann Conrad Seekatz , Januarius Zick , Nicolas Treu, Johann Georg Platzer and Angelika Kauffmann ( portrait of Johann Isaak von Gerning , 1798). English painting is represented by Joshua Reynolds .

19th century collection

The 19th century is well represented in the collection. The big names and French impressionism are missing, but a broad overview for this era is guaranteed. Starting with artists such as Wilhelm von Kobell and Carl Morgenstern as well as Georg Waldmueller, German genre painting is particularly well represented. Ludwig Knaus from Wiesbaden , who was synonymous with Adolph von Menzel in his time , is represented here more than in any other museum. His walk in the Tuileries Gardens (around 1855) is an early approach to Impressionism, from which he later moved away. The Düsseldorf School of Painting is represented by several works by the brothers Andreas Achenbach and Oswald Achenbach . The Deutschrömer - German artists who lived and worked in Rome - are represented by Anselm Feuerbach (painting Nanna , 1861), Arnold Böcklin and Hans von Marées . Even Karl Friedrich Lessing and Johann Wilhelm Schirmer are represented. Carl Spitzweg (painting The Butterfly Catcher ) (around 1840), Wilhelm von Kaulbach , Franz von Lenbach and Franz von Stuck formed the opposite pole as representatives of the Munich school . The Munich Leibl group is extensively represented, primarily by Wilhelm Trübner , but Hans Thoma , Carl Schuch and Otto Scholderer are also represented with paintings in the collection. The French Realism is with works by Gustave Courbet and Jean-François Millet and Charles-François Daubigny presented, the Russian realism through the work of Jawlensky teacher Ilya Repin from the collection of Ernst Alfred Aye . The collection of this century closes with the works of the main representatives of German Impressionism , Max Liebermann and above all Lovis Corinth , of whom the museum has five paintings ( portrait of Frau Halbe , 1898) as well as Oskar Moll ( Havelkähne , 1907) and Christian Rohlfs.

Art Nouveau and Symbolism: Ferdinand Wolfgang Neess Collection

In 2017, the Wiesbaden Museum received the most extensive and important donation in the 200-year history of the house with the collection from Ferdinand Wolfgang Neess. After a two-year conversion phase, the collection in the south wing of the museum has been presented in ensembles as a total work of art on over 800 square meters. The collection is considered to be one of the best Art Nouveau and Symbolism collections worldwide, making the museum one of the leading houses for this era. The collection includes major works by all important artists, genres and countries. The focus is on the works of German Art Nouveau , French Art Nouveau and the Austrian Secession style . This includes an outstanding bundle of twelve works by Franz von Stuck , including two versions of his iconic main work Die Sünde (the so-called “Florio” version from around 1908 and the pastel version from around 1893) and the first version of the Sphinx (1901). Even Heinrich Vogeler is with his paintings Homecoming (1898) and Melusinemärchen very well represented (1901). There is also a version of the world-famous bust La Nature by Alfons Mucha (around 1900), the rare table lamp Wisteria (around 1901) by Tiffany , Young Thracian with the Head of Orpheus (around 1875) by Gustave Moreau and the Entrance to Paradise (around 1903 ) by Wilhelm Bernatzik . Numerous other top works by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones ("Temperantia", 1872), Fernand Khnopff (including "La Solitude", 1890/91), Jean Delville (including "L'Oracle à Dodone", 1896), Louis Majorelle , Émile Gallé (including the world's only intact example of the "Les Coprins" lamp, around 1902), Hector Guimard , Charles-Amable Lenoir, Henri Martin (including "Muse au crépuscule", around 1895), Bernhard Pankok , Richard Riemerschmid , Fidus , Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (including "You shall not kill", 1906), Ludwig von Hofmann , Oskar Zwintscher (including "Portrait with yellow daffodils", 1907), Wilhelm List (including "Death of St. Elisabeth", around 1905) and George Minne prove the outstanding quality and breadth of the collection. Many of the works in the collection were first presented at the legendary Paris World's Fair in 1900 .

Jawlensky Collection

Outstanding in the collection of the Museum Wiesbaden are the works of the Russian artist Alexej von Jawlensky , who spent the last twenty years of his life in Wiesbaden. With 57 paintings and 35 graphics, the museum has the largest collection by this artist besides the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena . The collection includes early works such as the still life with jug and book (around 1902), many expressive main works such as Lady with a Fan (1909), Nikita (1910) or Self-Portrait (1912) and, above all, many works of the pictures in series, such as the Variations Von Frühling, Glück und Sonne (1917) or the Abstract Heads such as Head in Red-White-Gold (1927) and the meditations My Spirit Will Live On (1935). Among the still lifes outstanding the painting Still Life with black vase painted (1910) and the landscapes that Jawlensky, the work Blue Mountains (1912). The collection of graphics includes lithographs such as Reclining Female Nude (1912) and drawings such as Konstantinowka with a tilted head (around 1912). Most recently, the collection was expanded to include eleven paintings and three drawings from the Hanna Bekker vom Rath collection in 1987, including the portrait of Marianne von Werefkin from 1906.

Expressionists and the Hanna Bekker vom Rath collection

Even before the Second World War, the Wiesbaden Museum owned an important collection of works by the Expressionists. In addition, the collection of the Wiesbaden art collector and patron Heinrich Kirchhoff was regularly exhibited, with which many modern works could be shown. With the seizure of the National Socialists under the title “ Degenerate Art ”, all modern works were removed from the museum, so that you had to start over after the war. High- quality works by Paula Modersohn-Becker , Otto Mueller (painting of lovers , 1925), Emil Nolde , Walter Jacob, Conrad Felixmüller (painting of Kirchhoff family portrait , 1920), Karl Hofer and above all by Jawlensky's companion Marianne von Werefkin (painting of a shingle factory , around 1910). In addition, a work by the Russian Natalja Goncharova was purchased . A milestone in the history of the art collection was the acquisition of a large part of the Hanna Bekker vom Rath collection . With this collection, the museum received not only eleven paintings and three drawings by Jawlensky, but 16 other works of classical modernism . Graphics by Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke as well as one painting each by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel (painting Mask in front of Bushbuck fur , 1913), Adolf Hölzel , Ida Kerkovius , Willi Baumeister and Ernst Wilhelm Nay have enriched the collection since then. There are also five paintings by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, including the painting Self-Portrait from 1919 and two paintings by Max Beckmann , including the famous portrait of a female nude with a dog (1927). After this great enrichment, further, individual works from this collection were acquired, above all Jawlensky's painting Savior's Face: Resting Light from 1921.

Constructive artist

Constructive art is a focus in the collection. Although some of the big names are missing, the collection still offers a good overview. Represented in this are, among others, László Moholy-Nagy with the painting Architektur III , (1920), Erich Buchholz, Walter Dexel and the post-war artists Klaus Staudt , Günter Fruhtrunk and François Morellet . Large groups of works exist by the artist couple Robert Michel and Ella Bergmann-Michel , Anton Stankowski and, above all, by Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart with the painting complex K 116 , (1940). Its archive is looked after by the museum.

Art after 1945

The art collection is one of the most important in Germany in the field of art after 1945. It starts with informal art. The German artists Karl Otto Götz (painting Krakmo ), (1958), Otto Greis, Heinz Kreutz , Fred Thieler , Emil Schumacher , Hann Trier , Gerhard Hoehme and Bernard Schultze (painting Venen und Tang ), (1955) are shown. The museum owns several of Bernard Schultze's Migofs . The other positions of art of the 1940s and 1950s are represented by Ernst Wilhelm Nay with the painting African , (1954), Willi Baumeister , Max Ackermann , Rolf Cavael , Fritz Winter and, above all, by Otto Ritschl from Wiesbaden with his painting Composition , (1955 ) brought to mind.

These artists were followed by abstract painters such as Rupprecht Geiger , Ulrich Erben, Bruno Erdmann and Gotthard Graubner . The ZERO group and kinetic art are represented by artists such as Günther Uecker with his work Spirale Weiß , (1963), Rolf Kissel , Hermann Goepfert , Heinz Mack and Adolf Luther. Also, Sigmar Polke and especially Gerhard Richter are among the collection. The museum owns five paintings by Richter, including the famous A Miracle saved from 1964. Surrealism is represented by two works by Max Ernst.

The legendary first Fluxus Festival took place in the museum in 1962 . The museum has works by Joseph Beuys , Wolf Vostell and Nam June Paik from this period . His work Zen for Head (1962) is part of the collection. American post-war art is also represented by some of the works of its main exponents, such as Mark Rothko , Ad Reinhardt and Agnes Martin . Also represented in the collection are artists such as Sol LeWitt , Donald Judd , Robert Mangold , Fred Sandback , Dan Flavin and Brice Marden . The museum also has the largest collection of works (graphics, paintings and objects) by the German-American Eva Hesse . Among other things, the wall object Eighter from Decatur (1965) by her can be seen. Painting from the 1970s and 1980s is represented by artists such as Georg Baselitz with his work Still Life (1969), Eugen Schönebeck , Jörg Immendorff and Thomas Bayrle .

Installation and object art from the past thirty years is an outstanding focus of the collection . The most important artists present in the collection are: Dietrich Helms , Jeppe Hein , Rebecca Horn , Thomas Huber , Vollrad Kutscher , Ingeborg Lüscher , Christiane Möbus , Norbert Radermacher , Franz Erhard Walther and Dorothee von Windheim with their work Façade III (1979 ).

Added to this are the works of international artists such as Ilya Kabakov with his work Der Rote Waggon (1991), Micha Ullman , Richard Serra , Jochen Gerz with his work Der Transsibirische-Prospekt (1977) and Christian Boltanski . Modern sculpture is represented by Katsura Funakoshi with the artwork A Tale of the Sphinx (2004).

Art awards

The Wiesbaden Museum does not award any art prizes itself, but two prizes are closely linked to the house.

Alexej von Jawlensky Prize

Alexej von Jawlensky: Self-Portrait , 1912

On the 50th anniversary of his death in 1991, the city of Wiesbaden set up the Alexej von Jawlensky Prize, endowed with 18,000 euros. Alexej von Jawlensky (1865–1941) was an important Russian artist in the first half of the 20th century, who spent the last twenty years of his life in Wiesbaden. It is awarded every five years and has so far been awarded six times. The award includes the purchase of a work for the Wiesbaden Museum and a special exhibition on the winner's work in the Wiesbaden Museum. The previous winners were:

Otto Ritschl Prize

The Otto Ritschl Prize was awarded by the Museum Association Otto Ritschl e. V. launched in 2001. Otto Ritschl (1885–1976) was an important German post-war artist who lived in Wiesbaden until his death. An international jury awards the prize at irregular intervals, which is combined with a cash prize and an exhibition in the Wiesbaden Museum. The previous winners were:

Natural history collections

The originally independent Natural History Museum in Wiesbaden was founded together with the Nassau Association for Natural History in 1829 by citizens of the region and with the support of the Duke. The early nineteenth century was marked by industrialization and the tremendous discoveries in the natural sciences. So here too the desire for a permanent institution arose. On the one hand, this offered the opportunity to establish a meaningful place of education for the population and, on the other hand, to promote their own research. Today's natural history collections still pursue these goals today. The international abbreviation is MWNH , WIES is only used for the herbarium .

Scientific collections

Sand collection

Originally the collection was supposed to capture the nature of the Duchy of Nassau . Since the duchy lacked a university and had to integrate internationally established collections with the foundation of the museum, this approach was dropped. Today the natural history collections are among the larger in Germany with material from all regions of the world. Around one million individual objects and series are available for science and public relations. A few thousand specimens described for the first time are used in particular for research into biodiversity . With a few exceptions, the collection also survived the Second World War.

A large part of the collection is documented in catalogs, on index cards and with the help of electronic data processing . Larger gaps exist particularly in the areas of geology and invertebrates . Digital photographs are also available for numerous items in the collection.

General geology and mineralogy

The mineralogical collection is still completely in the dress of the 19th century, as both the scientific and permanent collections are combined in showcases in the exhibition (see exhibition ). In addition to a general mineral collection with worldwide origins, the focus is on finds from the region, which in particular document mining, which was still important until a few decades ago. The scientific collection comprises around 14,000 items that are currently being recorded in an IT catalog.

Geological history

Exhibition currently

In the immediate region of Wiesbaden, three geological ages are particularly represented. About 50,000 fossils are documented. Evidence from the Pleistocene era can be found in recent geological history, particularly from the Mosbacher Sands . The Rhine and Main had regularly dammed up in front of the Middle Rhine Valley and the bones carried along remained in the sediment. Numerous fossils have been preserved, especially from the warm periods. A second focal point is the Steedener Höhlen find complex , where the oldest artifacts in Hesse were also found. One of the most important collections is related to the following two geological ages. It is the largest part of the legacy of the brothers Guido and Fridolin Sandberger .

The Mainz Basin is a testament to the imposing world in which the Tertiary lived . In this warmer phase after the dinosaurs became extinct, the Mainz Basin was regularly connected to the surrounding seas, in between these connections were lost, the inland sea became sweeter, a lake was created and finally the water disappeared completely. Numerous animal species lived here in this alternation, so there are testimonies u. a. of manatees , basking sharks , reef-forming mussel beds, but also land creatures such as the terrifying beast of Eppelsheim .

Finds from the Devonian come from the Taunus in particular , an equally warm period with high sea levels. This is why the collection contains evidence of an enormous marine fauna: trilobites , conodonts and graptolites .

In addition, are worth mentioning: a Paleozoic and Mesozoic fish collection, an extensive Mesozoic vertebrate collection , a large and complete ichthyosaur -Exemplar of Holzmaden , a well-stocked paleontological reference collection from the Hydro Bien layers of Mainz Basin, an extensive cephalopods Imagery, a well-stocked brachiopods Imagery and an extensive collection of fossils from the Taunus quartzites (including trace fossils ).


The first decades of the museum in particular were accompanied by a very active botanical section. Herbibles were the working basis of pharmacologists and the medical importance of botany was still well known. With around 100,000 herbal preparations, there is still a document with supraregional importance for botany and pharmacy . Regionally, the oldest finds from the northern Upper Rhine Valley , the Taunus and Odenwald are available. The herbaria were founded by the first director of the association, Friedrich Albert Pompejus von Arnoldi (1787–1838). Today the number of documents is around 65,000, of which just under 44,000 are phanerogams (flowering plants) and a good 21,000 are cryptogams (spore plants). Also involved in the collection are: Anton Vigener (1840–1921), Carl Friedrich Ferdinand Genth (1810–1837), Johann Daniel Wilhelm Bayrhoffer (1793–1868), Gottlieb Wilhelm Karl Leopold Fuckel (1821–1876) and Franz Rudio (1813 -1877).

In addition, the library's graphic collection contains the only preserved plant and mushroom watercolors by Catharina Helena Dörrien and the watercolors by Emil Pfeiffer . The Wiesbaden Museum also houses the leaf mine collections of Friedrich Ludwig Stellwaag and Erich Martin Hering .


Insects from the Coll. Merian

The basis of the collection is the insect collection taken over by Johann Christian Gerning (1745–1802) in 1829 . This came through the son Johann Isaak von Gerning (1767-1837), a friend of Goethe , against payment of an annuity to Wiesbaden. The insect collection, which is still completely preserved today, contains around 40,000 animals. Some come from the hands of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717). This Gerning collection later served the entomologist Eugen Johann Christoph Esper (1742–1810) as an important basis for the description of European butterflies . Other collectors and important entomologists are Carl Ludwig Kirschbaum (1812–1880), Arnold Pagenstecher (1837–1913), Walter Gieseking (1895–1956) and Adolph Schenck (1803–1876). Today around 720,000 animals are available to science.

The originally very important spider collection is one of the few victims of the war. At least parts of the specimens ( types ) described by Embrik Strand (1867–1947) were burned. In addition to these worldwide collections, the focus is on regional faunistics.

Among the invertebrates, the mollusc collection with over 100,000 specimens and series is one of the more extensive. Historically significant exchange material from numerous malacologists can be found here . In recent years, the museum has been able to take over numerous types of material from Jens Hemmen's private collection .


In addition to a somewhat more extensive fish collection and a few amphibians , the museum has an excellent collection of birds . This not only contains specimens of more than 2,700 species and subspecies. More than 3,300 specimens have been prepared for the permanent collection and are not only used for the exhibitions in Wiesbaden. Numerous first-described specimens also come from the hands of Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied , who collected in the Mata Atlântica on his trip to Brazil . Most of his collection later formed the basis of the American Museum of Natural History in New York . Even Ernst Albert Fritze advanced with its shipments from Southeast Asia , the vertebrate collection significantly.

With only 850 show specimens, the mammal collection is much more manageable. Numerous rare or already extinct species are among them, such as a pair of Cape lions , quagga , Java tiger and Asiatic lion . The taxidermy and trophy collections are much more extensive .


Ethnology and natural history are traditionally united (see Field Museum of Natural History ). In Wiesbaden there is a small but high quality collection from Namibia , Brazil and Cameroon . Special features include, for example, a San dance chain made from insect cocoons or the feather headdress from Brazil.


Along with the natural objects, there is an extensive specialist and reference library for natural science in the museum and is sorted accordingly. With more than 35,000 media, it offers information on numerous subject areas and collection groups. Since 1930, journals have been exchanged via the associated Hessian State Library Wiesbaden . A larger part of the documentation on the Nassau Association for Natural History can also be found here .


Permanent exhibitions

Exhibition on movement

Along with the move to the new building at today's Friedrich-Ebert-Allee in 1915, it was possible to more clearly separate the exhibition collections from the scientific collections. However, both parts remained spatially together, as can still be observed today in general geology / mineralogy. Only after the Second World War was it also spatially separated, and the display collections only contained specimens used for exhibitions.

In the 1920s to 1930s, dioramas on ecological topics were created in Wiesbaden for the first time . Paralyzed by the war, extensive renovations of the exhibitions did not take place again until the 1970s, such as a vivarium and a hall on the topic of large living spaces .

Since it reopened on May 7, 2013, the Natural History Collections have had 1,700 square meters of permanent exhibition space. Each of the four main halls on the 1st and 2nd floors deals with a topic that describes an overarching phenomenon: shapes and colors of nature, time and movement of the animate and inanimate world. The historical geology / mineralogy on 300 square meters on the lower ground floor has not yet reopened.

Special exhibitions

Special exhibition on the two-winged aircraft, 2015

The natural history collections currently have 800 square meters available for special exhibitions. In the past, the department presented exhibitions on the topics of geology (stones in the river), ecology (the rainforest, under the hot sun), geological history (the ice age), natural history ( in the realm of bison hunters ), nutrition (organic farming), the history of science (ZeitReise , Creating knowledge with pictures), ethnology (people of the Amazon) and mathematics ... to touch.


Freshly prepared star (type) while drying

In the new building, inaugurated in 1915, more than 500 square meters were available for workshops. During this time, the two to three taxidermists also made large dermoplastics , for example of giraffes and antelopes . Numerous work steps still had to be carried out manually or there was a lack of modern techniques and materials. A museum, for example, also had a complete print shop, which is no longer available in the computer age.

In addition to the communal workshops (carpentry and electrical workshop), there are still appropriate workrooms for taxidermists. Taxidermists nowadays need exhaust air rooms, for example, because they regularly handle toxic plastics.

One of the most important taxidermists in Wiesbaden was Joseph Burger (1875–1956), a pupil of Darmstadt's Friedrich Kerz (1842–1915). We owe him numerous excellently groomed animals and, in addition to the art of dermoplasty, he was one of the first to successfully restore old specimens and re-assemble them.

Research and Cooperations

The natural history collections in Wiesbaden are largely scientifically processed and documented in such a way that scientists have quick access to the material. Appropriate work rooms and equipment are available to the specialist guests. In addition, several hundred loans are made annually. The museum is in direct contact with the Nassau Association for Natural History and other associations and working groups in the region.

The research organized in the natural history collection is directly related to the subject areas of the curators working there and has therefore changed over time. Entomology in particular was supported by numerous employees. Research is currently being carried out on predatory flies , and Wiesbaden is the international coordination point for this family of insects. The current work focuses on taxonomy , the creation of catalogs, identification aids and the investigation of the complex behavior of these animals.

Collection of Nassau antiquities SNA

The collection has been assigned to the Wiesbaden City Museum since 2011 . It is one of the largest collections of antiquity, history and handicrafts in Hessen. It was founded by the Association for Nassau Antiquity and Historical Research.It includes evidence of the earliest human civilizations, an excellent collection of Roman objects, handicrafts from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century (Demmin Collection), sacred sculpture, the Wiesbaden city history collection and evidence of the House of Nassau . Since the collection was founded at the time of the latter, it bears his name. After the citizens' initiative "Save the Nassau Antiquities Collection" had vehemently advocated preservation, the SNA was then ceded to the city of Wiesbaden in 2009 and is to be integrated there into the future city museum.

The Roman Collection

The collection of finds from Roman times is a focus of the SNA collection . The stone monuments in particular are unique. The outstanding piece of the entire SNA is the " Mithras stone ", an altarpiece from the former Mithraeum of the Roman city NIDA in the area of ​​today's Frankfurt am Main-Heddernheim . Until 2003, the stone was housed in a "mithräum" specially designed by Theodor Fischer's architecture, which had to give way to the renovation. In addition, monuments such as the Jupiter giant column (221 AD) from Wiesbaden-Schierstein , the statues of an elaborately designed "family grave" (mid-1st century AD) from Ingelheim and the "enthroned Jupiter" (2nd quarter 3rd . Century AD) from Wiesbaden-Igstadt about the formerly brisk Roman life in the region. A "Genius" (230 AD) from Frankfurt am Main-Heddernheim rounds off the stone memorial collection, which includes many other stones, especially gravestones.


On September 28, 2007, the German section of the International Art Critics Association named the museum Museum of the Year at its annual general meeting in Berlin . The award ceremony took place on November 4, 2007 in the museum.


  • Ulrich Schmidt : Catalog. Municipal Museum Wiesbaden, picture gallery. Städtisches Museum - Gemäldegalerie, Wiesbaden 1967.
  • Clemens Weiler : The picture gallery of the Wiesbaden museum. Peters, Hanau 1968 ( Masterpieces of German Museums. ZDB -ID 2344821-0 ).
  • Bernd Fäthke : Museum Wiesbaden. In: Art and the beautiful home. 1983, issue 3, ISSN  0023-5423 , p. 163ff.
  • Bernd Fäthke: Without Goethe, Wiesbaden might not have a museum at all. Supplement from the Rhein-Main-Nahe newspaper group, Mainz, December 24, 1985.
  • Bernhard Pinsker: 200,000 years of culture and history in Nassau. Depicted on objects from the Nassau antiquities collection of the Wiesbaden Museum. Publishing house of the association for Nassau antiquity and historical research, Wiesbaden 1993, ISBN 3-922027-89-X .
  • Walter Czysz : 175 years of Nassau Association for Natural History and Natural Science Collection of the Wiesbaden Museum. 1829-2004. Nassau Association for Natural History, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-9809749-1-X ( Yearbooks of the Nassau Association for Natural History 125).
  • Volker Rattemeyer (Ed.): The Wiesbaden Museum. Museum of the Year 2007. Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-89258-073-7 .
  • Sylvain Hodvina: On the natural history of Wiesbaden: The watercolors of plants by Emil Pfeiffer , DVD . Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden 2012, ISBN 978-3-89258-089-8 .
  • Alexander Klar (Ed.): Museum Wiesbaden. The art collections . Hirmer, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-7774-2464-4 .

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. a b D. Hoffmann, F. Geller-Grimm: A catalog of bird specimens associated with Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied and potential type material in the natural history collection in Wiesbaden . In: ZooKeys 353, 2013, pp. 81-93 ( digitized version ).
  2. ^ Museum Wiesbaden: History. Transfer to urban ownership . Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  3. Award for great voluntary commitment. (No longer available online.) In: frankfurt-live.com. August 20, 2010, archived from the original on November 7, 2017 ; Retrieved November 5, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.frankfurt-live.com
  4. New shine for the Wiesbaden Museum. In: verwaltung.hessen.de. Retrieved November 5, 2017 .
  5. ^ Collection of Nassau antiquities. In: www.wiesbaden.de. Retrieved November 5, 2017 .
  6. ^ Museum Wiesbaden. In: museen-in-hessen.de. Retrieved November 5, 2017 .
  7. Provenance research. In: www.museum-wiesbaden.de. Retrieved July 5, 2019 .
  8. A good project in the wrong place. In: www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de. April 5, 2015, accessed July 6, 2019 .
  9. ^ Art Nouveau collection by FW Neess in the Museum Wiesbaden. In: www.wiesbaden.de. Retrieved June 28, 2019 .
  10. Peter Forster in an interview on Art Nouveau. In: www.wiesbadener-Kulturrechner..de. June 1, 2019, accessed July 28, 2019 .
  11. Dr. Alexander Klar becomes the new director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. In: www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de. Retrieved July 14, 2019 .
  12. Birgitta Lamparth: New director at the State Museum in Wiesbaden. In: wiesbadener-kurier.de. December 16, 2019, accessed December 18, 2019 .
  13. The Search for Nazi Looted Art in Museums. In: www.focus.de. November 7, 2014, accessed on November 11, 2017 (article was written by dpa).
  14. Kollwitz and Barlach - United in Death. 29 Jul 2016 - 23 Oct 2016. (No longer available online.) In: museum-wiesbaden.de. Archived from the original on November 12, 2017 ; accessed on November 11, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / museum-wiesbaden.de
  15. Peter Forster; Sabine Panchaud (Ed.): Radically beautiful - Art Nouveau and Symbolism: The Ferdinand Wolfgang Neess Collection . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-422-98049-5 .
  16. Hellmuth Vensky: 50 years of Fluxus: broken, laughed broken. When the piano is in ruins at the end of a concert, there were no hooligans at work, but artists: The art movement Fluxus turns 50. In: www.zeit.de. September 12, 2012, accessed February 25, 2018 .
  17. Alexej von Jawlensky Prize 2010 ( Memento from August 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  18. ^ Richard Serra, "Props, Films, Early Works", Museum Wiesbaden, March to June 2017 Website of the Museum Wiesbaden, accessed on December 17, 2017
  19. ^ Otto Ritschl Prize ( Memento from July 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), www.museum-wiesbaden.de, Werbarchiv accessed on January 16, 2019.
  20. Nassau antiquities move. Frankfurter Rundschau , June 18, 2009, accessed on February 17, 2019 .
  21. The collection of Nassau antiquities on the sidelines ( Memento of the original from December 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.thorsten-reiss-verlag.de

Coordinates: 50 ° 4 ′ 39 ″  N , 8 ° 14 ′ 45 ″  E