Paul Clemen

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Paul Clemen around 1900

Paul Clemen (born October 31, 1866 in Sommerfeld near Leipzig ; † July 8, 1947 in Endorf ) was a German art historian and curator , he was appointed the first provincial curator of the Rhine Province in 1893 .


Paul Clemen, chairman of the board of directors of the art history exhibition in the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf , 1904

Paul Clemen was the son of pastor Christian August Julius Clemen (1838–1920), his brothers were the theologian Carl Clemen and the historian Otto Clemen . He attended the Princely School in Grimma (1879–1885). In 1885 he began studying art history and German philology at the University of Leipzig , which he continued in 1887 at the University of Bonn and from 1888 at the University of Strasbourg . 1889 Clemen at the art historian was Hubert Janitschek with a dissertation on the portraiture of Charlemagne to Dr. phil. PhD . On October 1, 1890, he was commissioned and permanently employed by the Commission for Monument Statistics for the inventory of the art monuments of the Rhine Province. In 1893 he was appointed the first provincial curator of the Rhine Province.

Paul Clemen taught as an art historian at the University of Bonn from 1894 until his retirement in 1936. In 1892 he had registered with Carl Justi for his habilitation at the University of Bonn for the subject of medium and modern art history, the habilitation thesis was waived for him in view of his list of publications. In the summer semester of 1894 he began lecturing at the University of Bonn as a private lecturer, and in 1898 he was appointed associate professor in the Philosophical Faculty. A year later he became a full professor of art history and literature at the Düsseldorf Art Academy . In 1902 he went back to Bonn, where he succeeded Carl Justi as Professor of Art History and founded the University of Art History.

In 1901 Clemen accompanied Crown Prince Wilhelm to Belgium and the Netherlands. After his matriculation in Bonn, he became his teacher for two semesters. At the end of the year he was appointed full professor there by “most highly accomplished appointment”. At the same time, Clemen remained in the office of provincial curator. When he left in 1911, he took over the office of chairman of the newly founded Monument Council of the Rhine Province. In these functions, he strongly advocated monument protection . He was one of the initiators for the founding of the Rhenish Association for Monument Preservation and Landscape Protection and was elected chairman of the Day for Monument Preservation and Heritage Protection in 1924 . Clemen, co-founder of this institution and previously its long-time deputy chairman, held the post until 1932. His life's work, the art monuments of the Rhine Province in 56 volumes, is a standard work of German art history. In 1933 he established the concept of symbols for monuments as “symbols of national history” and “media for forming attitudes”. In 1935 he retired. He spent his twilight years in Endorf in Upper Bavaria. In June 1946 he returned one last time to the Rhineland, which had been badly hit by the bombing war . In the destroyed Quirinus Minster in Neuss, the reconstruction of which had begun, he gave a programmatic, moving speech on “Rhenish monuments and their fate - A call to the Rhinelander”. His address received such a strong response that it was published in lower case.


In 1905 Paul Clemen married Lilli von Wätjen (1884–1966), daughter of the government councilor Hermann von Wätjen (1851–1911) and granddaughter of the shipowner Diedrich Heinrich Wätjen at the Altenrode manor . They had two children: Wolfgang Clemen (1909–1990) and Petra Clemen (1911–1986).

The Villa Clemen

Elevation of the Villa Clemen

In 1908/09 Paul Clemen had a villa built as a private residence on Bonn's banks of the Rhine ( Coblenzer Straße 119a) , which was built at the same time as the neighboring villa of Professor Karl Bülbring , based on a design by the Bonn architect and government master builder Julius Rolff . Stylistically it can be assigned to the pictureque baroque . Since Clemen had illegally moved into the villa before the acceptance test in June 1909 , the building authorities filed a criminal complaint against him. In 1934 Clemen had it converted into a three-family house (design: Rolffs).

During the Second World War, the building was completely destroyed in the course of the Allied bombing raids on Bonn in the most devastating air strike on October 18, 1944 . The archive materials, works of art and the almost 10,000 volumes of Clemens' library could not be saved. The villa was not rebuilt.


The Paul Clemen Prize of the LVR

On October 31, 1936, Heinrich Haake ( NSDAP ), as governor of the Rhine Province (legal predecessor of the LVR), set up the Paul Clemen Scholarship (since 2008 Paul Clemen Prize ) on the occasion of Paul Clemen's 70th birthday .

Fonts (selection)

  • as editor: Die Kunstdenkmäler der Rheinprovinz . ( Series of publications in 56 volumes). Schwann, Düsseldorf from 1891.
  • with Adolph Goldschmidt , Ludwig Justi , Paul Schubring : The Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. Seemann, Leipzig 1904 ( digitized in the Internet Archive )
  • Art history exhibition Düsseldorf 1904. Publishing house of the exhibition management, Düsseldorf 1904 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • with Eduard Firmenich-Richartz (Hrsg.): Masterpieces of West German painting and other excellent paintings by old masters from private collections at the Art History Exhibition in Düsseldorf 1904. Bruckmann, Munich 1905 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • with Cornelius Gurlitt : The monastery buildings of the Cistercians in Belgium. Architecture publisher “Der Zirkel”, Berlin 1916.
  • The state of the art monuments in the western theater of war. EA Seemann, Leipzig 1916 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • The Romanesque monumental painting in the Rhineland. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1916 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • Art protection in war. Reports on the condition of the art monuments in the various theaters of war and on the German and Austrian measures for their preservation, rescue, research. 2 volumes. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1919 (digital copies of Volume 1 and Volume 2 in the Internet Archive ).
  • Rhenish monuments and their fate. An appeal to the Rhinelander. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1946.
  • Gothic cathedrals in France - Paris, Chartres, Amiens, Reims. 2nd Edition. Atlantis Verlag, Zurich / Berlin 1937.


Web links

Commons : Paul Clemen  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wikisource: Paul Clemen  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Friedrich Wermuth, Karl Irmscher and others: From the electoral state school to the St. Augustin high school in Grimma 1550–2000. Sax-Verlag, Beucha 2000, ISBN 3-930076-99-3 , p. 52.
  2. ^ A b c Udo Mainzer: Paul Clemen - Provincial Curator of the Rhine Province (1866-1947). In: Portal Rhenish History. Retrieved March 20, 2019 .
  3. a b Katja Hoffmann: Paul Clemen - Working in the Preservation of Monuments ( Memento from January 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). In: Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  4. Birte Pusback: Between SS and Monument Preservation - The redesign of the collegiate church St. Servatius zu Quedlinburg in the years 1936 to 1944. Hamburg 1999, p. 63.
  5. Birte Pusback: City as home. The preservation of historical monuments in Danzig between 1933 and 1939. Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2006, ISBN 978-3-412-08006-8 , p. 50.
  6. Olga Sonntag: Villas on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn 1819–1914. Volume 3, sub-volume 2. Bouvier Verlag, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-416-02618-7 , pp. 172-174.
  7. ^ Udo Mainzer: Paul Clemen. The excellent one. His honorary doctorate from the Grand Ducal Badische Technische Hochschule Fridericiana in Karlsruhe. In: Johann Josef Böker (ed.): “A somewhat bankrupt art establishment”. The old Karlsruhe school between Hübsch and Durm. (= Materials on Building Research and Building History, Volume 24). Institute for Building History at the University of Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe 2017, pp. 214–221.
  8. ^ List of honorary citizens of the city of Bonn - 1946: Prof. Dr. Paul Clemen, privy councilor. In: Archived from the original on December 3, 2010 ; accessed on March 20, 2019 .
  9. ^ Information about street names in Bonn - Paul-Clemen-Straße. In: City Retrieved March 20, 2019 .
  10. ^ Paul Clemen Prize of the LVR. In: Retrieved March 19, 2019 .