Modern and Contemporary Art
at Museum Wiesbaden

A new beginning with effects to the present day — the art of the 1950s and 1960s in Museum Wiesbaden. Art of the European and American Modern period after 1945 forms one of the museum’s most prominent collections, focusing on abstract painting and sculpture concerned with the themes of line, color, surface, volume, and space.

Contemporary art is shaped by conceptual installations, novel materials, and approaches, all of which is reflected in the collection of Museum Wiesbaden. These works confront us with questions about the nature of art, the conditions of its production, and the manifold levels of meaning they open up and to which they can be related.

Sculpture and installation

Katsura Funakoshi, Tale of a Sphinx, 2004

Sculpture and installation

Is it not the heads, the faces of sculptures, in particular, that present us with reality? A reality, however, that seems at once familiar yet strange. The irritation evoked by this phenomenon is an essential feature of sculpture; it throws us back onto ourselves. At Museum Wiesbaden, painting and sculpture enter into a dialog and are continually re-contextualized within the collection's focal points: From the sacral figures of the Old Masters to the busts and spirited sculptures of Jugendstil through to the abstract forms of Expressionism and Classical Modernism. In contemporary art, both areas merge. In their installations, contemporary artists go beyond classical sculpture, occupying entire spaces and using unfamiliar, new materials for their art.

Artists' rooms and spatial installations

Installations by Jochen Gerz, Rebecca Horn and Ilya Kabakov, as well as works of American Minimal Art complete the collection. Entire work complexes are displayed in artist rooms, often in intimate rapport with the architectural features of the building itself. These mostly permanent presentations offer visitors constant points of departure and arrival as they wander through the museum. Yet, the would-be familiarity of our permanent exhibits is constantly questioned anew through their interplay with the museum's continually varying special exhibitions.

International art

Jörg Immendorff, Baby fur Zunder-Zunder, 1966

International art

Today, the museum’s collection of Modern art after 1945 belongs to the most prominent of its collections. Beginning with international representatives of Abstract Expressionism, the artists' names here range from K. O. Götz and Gerhard Hoehme to Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt. Works by Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff and Gerhard Richter, as well as Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell, represent the art of the early Federal Republic. The collection boasts alone twelve works by Eva Hesse, one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. Hesse was born to a Jewish family in Hamburg and grew up in New York after fleeing to the United States, so that her work bridges the gap to our collection of North American art, encompassing works by Donald Judd, Fred Sandback, Robert Mangold, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, David Novros, and Agnes Martin as well as, more recently, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Winston Roeth, and Joseph Marioni.

Art since the 1960s 

The opening-up and expansion of the concept of art found expression in currents of the 1960s. Thomas Bayrle and Peter Roehr, for example, dealt with phenomena of modern society and mass culture. Moving between fascination, cool observation and biting criticism, their works — composed of constantly repeating set pieces —appeared like a flicker of the consumer and commodity world. Similarly, Gerhard Richter used photographs as the point of departure for his paintings. He questioned the image as painting and, at the same time, as a reflection of our reality. For his work Terese Andeszka, he chose a photograph from a newspaper clipping that initially appears to tell the story of a private tragedy (with an ultimately happy outcome) but, in fact, refers to something larger, namely, to the division of Europe by the Iron Curtain and, thus, to Richter's own biography. This „truth, “ however, was concealed by Richter; it is only accessible via a „detour“ through his picture archive published as Atlas. It is there for the first time that we become privy to the full caption of the newspaper clipping that identifies the family in the photo as refugees from Hungary, putting their rescue suddenly in an entirely different context.

Gerhard Richter, Terese Andeszka, 1964. Foto: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
Gerhard Richter, Terese Andeszka, 1964. Foto: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

View into the permanent exhibition

Eva Hesse, Eighter from Decatur, 1965.
Eva Hesse, Eighter from Decatur, 1965.
(Top left to bottom right): Joanna Poussette-Dart, Banded Painting #4 2015/16; K. O. Götz, Krakmo, 1958, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Gerhard Richter, Queen; Vollrad Kutscher, Leuchtende Vorbilder 1990/2006, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Ernst Wilhelm Nay, African, 1954; Otto Ritschl, 63/26, 1963, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Mark Rothko, o.T., 1967, © Kate Rothko-Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; David Novros, Salidas, 2016, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Rebecca Horn, Circle of Broken Landscape, 1997/2007; Otto Ritschl, 61/21, 1961, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Rupprecht Geiger, 587/69, 1969, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Jörg Immendorff, Deutsche Nichtschwimmer ins Wasser / Sonne-Regen-Sonne, 1965; Joseph Beuys, Capri-Batterie, 1985, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Photos: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert
(Top left to bottom right): Joanna Poussette-Dart, Banded Painting #4 2015/16; K. O. Götz, Krakmo, 1958, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Gerhard Richter, Queen; Vollrad Kutscher, Leuchtende Vorbilder 1990/2006, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Ernst Wilhelm Nay, African, 1954; Otto Ritschl, 63/26, 1963, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Mark Rothko, o.T., 1967, © Kate Rothko-Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; David Novros, Salidas, 2016, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Rebecca Horn, Circle of Broken Landscape, 1997/2007; Otto Ritschl, 61/21, 1961, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Rupprecht Geiger, 587/69, 1969, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022; Jörg Immendorff, Deutsche Nichtschwimmer ins Wasser / Sonne-Regen-Sonne, 1965; Joseph Beuys, Capri-Batterie, 1985, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Photos: Museum Wiesbaden / Bernd Fickert

Art Prizes

Two art prizes are associated with Museum Wiesbaden. The first is the Alexej von Jawlensky Prize of the state capital Wiesbaden, which commemorates the life's work of the great Russian painter, who lived in Wiesbaden from 1921 until his death in 1941. It is awarded every 5 years with the financial support of the Hessian state capital, Spielbank Wiesbaden, and the Nassauische Sparkasse, among others.

The second is the Otto Ritschl Prize. The artist lived in Wiesbaden from 1918 until 1976. After his early figural and, later, more Surrealist works, Ritschl began, in the 1950s, to move progressively toward geometric and, finally, more expressive abstraction. The increasingly meditative work of his late period, beginning in the early 1960s, focused on immaterial space, shaped entirely through color. The Museum Association Otto Ritschl began bestowing the prize in 2001 in Ritschl’s honor to keep the artist’s name alive.

Calendar

  • Mi
    17 Aug
    12:15—12:35
    Neubürger regionaler Gewässer
  • So
    21 Aug
    15:00—17:00
    Vom Lebensraum am Wasser in der Ausstellung "Vom Wert des Wassers" zum selbstgebauten Tierschaukasten
  • Mi
    24 Aug
    12:15—12:35
    Walter Crane "Die Rosse des Neptun"

Educational programs

Museum Wiesbaden offers a variety of programs for all ages, from guided tours to workshops for preschools and schools, to teacher training and programs for students, private groups, or families with children.

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