Heinrich Kirchhoff: The Garden of the Avant-Garde
A hundred years after Museum Wiesbaden first presented the private art collection of Heinrich Kirchhoff (1874 to 1934), a Wiesbaden resident by choice and devoted garden lover, the museum is again dedicating an exhibition to Kirchhoff and his collection. The show, entitled "The Garden of the Avant-Garde. Heinrich Kirchhoff: An Unknown Collector of Jawlensky, Klee, Nolde …", will be running from 27 October 2017 to 25 February 2018.
When Museum Wiesbaden first showed Kirchhoff's collection in 1917, Wiesbaden, a spa town characterised by Prussian principles, was, at the time, perceived as being highly conservative. The exhibition was giving Wiesbaden a different reputation as a new centre of the avant-garde, the word being spread across the whole of Germany in no time at all. The collector himself, who moved to Wiesbaden from the Ruhr region in 1908 to enjoy the warmer climate, and who discovered his passion for art there, has almost been forgotten since due to the commotion caused during the era of National Socialism. And this is despite the fact that the who's who of avant-garde artists were frequent visitors to the tropical garden Kirchhoff had himself created for his Sonnenberg villa.
The exhibition traces the genesis of the Kirchhoff Collection across two decades, from 1914 to 1933. Presenting works by the artists appreciated by Kirchhoff, the show also illustrates the development of German art from Impressionism (Corinth, Liebermann, Slevogt) and multifaceted Expressionism (Chagall, Kokoschka, Lehmbruck, Macke, Marc) to Abstraction (Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy). Based on a precise selection of works from the former Kirchhoff Collection – carefully researched and brought together from national and international museums and private collections –, it ultimately becomes clear that the forgotten Kirchhoff Garden was one of Germany's major gathering spots for 1920s avant-garde artists.