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Leitbild Lebensreform. Harry Graf Kessler und Karl Ernst Osthaus als Museumsgründer

Tobias Kämpf

Published online:

24 Mar 2020



At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany moved to the institutional forefront of the art world. Through the creation of two museums, in Hagen and in Weimar, dedicated to contemporary avant-gardes in art, architecture, and design, the recently united nation propagated its claim for international leadership in the cultural sphere. Both establishments were the result of private initiatives of collectors who possessed great literary talent and artistic distinction and who were strongly opposed to the aesthetic ideals of the main arbiter of German taste, Emperor William II. This essay is the first comparative study of the museums in Hagen and Weimar, whose founders disagreed with developments in Darmstadt but were inspired by those in Hamburg and, to a lesser degree, in Krefeld. Analyzing their intellectual origins and historic development, the essay provides a comprehensive chronology as well as an articulate topography of early-twentieth-century German art institutions promoting cultural innovation.

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Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

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