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Archaeology

Archaeology

The archaeological collection at Museum Ulm covers a time-span from the Neanderthal-era to Ulm in the Late Middle Ages. An absolute highlight of the museum collection is the ‘Löwenmensch’ (lion man), which is truly one-of-a-kind and one of the oldest figurative carvings ever discovered. The fabulous – half lion, half man – sculpture was made from mammoth ivory approximately 40,000 years ago. It was discovered at Hohlenstein-Stadel cave in the Lone valley, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

Old Masters

Old Masters

The collection is dedicated to the history of art and culture in Ulm from the Middle Ages until 1800. It includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, silver, furniture and clocks, artefacts of the Ulm craft guilds, as well as historic views and models of the city. Of particular importance is the extensive collection of late Gothic art from Ulm and Upper Swabia.

Another first-rate part of the collection are the approximately eighty preserved works from the former ‘Kunst- und Wunderkammer’ (cabinet of arts and curiosities) of Christoph Weickmann (1617–1681), including exotica from Africa, Central America and Asia.

The collection of Old Masters is presented in the so-called Kiechelhaus, a listed building that once was the residence and place of business of the merchant family Kiechel. This building from around 1600 with its elaborate stuccoed and wooden ceilings is one of the best preserved examples of sophisticated housing in Ulm during the Renaissance period.

Modern Art

The Beginnings

Founding director Prof. Dr. Julius Baum (1882–1959) incorporated the municipal painting gallery of contemporary art, which opened mere weeks before he took office at the Schwörhaus, into the museums’ collection. This inventory of contemporary art mainly contained works by artists from Ulm and the surrounding regions as well as from the Munich School and the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. Through acquisitions and loans, Baum actively expanded the collection into a gallery for modern art within the museum. Unfortunately, most of the collection has been lost: When the National Socialists started their campaign against ‘Entartete Kunst’ (‘Degenerate Art’), the works were either confiscated, sold abroad to acquire foreign currency, or destroyed.

Modern Art

Prints and Drawings

After the war, an attempt was made to fill the void left by the forced dispersion by allocating the limited budget to works on paper instead of paintings. The extraordinary collection of prints and drawings now contains approximately 25,000 works, providing an overview of the most important movements and influential artists of the 20th century, including French graphics of the late 19th and the 20th century, a comprehensive group of works by Picasso, exponents of German expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter, Die Brücke and the Bauhaus, and art after 1945. Since 1970, the focus shifted away from singular works by an artist to complete cycles of works and works by groups of artists. Due to the fragility of these works, they can only be shown intermittently, most often as part of special exhibitions.

Modern Art

The Foundation Collection Kurt Fried

Since 1978, the collection of modern art has been significantly enriched: Kurt Fried (1906–1981), a collector, publicist and publisher from Ulm, endowed the museum with his first-rate art collection of approximately 300 works. From 1959 onwards, Kurt Fried regularly exhibited progressive art in his non-commercial gallery ‘studio f’, art that was not yet shown in German museums. He acquired works from most exhibitions and bought works by emerging international artists. His collection developed into a guide to the arts after 1945. The most important American and European art movements from the 1950s until the 1970s are documented by means of paintings, sculptures, objects and portfolios by renowned artists. The collection has later been augmented with works from the 1980s.

HfG Ulm

HfG Ulm

The Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung, HfG), founded in 1953 by Inge Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill, made design history until its untimely closure in 1968. The institution’s achievements continue to be of prime importance for the education and work of designers as well as for research until this day.

A presentation at Museum Ulm offers an insight into the teaching and products of the renowned academy. Since 2011, the HfG-Archiv is located in the original buildings of the academy. The permanent exhibition ‘Von der Stunde Null bis 1968’ (‘From the zero hour to 1968’) as well as focussed special exhibitions document the changeful story of the HfG, from its foundation until its closure.

Further information is provided at www.hfg-archiv.ulm.de.

Provenance Research

Provenance Research

For the Museum Ulm, provenance research is an important contribution to the investigation of National Socialism and the crimes committed in that era, as well as to the remembrance of the victims. Human lives and fates are inseparably connected with the loss of cultural assets due to the practice of expropriation and seizure employed by the National Socialists between 1933 and 1945.

The purpose of the research project, which is funded by the German Lost Art Foundation, is the systematic examination of the museum’s holdings to clarify patchy provenances and identify objects that may have found their way into the collection as a direct or indirect result of persecution by the National Socialists, be it through actual confiscation or sale under duress.

The main focus is on objects acquired between 1933 and 1945, either by purchase, donation, exchange, loan, or as bequest, with special attention to acquisitions from art dealers and private individuals. Due to the size of the collection, a systematic expansion of the research to include works acquired after 1945 is only possible in a follow-up project. However, if there is reasonable suspicion in individual cases, these objects are also investigated.

The provenance research at Museum Ulm is funded by the German Lost Art Foundation:

 

For further information please visit www.kulturgutverluste.de and www.lostart.de.

Conservation

Conservation

Key responsibilities of the museum’s in-house conservation department are the conservation, restoration and general care of the extensive inventory, as well as taking care of works on loan for temporary exhibitions.

To make sure the works stored and presented at the museum remain in good condition, measures of pre-emptive conservation are employed: monitoring of the indoor climate, securing of objects and optimising the presentation of objects in adequate framing and display systems. An important research contribution are the detailed visual inspections regarding material selection, techniques of painting and polychromy, as conducted by the restorers in close cooperation with the curators.