Museum History 1887 – 2016

Mayor Viktor Kaifer proposes establishing a collection devoted to city and abbey history.

Foundation of the “Verein zur Förderung des Kunsthandwerks in Stadt und Kreis M. Gladbach” [Association for the Promotion of Arts and Crafts in the City and District of M. Gladbach].The catalogue of holdings lists 59 objects in May 1900.

Actual founding year of the museum. The collection is expanded by 73 objects. Prof. Dr. P. Meyer, Gymnasium M.Gladbach, catalogues and exhibits in rooms of the city hall. Commission for the administration of museum affairs is formed.

Museum association founded with former mayor Kaifer as its first chairman.

Prof. Dr. Stender assumes directorship of the museum and is in charge of the applied arts and ethnography section. Prof. Dr. Schurz leads the historical section, Prof. Dr. Brockmeier the natural science section.

Considered the museum’s official founding year. The Alte Evangelische Volksschule [Old Protestant Elementary School] on Fliescherberg becomes its first separate building. The grade school is used as an exhibition venue until 1926.

Starting 1905
Artwork purchases and changing art exhibitions under the direction of painter Hubert Oellers. The first exhibition shows works by Max Roeder.

Textile collection comprising 4000 exhibits is acquired from Dr. Voß, Schleveringhoven Castle.

Acquisitions out of the Kramer Collection. Death of museum director Stender. Prof. Dr. Schurz takes over as head of the museum with the title Museum Director – on an unsalaried basis until 1924.

Starting 1911/12
Plans for a new museum. The city council approves 125,000 marks for a museum in 1913. The plans could not be realized during the First World War.

Art historian Dr. Walter Kaesbach (b. Mönchengladbach 1879 – d. Konstanz 1961) gives his outstanding collection of German Expressionists to his home town of Mönchengladbach as a long-term loan. Exhibition in the Fliescherberg building. “Kunstverein der Dr. Walter Kaesbach-Stiftung” [Art Association of the Dr. Walter Kaesbach Foundation] formed. Kaesbach, museum director in Erfurt, becomes director of the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1924, where he hires Heinrich Campendonk (1929), Paul Klee (1931) and Ewald Mataré (1932) as professors. Kaesbach would be dismissed without notice by the National Socialists in 1933.

Last will and testament of Oskar Kühlen, owner of the publishing company Kunst- und Verlagsanstalt B. Kühlen and board member of the museum association, transfers ownership of his residential building at Bismarckstraße 97 to the City of Mönchengladbach, along with artworks and applied art.
Temporary repossession of the Kaesbach Collection, which is housed in the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, due to unfavorable conservation conditions.

Donation of the house at Kaiserstraße 47 by Reinhold Brandts, son of Mönchengladbach entrepreneur Karl Brandts, on condition that the building – which is to bear the name “Karl-Brandts-Haus” – is used to house the municipal library and for archival and museum purposes.

June 6, 1926
Opening of the Städtisches Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Oskar Kühlen Foundation) at Bismarckstraße 97 under the leadership of museum director Prof. Dr. Carl Schurz.

Kaesbach Collection donated on condition that it be kept intact. The collection becomes property of the City of Mönchengladbach as the “Dr. Walter Kaesbach Foundation” and is exhibited on the first floor of Karl-Brandts-Haus. Parts of the municipal collection are exhibited in other rooms.

Carl Schurz celebrates 25 years as museum director.

Schurz steps down from his post as museum director. He is succeeded by archivist Julius Koenzgen.

Karl-Brandts-Haus becomes the “Haus der Kunst” [House of Art] for exhibiting art and crafts collections, while the Oskar-Kühlen-Haus on Bismarckstraße becomes the “Haus der Heimat” [House of the Homeland] devoted to homeland preservation and family research.

Confiscation of the Kaesbach Collection by the National Socialists as part of their “Entartete Kunst” [degenerate art] campaign.

Karl-Brandts-Haus destroyed in aftermath of the war, parts of the museum collection are evacuated.

Heinrich Dattenberg takes over as head of the museum and is confirmed as its director in April 1947. Dattenberg – a friend of Walter Kaesbach’s – contributes significantly to the museum’s development in his 20 years of activity. Though prevented from continuing the Kaesbach era with its comprehensive purchases of Expressionism for financial reasons, he laid important foundations with numerous exhibitions devoted to European and German modernism, contemporary and regional art and crafts, and a discerning program of lectures.

May 27,1946
Temporary exhibitions resume at Städtisches Museum – first at Mozartstraße 14 (Haus Hermann Therstappen).

October 31,1946
Exhibitions resume at Bismarckstraße 97.

Walter Kaesbach donates an extensive collection of drawings and watercolors by Heinrich Nauen to the museum.

City council approves construction of a new museum building by Essen-based architect Horst Loy.

Reconstruction of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Halle, destroyed by fire, nullifies plans for the new building.

Heinrich Dattenberg ages into retirement.

June 1, 1967
Johannes Cladders, Paul Wembers’ assistant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld since 1957, assumes directorship of the museum on Bismarckstraße. His assistants include Hans van der Grinten (1971 – 1974), Clara Weyergraf (1975 – 1976) and Sabine Kimpel (1977 – 1985).
Museum association activities intensify starting 1969 under the chairmanship of Karl Heinemann

City council approves accepting the Etzold Collection as a permanent loan to the Städtisches Museum.

Planning begins for a new building on Abteiberg, a commission to Viennese architect Hans Hollein. Museum association introduces annual artist editions.

The cities of Mönchengladbach, Rheydt and the municipality of Wickrath are merged to form one city, Mönchengladbach, as part of “municipal reorganization” measures.

November 29, 1976
Groundbreaking ceremony on Abteiberg.

Closure of Städtisches Museum in Bismarckstraße, start of preparations for move to Museum Abteiberg, which is currently under construction.

June 23,1982
Opening of Museum Abteiberg, large parts of the Marx Collection are made available to the city on permanent loan.

Hans Hollein receives the Pritzker Award for the museum’s outstanding architecture.

Dierk Stemmler assumes directorship of the museum

Veit Loers transfers to Museum Abteiberg from Städtische Galerie Regensburg.

The Marx Collection is taken to Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.

Acquisition of an extensive complex of works by Dieter Roth

May 11, 2002
The sculpture park at the foot of the old abbey garden, already envisioned by Hollein, was realized within the framework of the decentralized state garden show Euroga 2002+. It features works by Franz West, Jorge Pardo, Stefan Kern, Dan Peterman, Mauro Staccioli, Larry Bell and François Morellet.

Susanne Titz becomes the museum’s new director.

Museum closed due to extensive general renovation. All sandstone slabs on the exterior were refurbished.

Museum named “Museum of the Year” by the AICA Association (International Association of Art Critics)