Städtisches Museum Mönchengladbach – the municipal museum later known as Museum Abteiberg – first became a contemporary art museum on December 9, 1922: a day that saw the ceremonious presentation of 97 pieces of Expressionist art that art historian Dr. Walter Kaesbach (1879–1961) had donated to his native city. The gift put the city on a par with other centers of the avantgarde. All that came to an abrupt end in 1937: National Socialists confiscated the collection, which they deemed “degenerate art.”

Museum Abteiberg has been researching the origins of its collection for many years. The majority of its now comparatively small collection of classical Modernist works was acquired in the late 1950s and 1960s. Documentation of paintings, sculptures, drawings and print works acquired after the Second World War is often incomplete. In 2016, with funding from the German Lost Art Foundation in Magdeburg, the museum began a systematic investigation of the “biographies” of post-war acquisitions in particular to ensure that Nazi-looted cultural property has not found its way into the collection.

From 9 – 11 December 2022, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Walter Kaesbach’s foundation, a mediation program around the newly designed Expressionism collection rooms is taking place.

Save the Date:

December 9, 6 p.m.
„Entartete Kunst“: Verfemung – Beschlagnahme – Verwertung. Das Schicksal der Kaesbach-Stiftung im „Dritten Reich“ (engl. “Degenerate Art”: Outlawry – Confiscation – Exploitation. The fate of the of the Kaesbach Foundation in the “Third Reich”), Meike Hoffmann, Head of the Research Center “Degenerate Art,” Art History Department, Freie Universität Berlin (in german language)
Full Programm: December 9 – 11

Image: Christian Rohlfs, Sitzender Männerakt (Seated Male Nude), 1909, Ink on paper, watercoloured, 64,5 x 46 cm, Photo: Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf