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Chemnitz - is it a city of industry or a city of art? Or both?
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Ingeborg Morgner
Mon Feb 06 2012, 02:19pm
Registered Member #3
Joined: Tue Jan 31 2012, 04:52pm
Posts: 18

We created interesting presentations about our city in the last weeks.It has been demonstrated, such as the textile machinery, the textile manufacturing and other industries like the automotive have shaped the face of our city. An interesting comparison with Manchester was also done. Norbert showed us in his presentation that our city is getting more and more an artistic face. The Robert- Schumann – Symphony – Orchestra has been developed into an important flagship for Chemnitz during last years.  A lot of famous operas were staged on our opera house.

First of all, I would say that the State Art Collection marks the face of our city more and more. This developed into an important cultural centre of our city in the last years under the direction of Mrs. Mössinger. The Art Collections hold more than 170,000 works of art distributed over four associated museums, the King Albert Museum on the Theatre Square, the Gunzenhauser Museum, the Schlossbergmuseum and the Henry van der Velde Museum.
What can you see there?At first, I will speak about the King Albert Museum, where the most famous paintings are exhibited. The Chemnitz Art Gallery with it’s about 70. 000 objects, dating from the 16th to the 21st century is located on the King Albert Museum. This Museum was built in 1909 at the Theatre Square and was designed by Richard Möbius. Since the restoration in 1993 it is one of the most modern museums in Saxony.The painting section shows works by artists such as Karl Schmidt- Rotluff, C.D. Friedrich, C.G. Carus, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Lovis Corinth, Edvard Munch and Georg Baselitz.Karl Schmidt- Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Edvard Munch were deeply rooted especially with Chemnitz. They were born or have worked here some time.

At this point I would like to add, that Karl Schmidt- Rottluff founded the “ Bridge” , the first German expressionist  artist’s association together with his friends from Chemnitz (Heckel, Kirchner Bleyl ) in 1905 in Dresden.Other focal points of the painting collection are works by the painter of Dresden Romanticism like Ludwig Richter.The Print Collection in in this museum comprises almost 28.000 works on paper by Feininger and Daumier. The artists from the GDR are represented too low out my point of view. Since 2010, some works by Wolfgang Mattheuer are showed, which his widow has given the Gallery.The museum also displays a Textile and Applied Arts Collection a sculpture collection and a library containing more than 70 000 art- related books.The collection of more than 200 sculptures on the ground floor includes works by French sculptors and works by German artists from the first half of the 20th Century (Barlach, Blumenthal etc.).

It is the success of Missis Mösinger in the last years to get many special exhibitions, such as "Picasso and the women", “ Bob Dylon and the paintings “, Edvard Munch , the Cranach exhibition and at last Renoir in Chemnitz.I think, it is very important that more visitors from Germany and from foreign countries get interest for Chemnitz. At this point I would like focus on the Gunzenhauser Museum.The museum building was built in the years 1928 to 1930 as the former headquarters of the Sparkasse Chemnitz in the style of New Objectivity, and was one of the first skyscrapers in Chemnitz and was rebuilt to a museum. The museum was opened in December 2007.

In 2003, the Munich gallerist Alfred Gunzenhauser spent his private collection of mainly German arts works of the 20th century for the foundation of the Museum in Chemnitz.You can see a lot of works of expressionistic painters as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, who were united by their common school time in Chemnitz together and belonged to the Dresden artists' group "Bridge". Gabriele Münter from the "Blue Rider" is represented with 55 paintings. One can find also in this museum works by other expressionistic artists like Jawlensky, Paula Modersohn -Becker, Christian Rohlfs, Max Beckmann, Conrad Felix Müller and other.Heart of the museum is however the largest museum collection of 290 works by Otto Dix (1891-1969). The whole 3rd Floor of the museum is dedicated to him. The first in oil-painted self-portrait from 1912, early paintings from the period at the Dresden School of Applied Arts, major watercolours and gouaches from the time of the First World War as well as important works of the 1920s, works from the period of internal exile and representative examples from the late work are included in this collection. 

What connections existed between Dix and our city?

Otto Dix was disbanded from the Dresden Art Academy by the Nazis in 1933 and he was classified as a degenerate artist. In this time began an intensive friendship with two families from Chemnitz, which were in the next few years with its main sponsors and clients. It is the employer Fritz Emil Niescher (1889 -1974), owner of the margarine factory in Altchemnitz, who established the most extensive collection of silver pen drawings by the artist.The paediatrician Dr. Köhler (1887-1963) gave Dix a flat and a simple atelier in his house in Chemnitz – Schönau . Niescher gave Dix an order for the design of a wall painting in his new villa on Goethe Square (pavilion) in 1937. The pavilion was destroyed in 1945. Now one can see the reconstructed picture, that is called “Orpheus and the animals” in the new exhibition in the museum Gunzenhauser.  The museum and the town Chemnitz celebrated the 120th birthday by Dix last year with a lot of special events. A special exhibition was opened in November with the topic "Dix and Chemnitz." It is displayed until April. I visited these some days ago. It was very interesting for me.

Why? I found a lot of new paintings and drawings especially from the time, when Dix worked in Chemnitz.The art collections are performing in the time of the Otto Dix anniversary by a number of interesting events such as a concert, an old movie about him, and some lectures etc.Next, I‘ d like to take a short look at the Schlossbergmuseum.Klaus and me visited it some weeks ago. I find that is a very interesting museum since it was reconstructed.  For today's topic of "painting in Chemnitz" we found only a few pictures. One finds there some pictures about our town from the last centuries and with some famous personalities.I have talked up to now about the painters of the past, which were rooted with our city. We have some painters in the city today, which create a lot of interesting paintings.

Volker Stelzmann, Clemens Gröszer, Norbert Wagenbrett continue the tradition, where Dix has stopped. They are critical realists.One finds an exhibition of them in the New Gallery in the Tietz until the 12th February.I think , that these artists and some more are an extra topic.Finally, I would short summarize: Chemnitz will be also more and more a city of art. I think it is important for our region.The newspaper “ Focus “ said about our city in 2010 :" With the latest exhibitions of Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Bob Dylan Chemnitz has reached his rank as a museum city again. It is recognized that now with the title "Museum of the Year" 2010."

Fotograf Reinhard Höll	(Lizenz GNU FDL)    König-Albert-Museum (Medienarchiv Wikimedia Common)
Otto Dix - Großstadt Triptchon (Wikimedia Common)
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