Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg
In the footsteps of a pioneer of Modernism
The traces left by the life’s work of German sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck in North Rhine-Westphalia are impossible to miss, with sculptures marked by melancholia and gloom that could hardly be any more expressive. The Lehmbruck Museum, which has treasures from sculpture, painting, and graphic art of the 20th and 21st centuries in store for its visitors, is putting these works in the spotlight.
The long, towering sculptures by sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck extend far into the brightly lit space of the Lehmbruck Museum. The large glass windows, curved concrete walls, and processed pebble create a perfect space for exhibiting the important works of art by this pioneer of Classical Modernism. They can be fully at home here, in one of the world’s most important sculpture museums, a temple of art created particularly for them in a central location just south of the city centre, in the middle of Immanuel Kant Park in Duisburg.
The artist’s son has stated that the building designed by star architect Manfred Lehmbruck and ceremoniously opened in 1964 represents a shelter for the preservation of his father’s work, which achieved world fame primarily with its expressiveness. One example is the “Kneeling woman”, her graceful and delicate features speaking of a unique inventory of abstraction. She is regarded as a visual sign of modernity, an ideal of beauty, and a source of inspiration for innumerable works by other artists, including Joseph Beuys. Another is the “Fallen one”, a counterpart to the typical victorious hero of war. This bronze statue depicts a naked youth on his knees, broken sword in hand, embodying the powerlessness of man. On closer inspection, visitors will discover that his pose resembles a fragile bridge. He was Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s way of processing his experiences from World War I.
In addition to the sculptures by the miner’s son born in Duisburg in 1881, who committed suicide in Berlin in 1919, art enthusiasts will find sculptures of international renown in the exhibition area with its 5000 square metres of floor space. Exhibits by Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometti, Rebecca Horn, Käthe Kollwitz, Richard Serra, Antony Gormley, and Henry Moore from the 20th and 21st centuries, among other things, are found here. Paintings of Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism as well as many graphic works complete the comprehensive presentation. Paintings by Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, Max Beckmann, Max Ernst, or Oskar Schlemmer can engage in a dialogue with figures of metal, bronze, or stone here. Placed together, they provide a new scope for interpretation to the audience.
After exploring all there is to see in the Lehmbruck wing, the large glass hall, and the extension, visitors can expand on their knowledge in the Kantpark’s public sculpture garden that serves as a recreation area and an exchange platform alike. They can launch into discussion right on the pavement and paths in the greens while looking at works by Tony Cragg, Meret Oppenheim, or Erich Hauser here. More than 40 works characterise this cosy cultural oasis that will inspire not only the experts with its combination of art and nature.