Our Story

To approach Museum art-based peacebuildung, we visit museums exhibiting art of German Expressionism/Degenerate Art on regular basis

A trip to the Center of Persecuted Arts in the culturally vibrant Ruhr Region of Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia, is our 2023 highlighting. This Museum is the only one in Europe explicetly exhibiting art work of persecuted artists

Meeting Persecuted Artists

The permanent exhibition at the Center for Persecuted Arts Solingen GER shows master pieces that have been labelled as degenerative art during the 1930s and 1940s

Although not all exhibits are touching (some of them do not resonate at all), we are deeply moved by the show as a whole. We are introduced to unknown or neglected stunning pieces of innovative persecuted Expressionists speaking to us:

'Keep up the positive and withdraw from despair having the last word!' - this is what we get from the exhibitors as timeless message

Their art makes us feel something polyphony inside sounding more than just one voice. From all the voices we get, the voice of compassion for creative life is the strongest

Creative Compassion - Our Story Art Journal Page January 5th, 2023

Collage with Artwork of ©Eric Isenburger (1902-1944), Portrait of a Dancer, 1928

Persecuted arts are witnessing the power of human creativity in the midst of destructive and life threatening circumstances. They document incredible resilience and hold a promise of hope

This promise makes us research the work of other persecuted artists. We come across the Art Museum Reutlingen GER where the art work of Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934) is exhibited

In Adolf Hölzel we find a progressive and innovative artist and art teacher, a pioneer of modern arts who strongly promoted artistic voices of female artists being persecuted for their art

Heritage of The Hölzel Circle

In 1933 a small set of art works of Hölzel and an impressive number of pieces of his students 'The Hölzel Circle' was to be exhibited at the National Art Exhibition. The exhibition was cancelled due to National Sozialist seizure of power

The art work of three members of the Hölzel Circle was officially declared as degenerative:

- The art of Ida Kerkovius, master student and long time assistant of Hölzel (banned in 1933)

- The art of Lily Hildebrandt, also a master student who chronologically documented Hölzel's lectures (banned in 1935)

- The art of Max Ackermann (banned in 1936), a painter and designer who's artwork was already exhibited at the State Art Gallery Stuttart at that time   

Another member of the Hölzel Circle, Maria Lemmé who had been studying with Adolf Hölzel and published his ideas in her book "Thoughts and Teachings", was deported to Terezín in 1942 (official date of death March 28, 1943). Almost all of the art of Maria Lemmé had been destroyed except pictures she privatley had given away

Finding out about the members of the Hölzel Circle we visit the Stuttgart Hölzel House. Here we find traces of their lives and their art, presented in a permanent exhibition. We feel intrigued by their work and cannot other but hold up respect for their heritage

Creative Compassion - Our Story Collage by Hans Weinberg (1931-1943), photo taken a the Old Synagoge Wuppertal GER

Cover of 'I Never Saw Another Butterfly', Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezín Concentration Camp

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