The Grand Ducal Museum was opened in 1869 and was one of the very first museums in Germany. The Czech master builder Josef Zítek designed the domed central building in neo-Renaissance style. The side projections of the Neues Museum Weimar are covered with glazed pavilion roofs. Pioneering exhibitions of modern art were held here in the 1920s. The building had to be closed in 1952 because of inflicted damage during the second World War. Since 1988, dedicated citizens have succeeded in saving the remaining ruins. During the City of Culture year 1999, the building was reopened as the Neues Museum Weimar displaying international avant-garde works from the collection of Paul Maenz. During the City of Culture year 1999, the building was reopened as the Neues Museum Weimar displaying international avant-garde works from the collection of Paul Maenz. Since being withdrawn in 2004, the Neues Museum has been displaying the remaining gifts and acquisitions from the Paul Maenz collection in alternation with special exhibitions. Moreover, the museum displays works and collections representative of important eras along with items of contemporary art, for example from the GAG collection and the legacies of Rupprecht Geiger and Raimund Girke. These contemporary artworks are complemented by special exhibitions featuring works from classical times through to the present day.
The staircase and the Preller Gallery on the first floor are the core of the museum. The monumental sculpture
Goethe and Psyche over the landing was created by Carl Steinhäuser in 1851 in Rome, following a design by Bettina von Arnim. The staircase was redesigned in 1999 by the French conceptual artist Daniel Buren for the reopening of the museum. The Preller gallery displays a cycle of 16 frescos showing scenes from the Odyssey painted by Friedrich Preller the Elder. After returning the Paul Maenz's collection in 2004, the Neues Museum Weimar is again exhibiting the collector’s legacies. These contemporary artworks are rounded off by special exhibitions featuring works from classical times through to the present day. One major attraction for visitors is the installation Das Zimmer (»The Room«) in the foyer, created by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist in 1998. The annex to the Neues Museum Weimar, a historical tram depot in an abandoned power station, houses the installation Konzert für Buchenwald (»Concert for Buchenwald«), composed by Rebecca Horn in 1999.
Klassik Stiftung Weimar
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