The former Grand Ducal Museum, built in 1869, was one of the first museums established in Germany. In years past, the museum mainly served as a venue for temporary exhibitions, but in April 2019, it reopened with a permanent exhibition on early modernist art from the Weimar Painting School to Henry van de Velde. A large museum workshop invites guests to experiment with the techniques of the arts and crafts.

“Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900”

The new exhibition “Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900” will present outstanding international works of realism, impressionism and Jugendstil which reflect a contradictory, but radiant era that continues to influence our world today. In the context of the pioneering philosopher and cult figure Friedrich Nietzsche, the exhibition presents important works of early modernism. These include pieces by the Weimar Painting School and the avant-garde painters supported by Harry Graf Kessler, from Claude Monet to Max Beckmann. Numerous works highlighting the functional, elegant design of Henry van de Velde will also on be display.

In a large museum workshop, visitors can develop their own designs or produce handcrafted pieces based on themes featured in the exhibition, for example, in the areas of bookbinding and woodworking.

The exhibition and museum-pedagogical activities offered in the workshop are sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia represented by the Thuringian State Chancellery, Department of Culture and Art.

[Translate to English:] Raum


The Grand Ducal Museum was built from 1863 to 1868, and after the interior furnishings were installed together with the “Preller Gallery” designed by Friedrich Preller the Elder, opened in June 1869. Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach originally proposed the idea of building the museum for his Grand Ducal Art Collections. After Weimar’s ducal family stepped down after World War I, the museum reopened in 1919 as the “Thuringian State Museum”. During the 1920s the museum presented controversial positions of the avant-garde.

Staircase of the Neues Museum Weimar
Staircase of the Neues Museum Weimar
The Preller Gallery in the Neues Museum Weimar
The Preller Gallery in the Neues Museum Weimar

After 1933 the National Socialists continued operating the museum but used part of the building for administrative purposes. During World War II, the museum was badly damaged by incendiary bombs, and in the following decades, the neo-Renaissance building increasingly fell into disrepair. Only after extensive renovation and refurbishment in the 1990s was it possible to reopen the Neues Museum in 1999 as part of the festivities marking Weimar’s designation as a European Capital of Culture. Until 2017 the museum served as a venue for internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions on a wide range of themes. In 2019 the Neues Museum Weimar opens with a permanent exhibition entitled “Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900”.

As of 2019, the Neues Museum Weimar will become part of the “Quarter of Weimar Modernism” centred around the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar. Other modernist sites planned in 2020 include an exhibition in the south wing of the Nazi-era Gauforum by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation on the topic of “forced labour”, and the House of the Weimar Republic on Theaterplatz.

Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.

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