press release

This fall, Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum will mark its 100th anniversary of collecting, studying, and presenting the art of German-speaking countries and the related cultures of Central and Northern Europe. Founded as the Germanic Museum by scholar Kuno Francke and currently the only U.S. museum devoted to promoting the appreciation of art from this area of the world from the Middle Ages to the present, the Museum grew out of Harvard's commitment to the study of Germanic culture and a dedication to creating museums that are exceptional interdisciplinary resources. Today, the Busch-Reisinger Museum is distinguished by its collection, its unparalleled leadership in advancing the appreciation of Germanic art within the United States, and its role in shaping the development of scholars and leaders in the field.

The Museum's deep and wide-ranging collection includes important holdings of Austrian Secession art, German expressionism, 1920s abstraction, and material related to the Bauhaus, including archives of Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius. The Museum's holdings also encompass notable collections of late medieval, Renaissance, and baroque sculpture, 16th-century painting, and 18th-century porcelain. An intensive program of acquisition has resulted in a broad and strong representation of post-1945 German art, with particular strengths in drawings, prints, and photographs. The Busch-Reisinger's collection of multiples by postwar artist Joseph Beuys is among the most comprehensive in the world.

"The Busch-Reisinger Museum's impact on the study and appreciation of the art of German-speaking countries has been unmatched by any other U.S. museum," said Peter Nisbet, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum. "Through its 100 years of vigorous collecting, teaching, and researching art of this culture, the Museum has built a foundation in the United States for the popular appreciation of German art. The Busch-Reisinger Museum has also played a seminal role in shaping the study of art history at Harvard, and, in turn, throughout the United States. It has been my great privilege to continue the pioneering traditions of this important institution."

Since 1983, the Museum's scholarly and collecting activities have been directed by Nisbet in collaboration with the director of the Harvard University Art Museums. A European group of patrons supports the institution, a rare circumstance among art museums in the United States. Founded in Germany in 1983, the Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum (Verein der Freunde des Busch-Reisinger Müseums) now numbers over 240 members based in Germany as well as in Austria, Switzerland, and other countries. This dynamic, internationally focused group supports many facets of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, making possible an active exhibition and publication program, curatorial internships, and a wide range of important acquisitions.

Exhibitions, Teaching, and Research In the past 20 years alone, the Museum has organized solo exhibitions of the work of contemporary artists such as Joseph Beuys, Günter Umberg, Hanne Darboven, and Anselm Kiefer as well as major national and international traveling exhibitions devoted to topics ranging from German drawings and watercolors of the age of Goethe to German realist drawings of the 1920s, and from works by El Lissitzky to East German art. Masterpieces from the Museum's 20th-century collection have been presented at the National Gallery in Washington and in Germany at the Städel in Frankfurt, the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, and the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf.

The Museum's exhibition program rests in part on research conducted by interns who work closely with senior scholars. As part of the Harvard Art Museums' renowned curatorial internship program, the Busch-Reisinger Museum offers a 22-month internship annually, designated in alternate years for European nationals. The curatorial internship program provides a wide-ranging hands-on experience to prepare for professional and scholarly careers in art history, particularly at museums. Recent projects developed by Busch-Reisinger interns include:

Wols Photographs, a 1999 exhibition (the first U.S. presentation of this material) that showcased photographs from the 1930s by the German-French artist Wols (Wolfgang Otto Schulze, 1913-1951). Wols rose to fame in the post-1945 European art scene as one of the founders of Art informel. Eat Art: Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Sonja Alhäuser, a major exhibition in 2001 that featured food as artistic material in German art created from the mid-1960s to the present day;, a major exhibition in 2001 that featured food as artistic material in German art created from the mid-1960s to the present day; * Extra Ordinary Every Day: The Bauhaus at the Busch-Reisinger, an Internet-only exhibition at This curated "tour" focuses on 20 works in five thematic sections (lamp, chair, house, stage, and auto). Accompanying commentaries highlight the ambition of Bauhaus artists to infiltrate and revolutionize all aspects of everyday life. The exhibition is available online through 2005.

In 2002, as part of its teaching mission, the Busch-Reisinger Museum completed a guide to teaching with artworks drawn from its permanent collection. A resource for teachers of art history, social studies, world history, government, and civics, From Modern Art to "Degenerate Art" draws on the Museum's unparalleled collection of German modern art and its related archives. The guide's information about the artworks is supported by in-depth historical background and curricular materials about the crucial social and political roles of modern art in Weimar Germany and Nazi Germany.

Before Expressionism: Art in Germany circa 1903. An Exhibition for the 100th Anniversary of the Busch-Reisinger Museum In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Busch-Reisinger Museum will present an exhibition devoted to art in Germany in 1903, the year the Museum opened, offering insight into the vibrant arts community prior to the emergence of expressionism. Before Expressionism: Art in Germany circa 1903. An Exhibition for the 100th Anniversary of the Busch-Reisinger Museum focuses on a less well-known aspect of art in Germany that is in keeping with the Museum's mission. Organized by Adrian Sudhalter, Werner and Maren Otto Curatorial Intern (2002-2004), under the direction of Peter Nisbet, the exhibition will present approximately 40 paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photographs drawn primarily from the Museum's collection.

The exhibition will showcase trends in German art, which reacted against the style approved by the Academy and the establishment. Naturalist painters such as Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann, Wilhelm Trübner, and Lesser Ury will be featured. The artists Max Klinger, Franz von Stuck, Hans Thoma, and Heinrich Vogeler, who turned away from the material world in favor of the realm of myth and imagination, will also be represented. Emil Nolde and Paul Klee will be among the artists whose work displays a more satirical response to contemporary life.

Birthday Presents To celebrate the Museum's 100th anniversary, generous friends and supporters have donated a rich selection of artworks, which will be published November in a catalogue entitled Birthday Presents. The collection includes major paintings such as Franz von Stuck's Wounded Amazon (1905), an early landscape by Paula Modersohn-Becker, oils by Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer, and a 1960s abstract painting by Ernst Wilhelm Nay, and many other works.

The Busch-Reisinger Museum The impetus for the founding of the Germanic Museum was the publication in 1897 of an article called "The Need of a Germanic Museum" by a committee of three Harvard professors of German literature, among them Kuno Francke. The Museum's history of major gifts began in 1902 when, while visiting Cambridge, Prince Henry of Prussia announced that his brother Kaiser Wilhelm II would "make a magnificent gift to the Germanic Museum, which will include key monuments in the development of German sculpture." Kaiser Wilhem II's gift included a substantial collection of plaster casts, many of which are now installed in Adolphus Busch Hall, the Museum's second home. On November 10, 1903, the birth date of Martin Luther and Friedrich Schiller, the Germanic Museum opened and was dedicated. Francke was named curator.

The Museum originally contained only reproductions, notably plaster casts of major Germanic, sculptural, and architectural icons and milestones that were used by Francke as resources for teaching and research. Under the subsequent curatorship (1930-68) of Charles L. Kuhn, the Museum developed one of the leading collections of modern art from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and related cultures and embraced the power of original works of art. The Museum was renamed the Busch-Reisinger Museum in 1950 in honor of the two St. Louis families that had contributed decisively to its support. The collection currently encompasses works from the Middle Ages to the present, with a special emphasis on art and design after 1880, and contains approximately 18,000 works:

210 paintings 440 sculptures 2,670 drawings and prints 940 photographs 960 works by Joseph Beuys, including multiples (including prints, photographs, artist-designed postcards and publications, audio and video tapes) and unique works (drawings, sculpture, and signed ready-mades) 225 books 450 decorative arts objects 1,400 textile samples and 20 tapestries * 9,300 drawings, prints, photographs, and papers in the Walter Gropius and Lyonel Feininger archives.

Today, the Busch-Reisinger Museum is located in Werner Otto Hall, which is attached to and accessed through the Fogg Art Museum. Completed in 1991, Werner Otto Hall was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates to showcase the Museum's collection of works created after 1880. In addition to housing the permanent collection of this period, Werner Otto Hall also encompasses a special exhibition gallery and the Museum's Study Room, where students and scholars can view art and conduct research, either individually or in classes. Germanic artworks from prior to 1880 are presented in the Fogg Art Museum and in Adolphus Busch Hall.

About the Harvard University Art Museums The Harvard University Art Museums are one of the world's leading arts institutions, with the Arthur M. Sackler, Busch-Reisinger, and Fogg art museums, the Straus Center for Conservation, and the U.S. headquarters for the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, an excavation project in western Turkey.

The Harvard University Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. As an integral part of the Harvard community, the three art museums serve as a resource for all students, adding a special dimension to their areas of study. The public is welcome to experience the collections and exhibitions as well as to enjoy lectures, symposia, and other programs.

For more than a century, the Harvard University Art Museums have been the nation's premier training ground for museum professionals and scholars and are renowned for their role in the development of the discipline of art history in this country.

Before Expressionism - Art in Germany circa 1903
An Exhibition for the 100th Anniversary of the Busch-Reisinger Museum
Ort: Busch-Reisinger Museum

Künstler: Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann, Wilhelm Trübner, Lesser Ury, Max Klinger, Franz von Stuck, Hans Thoma, Heinrich Vogeler, Emil Nolde, Paul Klee, Max Klinger, Max Liebermann, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Franz von Stuck ...