06.11.2011 - 04.03.2012
Emil Nolde and his collector Paul Ströhmer
An Early Collection of Expressionist Art in Neumünster
  • Die Kuratoren im Gespräch mit der Zeitzeugin Frau Mewes
  • Zeitzeugin Frau Mewes
  • Dr. Ulrike Wolff-Thomsen (links) Kuratorin
  • Dr. Martin Henatsch (rechts) Kurator

It's a miracle!

In precisely the house which Gerisch-Stiftung declared a place for the promotion and presentation of contemporary art in 2007, a similar spirit prevailed 100 years earlier. Unconcerned with conventional taste prejudice and trusting his instincts, the coloured paper manufacturer Paul Ströhmer (1861 – 1945) collected contemporary art in the house he built in Neumünster, today Villa Wachholtz. This collection of art, which Ströhmer put together from around 1903 to 1923 from paintings, watercolours, drawings and ceramics by artists who were then contemporary and who we now define as expressionists, had been almost completely forgotten. The collection focused in particular on Nolde but also included works by Willi Geiger, Katsushika Hokusai, Adolf Lesnick, Otto Mueller, Christian Rohlfs, Erich Waske and Heinrich Zille. Villa Wachhholtz was thus, in the early 20th century, one of the few places in northern Germany for pioneering art. Nolde was a friend of his collector and often visited Ströhmer in his house. This extraordinary collection has now been scattered to the winds. For Gerisch-Stiftung, it has been an exciting, necessary task to rediscover this treasure of Neumünster and Schleswig-Holstein cultural history. One of the main works in the exhibition, Nolde's painting Die Philister (The Philistines, 1915), will now be on public view again for the first time in many decades.


In addition to the exhibition, the carefully prepared catalogue (published by Wachholtz-Verlag) reconstructs this extraordinary collection for the first time and also documents the detailed correspondence between Emil Nolde and his collector Paul Ströhmer. It reveals a fascinating portrait of a north German collector which provides deep insight into the understanding of art and the world at his time.