Journal Article

Karl Ernst Osthaus, Folkwang and the ‘Hagener Impuls’

Birgit Schulte

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 213-220
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhp028
Karl Ernst Osthaus, Folkwang and the ‘Hagener Impuls’

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The term ‘Hagener Impuls’ characterizes two decades in the history of the city of Hagen, when the city was a place of important developments in the arts. Between 1900 and 1921 Karl Ernst Osthaus tried to realize his vision ‘to make beauty once again the dominant force in life’ by several means – as museum founder, patron, agent and organizer in the field of the arts. Osthaus's initiative went beyond merely establishing the Folkwang Museum. The purpose of his ‘cultural mission’ was to improve the social situation in Hagen, an industrial town and Osthaus's birthplace. He placed his faith in art as a means of restructuring social life and set about attracting outstanding artists to Hagen, procuring them commissions, founding an artists’ colony, workshops and a teaching institute. He was particularly interested in architecture and town planning, since these provided the framework for implementing his utopian idea of society as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’.

Journal Article.  4210 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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