Museum

Kunstmuseen Krefeld

The Kunstmuseen Krefeld have been venues for the presentation of contemporary art for 120 years.

With their three locations—the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in the center of town and the modern villas Haus Lange and Haus Esters in the Bockum residential area, the Kunstmuseen Krefeld represent an ideal forum for a program dedicated to the encounter of fine and applied arts.

Kaiser Wilhelm Museum

The foundation for the Kunstmuseen Krefeld was laid in 1897 with the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum at Karlsplatz.

Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, 2017, Photo: Volker Döhne
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, 2017, Photo: Volker Döhne

Haus Esters Haus Lange

The two urban villas Haus Esters and Haus Lange were erected in 1927–1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the leading representatives of New Architecture. Originally planned as private homes for the families of two friends active in Krefeld’s silk industry, Hermann Lange and Dr Josef Esters, they are now venues for the temporary exhibitions of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.

Haus Lange, Garden view, Photo: Volker Döhne
Haus Lange, Garden view, Photo: Volker Döhne
Haus Esters, Photo: Volker Döhne
Haus Esters, Photo: Volker Döhne

Mies Van der Rohe

“I wanted to use a lot more glass in this house, but my client did not want that. I was faced with problems. They were nice people. We became good friends.” These are the few written lines we have from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) on his client Hermann Lange (1874–1942) in Krefeld. They come from an interview in 1959 and thus bridge a gap of 30 years since 1930, when Haus Lange and Haus Esters were finished.

As a result, they tell us little about the real significance that the textile manufacturer had for Mies van der Rohe's creative work in the 1920s. After all, Hermann Lange was responsible for commissioning or passing on eight projects to him. Their collaboration began with the appointments for the café “Velvet and Silk” at the Berlin trade fair for women’s fashion in 1927.

By 1927–28, when he began to plan Haus Lange and Haus Esters, Mies van der Rohe was already a highly successful Modernist architect. Born in 1886 in Aachen as Ludwig Mies, the name under which he was to rise to fame was made by adding his mother's maiden name. After a brief apprenticeship in Aachen (vocational school, his father's stonemason business) and initial employment as a furniture designer by Bruno Paul and later as an architect for Peter Behrens in Berlin, in 1912 he opened up his own architectural practice.

By the beginning of the 1920s he had already come up with trailblazing ideas for a high-rise at Friedrichstrasse station (1921), an office block in reinforced concrete (1923), a country house also in reinforced concrete (1923), and for a country house in brick (1923/24), even if none of them were built. At the same time, by the mid-1920s Mies van der Rohe was already an experienced architect who built villas and country houses for the upper classes in Berlin and its surrounding areas. In 1926 he directed the Werkbund exhibition The Apartment, which was responsible for the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. That same year he became vice president of the Deutscher Werkbund and in 1930 director of the Bauhaus, which had moved from Dessau to Berlin, where it was closed in 1933 by the National Socialists.

These few key dates already give an idea of the sheer scope and diversity of this great man of architecture. The foundations of Miesian design, which is inadequately conveyed by such buzzwords as “open plan” and “steel frame” (even for residential buildings and country homes), had already reached its maturity in Mies van der Rohe's work in Europe. Ultimately his greatly impressive achievements while in America from 1938 onwards were his revolutionary ideas for high-rise buildings and the concepts behind his large-scale projects. Mies van der Rohe developed the curtain wall made of steel and glass, as well as trussless interiors for hall constructions with wide-span roofs.

In 1953 Mies van der Rohe was made a Member of the Order Pour le Mérite (German Federal Republic) and in 1963 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom—an honor bestowed by the president of the United States of America. Mies van der Rohe died on August 17, 1969 in Chicago.

Verseidag Dye Factory, Krefeld, (First stage of construction 1931)
Verseidag Dye Factory, Krefeld, (First stage of construction 1931)
Mies van der Rohe working on Haus Esters, approx. 1927/28, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019
Mies van der Rohe working on Haus Esters, approx. 1927/28, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019

Team

Director
Katia Baudin
T +49 (0)2151 97558-111

Administrative Assistant
Sylvia Görres
T +49 (0)2151 97558-111
sylvia.goerres@krefeld.de

Assistant Curator
Constanze Zawadzky
T +49 (0)2151 97558-118
constanze.zawadzky@krefeld.de

Deputy Director
Dr. Sylvia Martin
T +49 (0)2151 97558-114
sylvia.martin@krefeld.de

Curator of Collections Dr. Magdalena Holzhey
T +49 (0)2151 97558-113
magdalena.holzhey@krefeld.de

Press & Public Relations
Katharina Mannel
T +49 (0)2151 97558-131
katharina.mannel@krefeld.de

Fundraising & Partnerships
Susanne Buckesfeld
T +49 (0)2151 97558-136
susanne.buckesfeld@krefeld.de

Education and Public Programs
Thomas Janzen
T +49 (0)2151 97558-112
thomas.janzen@krefeld.de

Visitor Services
Eva Tuttaß
T +49 (0)2151 97558-137
eva.tuttass@krefeld.de

Anna Verstegen
T +49 (0)2151 97558-137
anna.verstegen@krefeld.de

Administration
Marion Roggelin
T +49 (0)2151 97558-117
marion.roggelin@krefeld.de

Administration / Shop
Sigrid Petz
T +49 (0)2151 97558-126
sigrid.petz@krefeld

Library
Gabriele Pickartz
T +49 (0)2151 97558-125
gabriele.pickartz@krefeld.de

Conservator
Sebastian Köhler
T +49 (0)2151 97558-122
sebastian.koehler@krefeld.de

Technical Manager
Thomas Larisch-Pütz
T +49 (0)2151 97558-133
thomas.larisch@krefeld.de

Art Handler and Carpentry
Henrik Weiß
T +49 (0)2151 97558-116
henrik.weiss@krefeld.de

Facility Manager
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum
Thorsten Hausmann
T +49 (0)2151 97558-124
thorsten.hausmann@krefeld.de

Facility Manager
Museen Haus Lange und Haus Esters
Jürgen Schmitz
T +49 (0)2151 9557-18
juergen.schmitz@krefeld.de