The Collection

3500 years of glass-making, on permanent exhibition in the shape of over 3000 fine works displayed over 1200 square metres of exhibition space – the statistics alone testify to the calibre of the Glasmuseum Hentrich. Alongside the great museums at Corning, London and Prague, the Hentrich Glass Museum is one of the world’s leading collections of glass

Exquisite objects from ancient Egyptian ear jewellery to the works of contemporary art glass-makers – the likes of Emile Gallé, Louis C. Tiffany, René Lalique, Stanislav Libenský and Dale Chihuly, in short, the very best of almost every era and region of glass-making is represented at the Glasmuseum. A specialist collection of a kind met only in a few other locations in the world, it is in the manifold collections at Museum Kunstpalast.

Ohrschmuck; Ägypten, 18./19. Dynastie, Mitte 14. – Mitte 13. Jh. v. Chr.
Ohrschmuck; Ägypten, 18./19. Dynastie, Mitte 14. – Mitte 13. Jh. v. Chr.; Inv. Nr. 17025; Foto: LVR-Zentrum für Medien und Bildung; Stefan Arendt, 2011

History

The beginnings of the Glasmuseum Hentrich lie in the design reference collection kept at the one-time Kunstgewerbemuseum – that had stood in Düsseldorf from 1883 until 1927. With the museum’s closure, the glasses in that collection entered the municipality’s new  Kunstmuseum. In the 1930s and 1940s, the purchase of the Lückger and Jantzen collections lent glass, compared to the other items of arts and crafts in the museum, a profile of its own. From 1961 on, Düsseldorf architect Prof. Dr Helmut Hentrich (1905 – 2001) made yearly gifts to the Museum from his outstanding collection of Middle-Eastern and Art Nouveau glass. It was in his honour in 1990 that the Kunstmuseum renamed its Glassammlung or simply, Glass Collection, henceforth to be the Glasmuseum Hentrich. In accordance with the wish expressed in Hentrich’s will, the Glasmuseum exhibition area was given a handsome extension executed by the Swiss architects’ office of Steiner Sarnen. This was opened to the public in 2006.

Vase; Emile Gallé; Nancy, um 1898-1900
Vase; Emile Gallé; Nancy, um 1898-1900; Schenkung Hentrich; Foto: LVR-Zentrum für Medien und Bildung; Stefan Arendt, 2011

Displays

The heart of the Glasmuseum Hentrich is the Treasure House, finished in a radiant red. Here, the visitor can follow a three-storey route of masterpieces through the entire history of artistic glass-making. Colours distinguish the various eras through a sequence of galleries.

The first feature to strike the eye after the Treasure House is the Sculpture Gallery, in which a selection of larger, modern works is presented. An area adjoining the sculptures is dedicated to the donors who have helped the Museum attain its present standing with generous gifts. In a Study Gallery in the basement, a further 2000 objects from the holdings are arranged by technique and other categories. The glass collection also has a video lounge, a ‘hands-on’ display of tools and glasses, and, most important, a small exhibition space for changing exhibitions.

Walzenkrug; Brandenburg, Potsdam; Glasschnitt Gottfried Spiller oder Umkreis, Berlin, Anfang 18. Jahrhundert
Walzenkrug; Brandenburg, Potsdam; Glasschnitt Gottfried Spiller oder Umkreis, Berlin, Anfang 18. Jahrhundert; Ehemals Sammlung Jantzen, Bremen; Inv. Nr. P 1940-135; Foto: Studio Fuis, Köln

Areas of specialisation

Supporting and augmenting the overall panorama of the history of the art of glass at the Glasmuseum Hentrich are highlight areas, behind almost all of which stand the names of excellent collections or gifts.

  • The Classical era
    Glass of the Roman age, mostly from Near-Eastern workshops
  • Islam
    The Near East, from the Late Classical period (Sassanid Dynasty) to circa 1400

  • The Middle Ages The collection of utility and luxury glass of the Middle Ages, from the Merovingian period to the Renaissance, is among the best in the world.

  • Renaissance to nineteenth century The height of European glass-making – the Venetian Renaissance; Baroque cut glass and ruby-red glass in Central Europe, e.g. with pieces by Hans Wolfgang Schmidt, Johann Schaper, Friedrich Winter, Gottfried Spiller and Georg Ernst Kunckel; the Biedermeier era (broadly first half of nineteenth century, Germany) with works by, e.g., Johann Josef Mildner, Samuel Mohn, Anton Kothgasser and Dominik Biemann; Historicism, represented by names such as Vincenzo Moretti, Giuseppe Barovier or C.H.F. Müller in Hamburg, the Rheinische Glashütten AG glassworks in Cologne and J&L Lobmeyr in Vienna.

  • Jugendstil/Art Nouveau
    Art Nouveau/Jugendstil, from the 1880s until c. 1904, is the Glasmuseum Hentrich’s area of greatest specialisation, with works of the French Art Nouveau makers, of whom Emile Gallé at Nancy was the most prominent; also Daum Frères at Nancy, François Eugène Rousseau in Paris; and Burgun, Schverer & Co. at Meisenthal. The collection has large holdings of pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York, and Johann Lötz Witwe in Bohemia. Further names represented include Meyr’s Neffe, Karl Koepping, Peter Behrens, Poschinger, Theresienthal, Fritz Heckert and the Josephinenhütte works.

  • 1920–1960 A highly reputed stock of Art Deco glasses, by Maurice Marinot; the ascent of art glass-making from the 1920s on in Murano, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Finland.

  • Studio Glass Untrammelled artistic approaches to glass, very comprehensive stock numbering some 600 works. Special features are works by Erwin Eisch; by artists in former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech and Slovak republics, e.g. Jiři Harcuba, René Roubiček, Václav Cigler, Ivan Mareš, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová; and the Dutch, Andries Dirk Copier, Floris Meydam, Willem Heesen, Mieke Groot and others.

  • Glass design Items illustrating European glass design since the Second World War. Production and archives of the Wiesenthalhütte works at Schwäbisch Gmünd. Pioneering products from the Dutch glassworks at Leerdam. German mouth-blowing workshops such as Süssmuth, Gralglas, Rosenthal and WMF with Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s designs. A comprehensive archive of artists and companies.

Highlights

Holdings

Schale; Achämenidisches Reich, Persien, Ende; 5./Anfang; 4. Jh. v. Chr.
Schale; Achämenidisches Reich, Persien, Ende; 5./Anfang; 4. Jh. v. Chr.; Foto: Studio Fuis, Köln

Glasmuseum Hentrich affords a comprehensive panorama of the history of fine glassmaking. almost every era of this art is represented here, with eminent works of superlative quality. Beyond these, the Hentrich Glass Museum also tends a number of areas of special interest – areas of the collection which are particularly well-stocked.

Behind the feature areas in the Glasmuseum Hentrich collection In almost every case, are the names of excellent private collections which the Museum has been able to purchase or which it has had the fortune to receive as gifts.

More information to the objects you will find at

https://emuseum.duesseldorf.de/

The Classical era
Glass of the Roman age, mostly from Near-Eastern workshops.

Islam
The Near East, from the Late Classical period (the Sassanid Dynasty) to circa 1400.

The Middle Ages
The collection of utility and luxury glass of the Middle Ages, from the Merovingian period to the Renaissance, is among the best in the world.

Millefiori-Schale; Vermutlich Katalonien, um 1550-1600
Millefiori-Schale; Vermutlich Katalonien, um 1550-1600; Ehemals Sammlung Thewalt, Köln; Foto: LVR-Zentrum für Medien und Bildung; Stefan Arendt, 2011

Renaissance to nineteenth century

Masterpieces of European glass-making – the Venetian Renaissance; Baroque cut glass and ruby-red glass in Central Europe, e.g. with pieces by Hans Wolfgang Schmidt, Johann Schaper, Friedrich Winter, Gottfried Spiller and Georg Ernst Kunckel; the Biedermeier era (broadly first half of nineteenth century, Germany) with works by, e.g., Johann Josef Mildner, Samuel Mohn, Anton Kothgasser and Dominik Biemann; Historicism, represented by names such as Vincenzo Moretti, Giuseppe Barovier or C.H.F. Müller in Hamburg, the Rheinische Glashütten AG glassworks in Cologne and J&L Lobmeyr in Vienna.

Jugendstil/Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau/Jugendstil, from the 1880s until c. 1904, is the Glasmuseum Hentrich’s area of greatest specialisation, with works of the French Art Nouveau makers, of whom Emile Gallé at Nancy was the most prominent; also Daum Frères at Nancy, François Eugène Rousseau in Paris; and Burgun, Schverer & Co. at Meisenthal. The collection has large holdings of pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York, and Johann Lötz Witwe in Bohemia. Further names represented include Meyr’s Neffe, Karl Koepping, Peter Behrens, Poschinger, Theresienthal, Fritz Heckert and the Josephinenhütte works.

Lampe; Glasmanufaktur Johann Lötz Witwe; Klostermühle, Südböhmen, um 1901-1902
Lampe; Glasmanufaktur Johann Lötz Witwe; Klostermühle, Südböhmen, um 1901-1902; Dauerleihgabe der Freunde Museum; Kunstpalast; Foto: Studio Fuis, Köln

1920–1960

A highly reputed stock of Art Deco glasses, by Maurice Marinot; the ascent of art glass-making from the 1920s on in Murano, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Finland.

Studio Glass

Untrammelled artistic approaches to glass, very comprehensive stock numbering some 600 works. Special features are works by Erwin Eisch; by artists in former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech and Slovak republics, e.g. Ji?í Harcuba, René Roubí?ek, Václav Cigler, Ivan Mareš, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová; and the Dutch, Andries Dirk Copier, Floris Meydam, Willem Heesen, Mieke Groot and others.

Glass design

Items illustrating European glass design since the Second World War. Production and archives of the Wiesenthalhütte works at Schwäbisch Gmünd. Pioneering products from the Dutch glassworks at Leerdam. German mouth-blowing workshops such as Süssmuth, Gralglas, Rosenthal and WMF with Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s designs. A comprehensive archive of artists and companies.

Research

Vasen (bzw. Weinservice), Musterblatt der Kristallglasfabrik Oberzwieselau, um 1900
Vasen (bzw. Weinservice), Musterblatt der Kristallglasfabrik Oberzwieselau, um 1900

The Glasmuseum Hentrich’s ultimate goal is to offer a comprehensive testimony to the history of artistic glassmaking from its beginnings  to the present day. To make it all accessible and to further an understanding of the subject, needs commenting, documentary and secondary material, and research.

At Glasmuseum Hentrich itself, preparations for exhibitions and the catalogues for them are usually the prompt for research undertaken on the history of glass-making. A series of collections and instruments are also placed at the disposal of visitors to the Glasmuseum. Viewing of items from our archive stocks is by appointment only.

Study Collection – Studiensammlung 

Apart from the ‘Treasure House’ of the most precious works out of the collection, there is also a Study Collection with a display of about 2000 glasses. The pieces have been arranged, for the larger part, according to the techniques of production and decoration; in addition, there are areas devoted to glass design in the second half of the twentieth century, and to various other topics. Depending on the projects at hand, the display in the Study Collection is subject to change on a greater or lesser scale. In all, the display at Glasmuseum Hentrich comprises about a quarter of the total holdings of glass.

Sources Archive – Quellenarchiv

A collection of company catalogues and pattern books of German and international glassworks. Online research on the Archive holdings can be undertaken at

www.duesseldorf.de/kultur/kulturamt/dkult/

Artists Archive – Künstlerarchiv

An archive on artists who use glass in their work, either exclusively or on occasion.

Museum Database – Museumsdatenbank

A database of the entire stocks of the Glass Collection and the Sources Archive is currently being compiled. Information on a steadily growing proportion of the Collection can already be accessed over the Internet at 

www.duesseldorf.de/kultur/kulturamt/dkult/.

Library

go to the library

Collectors and Patrons

Sieben Gläser aus dem Wertheim-Service; Entwurf Peter Behrens; Ausführung  Kristallglasfabrik; Oberzwieselau, wohl 1902 Dauerleihgabe Wolfgang Hanck; Foto: Horst Kolberg, Düsseldorf
Sieben Gläser aus dem Wertheim-Service; Entwurf Peter Behrens; Ausführung Kristallglasfabrik; Oberzwieselau, wohl 1902 Dauerleihgabe Wolfgang Hanck; Foto: Horst Kolberg, Düsseldorf

An estimated 400 individuals and institutions have bestowed gifts of glass to the Glasmuseum Hentrich since its inception. Financial donations additionally enable targeted  purchases. Thus the quality of the collection is indebted to a considerable extent to the private commitment of our patrons. 

The Glasmuseum Hentrich owes its character most of all to the eminent collection of Düsseldorf architect, Helmut Hentrich (1905–2001). In 1961, he made a gift of his collection of glass to the North Rhine-Westphalian capital, with the proviso of his retaining the privilege to extend this collection with new acquisitions. This he then did, for the rest of his life, passing his finds on to the Glasmuseum as gifts on an annual basis. His primary aim was to see his own collection grow: initially, and primarily, with the emphasis on ancient Greek and Roman, Islamic and Art Nouveau glass. Hentrich’s donations comprise about 3000 glasses overall – a collection of consistently excellent quality.

Hentrich’s patronage continues after his death. In 1995, together with another generous patron of the Museum Kunstpalast, Udo van Meeteren, he established a foundation, the Stiftung Glasmuseum Hentrich. Its annual funding covers, for example, new purchases and the continuing research work at the Glasmuseum Hentrich.

Narcisse endormi; Jutta Cuny, Lomazzo bei Como; Italien, 1983; Schenkung Ruth-Maria Franz; Foto: Studio Fuis, Köln
Narcisse endormi; Jutta Cuny, Lomazzo bei Como; Italien, 1983; Schenkung Ruth-Maria Franz; Foto: Studio Fuis, Köln

If Art Nouveau glass-making was and is already splendidly represented by Helmut Hentrich’s own donations to the museum named after him, an extraordinarily valuable bequest assured the collection world status once and for all. Entering the Museum collection in 2005 on a permanent basis, the collection of Art Nouveau glass of Gerda Koepff (1919 – 2006), an entrepreneur in Heidelberg, is part of the permanent display at Glasmuseum Hentrich.

The Glass Museum benefits not only from gifts, but also from a large number of permanent loans which contribute in no small way to the coverage and standing of the collection. Thus, the world-famous collection of Krefeld architect Karl Amendt represents the Middle Ages at the Glasmuseum in a quality and fullness which may justly be regarded as unparalleled in the world. The glasses of the Amendt Collection have been at the Glass Museum on permanent loan since 1989.

The permanent loan of the collection of the Steinberg Foundation in Liechtenstein has lent the Museum another area of particular specialisation – the art glass-making of the 1930s to the 1970s in Venice/Murano, Scandinavia and the former Czechoslovakia.

Alabastron; Mittelmeergebiet, 4.-3. Jh. v. Chr.
Alabastron; Mittelmeergebiet, 4.-3. Jh. v. Chr.; Schenkung Hentrich; Foto: LVR-Zentrum für Medien und Bildung; Stefan Arendt, 2011

The following lists some of the Glasmuseum’s foremost patrons.

Klaus Breit, Schwäbisch Gmünd
Anthony Cragg, Wuppertal
Siegfried Cremers, Düsseldorf
Ruth-Maria Franz, Wien
Helmut Hentrich, Düsseldorf
Brigitte Herrmann-Pfohl, Hadamar
Josef Klein, Recklinghausen
Brigitte Klesse, Bonn
Helen und Tijmen Knecht-Drenth, Oisterwijk
Gerda Koepff, Heidelberg
Inge Lenders, Düsseldorf
Uschi und Rainer Losch, Bonn
Florence Marinot, Paris
Manfred und Annemarie Rath, Dülmen
Dieter Schaich, München
Eva Schmitt, Freiburg
Christa und Achim Schürenberg, Aachen
Steinberg Foundation, Vaduz
Wilfried van Loyen, Düsseldorf
Hans-Günther und Bianca Velmerig, Düsseldorf

and the institutional patrons, 
KulturStiftung der Länder, Berlin
Land Nordrhein-Westfalen
Stiftung Kunst und Kultur NRW, Düsseldorf

Considerable financial support has been received from
Ingrid Ursula Brock, Schwäbisch Gmünd
Ruth-Maria Franz, Wien
Helmut Hentrich, Düsseldorf
Helen und Tijmen Knecht-Drenth, Oisterwijk
Udo van Meeteren, Düsseldorf
Steinberg Foundation, Vaduz

We owe particular gratitude, not least, to the City of Düsseldorf. The commitment of the regional capital has made possible some of the Glass Collection’s most substantial purchases.

Publications

Glas

PDF of the list of publications

For catalogue orders please contact: petra.hecht(at)smkp.de

Out-of-print catalogues are available for reference at the library.

gralglas
gralglas
Wiesenthalhütte
Wiesenthalhütte
Czech Glass
Czech Glass
 

Selection of available catalogues

Spot On-Kataloge
zu den Themen Julius Weiland (2008/09), Goldrubinglas (2009), Slg. Malou Majerus (2009/10), Paperweights (2010), Fadengläser der Antike (2010/11), Clemens Weiss (2011), Römische Rippenschalen u. Mosaikgläser (2011/12), Transparent bemaltes Biedermeierglas (2012)

Gralglas Dürnau. Deutsches Design 1930-1981
bearb. von Helmut Ricke und Wilfried van Loyen u.a., Berlin 2011

Reine Formsache. Deutsches Formglas 15. bis 19. Jahrhundert
Sammlung Birgit und Dieter Schaich
bearb. von Dieter Schaich und Erwin Baumgartner, Berlin 2007

Wiesenthalhütte. Design in Glass 1957-1989
hrsg. H.Ricke. Beiträge: A. Rath, H. Ricke, X. Riemann, Originaltexte K. Breit, Reproduktionen der Produktion 1958-1975, Produktion 1958-1991 auf CD-Rom, Berlin 2007

Czech Glass 1945–1980. Design in an Age of Adversity
Aufbruch – Tschechisches Glas 1945 - 1980

hrsg. H. Ricke, unter Mitarb. von S.K. Frantz, M. Hlaveš, A. Langhamer, J. Mergl, T. Oldknow, O. Palata, H. Ricke, V. Wasmuth, engl., dt. Übersetzungen und 3200 Künstlerzeichnungen auf CD, Stuttgart 2005

Glas des Mittelalters und der Renaissance. Die Sammlung Karl Amendt
Glass of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The Karl Amendt Collection

bearb. von Erwin Baumgartner, Beitrag von H. Ricke, Düsseldorf 2005

Italienisches Glas. Murano - Mailand 1930-1970
Die Sammlung der Steinberg Foundation bearb. von Helmut Ricke und Eva Schmitt, München/New York 1996

Glas in Schweden 1915-1960
bearb. von Helmut Ricke und Ulrich Gronert, München 1986

Glass Art: Reflections of the Centuries
Masterpieces from the Glasmuseum Hentrich im Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, hrsg. von Helmut Ricke, Prestel, München/Berlin/London/New York 2002, Bestandskatalog in englisch

2500 Jahre Glaskunst in Europa
Aus den Beständen des Kunstmuseums Düsseldorf Katalog der Ausstellung Sapporo, Shimonoseki, Osaka bearb. von Helmut Ricke (jap./dt.), Sapporo 1987

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