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
„Diagonale“; Entwurf Stanislav Libenský, Ausführung Jaroslava Brychtová, Zelezný Brod, Tschechoslowakei, 1989; Blauviolettes Glas, formgeschmolzen, geschliffen; 75 x 70 cm
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
Vase; Emile Gallé; Nancy, um 1898-1900; Schenkung Hentrich; Foto: LVR-Zentrum für Medien und Bildung; Stefan Arendt, 2011
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

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.