Rochsburg Castle shows Luther’s works in Lagerfeld

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A collection of clothes scattered around the room: one of the few remaining reform clothes, probably designed by Henry van de Velde, textiles from the studios of Jill Sander and Karl Lagerfeld. Partly wrapped around mannequins, a painting by …

A collection of clothes scattered around the room: one of the few remaining reform clothes, probably designed by Henry van de Velde, textiles from the studios of Jill Sander and Karl Lagerfeld. Partly wrapped around mannequins watching “the introduction of a young novice into the choir of the Capuchin monastery of Santa Clara in Rome”, a painting by François Marius Granet from the first third of the 19th century. Picasso’s dove of peace in screen print on cotton fabric, designed for the World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin in 1951, can be seen on a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. from the 16th century to talk to the not always peaceful Martin Luther. Works of classical modernism by Johannes Itten, Max Beckmann, Max Pechstein not far from an oil painting by Giovanni Battista Piazetta from the 18th century.

The latter is revealed quite well by the collector who put together this unusual collection, which can be seen today in the Rochsburg Castle Museum. August Ohm, born in Berlin in 1943, lives as a painter and draftsman in Hamburg. Even as a child he was painting, drawing … and simply collecting. He came from an artistically open-minded family who often visited museums. In the 1950s he saw a children’s harp in an exhibition in Munich, which he particularly liked. It comes from a Viennese museum. When the Austrian state had to “reluctantly” return its works of art to the Rothschilds 40 years later, according to August Ohm, parts of the banking family’s assets were auctioned off in London. Among other things, the children’s harp, for which Ohm was awarded the contract. By this time the artist had long since built up his own collection, which, in contrast to most museums, is not dedicated to sections, but to a summary of the various arts. August Ohm always orientated himself in his own artistic work and also as a collector to the ideas of the romantic Novalis, “his holistic thinking – of synopsis of arts, works, regions”. Over the decades, August Ohm has built up an impressive collection of around 1,500 objects from the most varied of arts: paintings, drawings, sculptures, fashion, musical instruments, small furniture. They should each reflect the zeitgeist – from the Middle Ages to the present.

Part of this collection – around 70 copies – is now in chronological order, for example under the headings “Of Reminiscences and Revolutions: the 18th Century at the End of the 1950s”, exhibited at Rochsburg Castle. The special exhibition is only meant to be the beginning. A cooperation agreement with the museum promises a loan of 1,000 pieces for at least 25 years after the renovation, and that is “not the end of the mast,” says Ohm. The collection could then be presented on three floors in a permanent exhibition, and its concept should also acquire its full meaning. In the current exhibition, the individual objects are explained in detail, but stand and hang in a confined space rather next to each other than to initiate a dialogue. However, it could be extremely interesting if, in addition to artistic developments in the various areas, it also includes social, political and economic contexts and thus shows art as an expression of revolt, arrest and restoration. According to August Ohm, he came to Rochsburg through a friend and immediately met interested partners.

August Ohm never gave up collecting as a child – on the contrary, it became his passion. Some things “stole” from him with donations, others he fought for years. He financed the collection, which also contains some photos of himself and his father Wilhelm Ohm, with income from his own artistic production: Never spent three weeks on the beach on a cruise. It is the competition of joys. And here and there the collection continues to grow: “If I see two things and one thing, then it’s basically the middle piece – then something else is added.

The exhibition “From Cranach to Karl Lagerfeld – Treasures of the August Ohm Foundation” can be seen at Rochsburg Castle until October 31, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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