Heilmann Stiftung




The Christoph Heilmann Foundation on tour until 2019

In 2013, the Christoph Heilmann Foundation and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau concluded an agreement that laid the foundation for a long-term collaboration. Over a hundred works from the foundation's collection of early nineteenth-century landscape paintings have joined the museum's own holdings, a perfect complement that rounds out the Lenbachhaus's cherished collection.

Over the past two and a half years, an initial presentation in the galleries of the new Lenbachhaus offered a comprehensive survey of the collection, showcasing characteristic exemplars of the art of the Munich school and the Dresden romantics as well as the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools. The exhibition also highlighted an important subset of the foundation's holdings that is unrivaled among private collections in Germany: works of the Barbizon school of artists, who revolutionized landscape painting with the plein-air oil sketches they created in the Forest of Fontainebleau.

New ACquisitions

The foundation steadily enlarges its holdings. Among the outstanding works added in recent years that complement the various foci of the collection is the polished oil study "Entrance to the Parco Chigi" by ERNST FRIES (1801–1833), a preeminent south German Romantic of the 1820s who worked side by wide with Camille Corot. ADOLH VON MENZEL (1815–1905) is now represented in the collection by a watercolor/gouache study that has recently resurfaced, rendering the view of the courtyard from the window of his studio on Berlin's Marienstraße. JEAN-FRANÇOIS MILLET (1814–1875), like his close friend Théodore Rousseau, ranks among the great BARBIZON PAINTERS. The foundation was able to acquire a significant early work that shows a peasant girl, naked and lost in thought, by the bank of a brook.

Another signification addition to the BARBIZON PAINTERS collection came in 2016, when the foundation purchased an early work by PAUL HUET, a scene in the ancient forest of Villers-Cotterêts. The subject of the composition, a secluded spot inside a forest, foreshadows innovative developments in landscape painting; the fashionably dressed seated figure is probably the writer Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870).


A new selection of works from the foundation's holdings will be installed at the Lenbachhaus in 2019. Until then, the collection will be on the road. The first destination was SCHLOSS MOYLAND near Kleve, where the exhibition Natur als Kunst—Landschaft im 19. Jahrhundert in Malerei und Fotografie aus der Sammlung der Christoph Heilmann Stiftung am Lenbachhaus und des Münchner Stadtmuseums was on view from February 14 until June 5, 2016.

The next stop will be Erfurt, where works from the Christoph Heilmann Foundation will be on display at the ANGERMUSEUM from August 5 until October 28, 2018. The exhibition will reveal unsuspected affinities by presenting the foundation's landscapes side by side with two other bodies of work: a collection of nineteenth-century paintings with a focus on the landscape painter Friedrich von Nerly (1807–1878), whose name is closely associated with the establishment of the museum; and treasures from the dawn of landscape photography from the Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, which show that painters and photographers soon teamed up to explore rarely trodden paths, finding novel motifs in solitary giant trees or geologically interesting escarpments.


Scholarly catalogue of the holdings

The foundation continually works to subject its growing collection to scholarly analysis. Supplements to the existing catalogue of the holdings, titled Frühe Landschaftsmalerei des 19. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland und Frankreich (ed. Christoph von Heilmann, Heidelberg: Wunderhorn 2013/2015), that document the newly acquired works are published in intervals of two to three years.

Symposia / Lectures

Lecture series, symposia, and research projects are organized to consider the foundation's collection in broader perspectives and connect the analysis of the works to larger issues in the scholarship on early landscape painting.

For example, the symposium Mobilität und Naturerfahrung im 19. Jahrhundert examined the question to which extent landscape artists' travels to destinations near and distant, which came to be seen as obligatory in the nineteenth century, had a crucial influence on their work. To read the article on ArtHist please click here.

The accompanying book Landschaftsmalerei, eine Reisekunst?—Mobilität und Naturerfahrung im 19. Jahrhundert presents contributions by renowned international experts that offer an extensive discussion of the particular situation in which traveling landscape painters worked.

Research and edition project on Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750–1819)

A multiyear research and edition project is devoted to a salient example of the transfer of ideas and techniques between France and Germany in the field of landscape painting around 1800. It focuses on the German translation of Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes' Élémens de perspective pratique, à l'usage des artistes, suivis de Réflexions et Conseils à un Élève sur la Peinture, et particulièrement sur le genre du Paysage (Paris 1799/1800), which came out in 1803, only three years after the original.

One goal of the project is to assess the role the translation played in helping to establish the oil study as a widespread practice in nineteenth-century European art. Methodologically, it takes inspiration from the scholarship on French-German cultural transfer and on translation as a medium of intercultural communication. The project will inquire into the ways the book was creatively adapted for a German readership, which libraries held copies, and which members of the avant-garde in landscape painting such as Caspar David Friedrich, Johan Christian Dahl, Johann Georg von Dillis, or Carl Blechen, as well as German explorers like Alexander von Humboldt or collectors like Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, took note of Valenciennes' groundbreaking ideas.


Landschaftsmalerei, eine Reisekunst? – Mobilität und Naturerfahrung im 19. Jahrhundert

ed. for the Christoph Heilmann Foundation at the Lenbachhaus by Claudia Denk and Andreas Strobl, Berlin / Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag 2017
With a preface by Christoph Heilmann and Matthias Mühling
With essays by Werner Busch, Michael Clarke, Bernhard Maaz, Marcell Perse, Ruth Pullin, Andreas Tacke, et al.

This new anthology contains the proceedings of the international symposium on the traveling landscape painter held at the Lenbachhaus in 2015. It was presented to the public in an event featuring a lecture by Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher. Traveling not only became fashionable around 1800 as growing parts of the middle classes were able to afford educational tours. It also figured prominently as a scholarly and artistic practice capable of generating substantial contributions to natural science and novel aesthetic experiences. Mobility and the experience of nature accordingly emerged as pivotal to nineteenth-century landscape art. Voyages to destinations nearby and remote introduced artists to unfamiliar subjects and prompted the development of new techniques; the atmospheric oil sketch, in particular, owes its great popularity to this practice. Perhaps most importantly, the growing wanderlust, famously advocated by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes’ handbook, became integral to the training of landscape painters and their identity.

The collection of essays by renowned international experts examines the distinctive situation in which traveling landscape painters worked, studying the artistic techniques of memorization they devised and the graphic and painterly strategies they employed to take possession of motifs. Painting while traveling, an innovative creative mode, ultimately engendered a new picture of the landscape.


Lecture series
Perspectives in plural

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