The Liebieghaus Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Its Founding – New Presentation of the Antiquities Collection and Inauguration of the Open Depot

The Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung will celebrate its one-hundredth birthday with a festival weekend. Within this framework, the public will have access to the new presentation of the Antiquities Collection, in which works of Neo-Classicism are also integrated, as well as the newly created Open Depot for the first time. With the new presentation of the Antiquities Collection, all of its exhibition rooms as well as the Studioli on the top floor and the Open Depot on the ground floor will feature and a new colour and lighting concept as well as a uniform routing system. Begun in 2007, the new design of the Liebieghaus by the architects Kuehn Malvezzi of Berlin in collaboration with the department heads will thus reach completion.

New Acquisition: Marsyas-Sarcophagus "Alberici", late AD 2nd c.

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, with the aid of the Kulturstiftung der Länder and the city of Frankfurt, and with funds from the Stiftung Kober, the Städelscher Museums-Verein has succeeded in making a sensational new acquisition: the world-famous Marsyas Sarcophagus "Alberici” which was already studied and drawn by artists of the Renaissance. It tells the entire myth of the goddess Athena, who invents the double flute and thus brings about a contest between Apollo and the satyr Marsyas which will end for the latter in death. Measuring some two metres in length, the marble Marsyas Sarcophagus is among the most well-known sarcophagi of Roman Antiquity. It dates from the late Antoninian period at the end of the AD second century, and is considered one of the best works of a phase in Roman art distinguished by its high artistic quality and inventiveness.


New presentation of the sculpture collection

After being closed for almost six months, the sculpture collection is reopened on March 12, 2008, attracting great public interest. The presentation comprises a new arrangement – in terms of both space and content – of all collection areas, the installation of a modern lighting system, as well as a new colour scheme.

An expanded outreach concept includes, among other things, a new labelling system for the individual exhibits and halls.

The Liebieg villa’s attic storey, which displays the original character of the building particularly well, is made accessible to visitors for the first time.

The new presentation is realized by the Berlin/Vienna-based architectural firm Kühn Malvezzi. More…


Max Hollein appointed director

In addition to his role as director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Max Hollein assumes the directorship of the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung.


Acquisition of a statue of Alexander

With the help of the Städelscher Museums-Verein, a depiction of Alexander the Great as Pharaoh is purchased. This is an important acquisition for the Liebieghaus collection. The statue, made of pink granite, combines a Greek, classical face with the body of an Egyptian pharaoh, and is thus an outstanding example of Greek influence on Egyptian art of the fourth century BC. More…


Second expansion

In 1990, under director Herbert Beck, the gallery wing of 1909 is expanded by the architects’ team Scheffler/Warschauer. Since then the Liebieghaus’s Antiquity collection has been housed in this wing.


Acquisition of the Frankfurt Holy Trinity relief by Hans Multscher

With the generous support of Werner Wirthle and Hermann J. Abs, the Holy Trinity relief is acquired for the Liebieghaus in 1983. Hans Multscher is one of the most important late Gothic sculptors and with his unusual depiction of the Trinity he has created an incomparable work. More…


Herbert Beck appointed director of the Liebieghaus

After twelve years at the museum, Herbert Beck becomes director of the Liebieghaus in 1981. From 1994 on, he is director of both the Städelsches Kunstinstitut and the Liebieghaus.


Restoration of the Ariadne completed

Johann Heinrich von Dannecker’s Ariadne on the Panther, destroyed in the war, can be displayed again after costly restoration. More…


Anton Legner appointed director

Under director Ernst Holzinger, Anton Legner takes charge of the Liebieghaus until 1969.


Reopening after the war

Because of war damage to the gallery wing and the fact that numerous works evacuated during the war are slow to return, individual departments at the Liebieghaus can only be reopened one by one, beginning in 1955.


Swarzenski’s dismissal

Because of his Jewish descent, Georg Swarzenski, also director general of the museums of Frankfurt as of 1928, is relieved of his municipal duty in 1933 after the National Socialists assume power. He remains director of the private Stiftung Städelsches Kunstinstitut, however, until his retirement in 1937. In 1938 Swarzenski emigrates to the United States.

In 1938, prior to the beginning of the war, the Liebieghaus is closed and the collection is gradually evacuated for safeguarding. Ernst Holzinger (1901–1972) assumes directorship of both the Städel and Liebieghaus.


Alfred Wolters appointed director

Georg Swarzenski becomes director general of the museums of Frankfurt and Alfred Wolters (1884–1973) assumes the directorship of the Liebieghaus until 1949.


Consolidation of the Aegyptiaca

Swarzenski successfully brings together all the Egyptian sculptures from the Frankfurt collections in the Liebieghaus. In addition to numerous sculptures from Egyptian pyramids, the mummy case of Takait, priestess of Amun, bears particular witness to the Egyptians’ remarkable cult of the dead. More…


An East Asian collection for the Liebieghaus

From 1918 on, the Liebieghaus is also home to a collection of East Asian sculptures, consisting mainly of works from China. The small, high-quality collection provides good insight into the sculpture of East Asia, especially Buddhist sculpture. More…


Acquisition of the Rimini Altarpiece

In 1913 the Rimini Altarpiece – named for the place where it was originally installed – is purchased. It consists of a total of nineteen alabaster sculptures of ca. 1430 and depicts a Crucifixion scene along with the twelve apostles. The Rimini Altarpiece is one of the most extensive and best-preserved Late Medieval figural ensembles. More …


Opening of the municipal sculpture collection in the Liebieghaus

On October 14, 1909, the municipal sculpture collection in the Liebieghaus is ceremoniously opened. The collection comprises roughly 350 works at this time.

During the same year the Liebieg villa receives a gallery extension where its large-scale sculptures can also be displayed. This gallery wing is designed by building inspector Paul Kanold, who takes Italian sixteenth-century stylistic forms as his orientation. The orangery-like wing is to extend the villa as far as Steinlestrasse. Through the active support of the citizens of Frankfurt, Swarzenski is able to acquire Myron’s celebrated Classical statue of Athena (More…) and an altarpiece by Renaissance sculptor Andrea della Robbia (More…) for the collection’s inauguration.


Heinrich Baron von Liebieg’s bequest

Baron von Liebieg wills his town villa at a special price to the city of Frankfurt am Main on condition that it function as a museum “for all time”. In the fall of 1908 the city acquires the villa – and it is here that the Städtische Galerie’s sculpture collection is to be housed. First considerations are given to the construction of one of the gallery wings added to the villa.


Founding of the Städtische Galerie

In 1907 the Städtische Galerie (municipal gallery) in the Städel is established and Städel director Georg Swarzenski is appointed its founding director. The Städtische Galerie’s concept and its division into four departments – contemporary art, art of Frankfurt, the sculpture collection, and the collection of casts – can essentially be traced back to Swarzenski. In the following three decades Swarzenski will negotiate acquisitions – some of them spectacular – for the sculpture collection.


Georg Swarzensik

In January 1906 Georg Swarzenski (1876–1957) assumes directorship of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut. He is among the personalities who had a formative influence on Frankfurt museum culture in general and on the Liebieghaus in particular.


The Liebieg Villa

Between 1892 and 1896, Leonhard Romeis (1854–1904), a renowned architect of the late nineteenth century, builds one of the most beautiful and most splendid private buildings of the Wilhelminian era for the textile manufacturer Heinrich Baron von Liebieg (1839–1904). Influenced by numerous study trips, but also by the buildings of his native Franconia, Romeis combines many elements of different European architectural styles in the building – for example, those of the South Tyrolean and the Bamberg Renaissance. It is particularly in the villa’s interior – whose rooms are decorated with stuccoed and wooden ceilings, panelling, custom-made furnishings, and artworks – where different styles come together. By analogy with the architecture, in the garden there are trees and shrubs that are native to different regions of the world. To this day, plane trees, foxglove trees, the catalpa, the black walnut, blooming red and white chestnut trees, magnolias and the pagoda tree create a romantic atmosphere. By contrast, all the park sculptures from Liebieg’s collection, with one exception, are gone, as is the covered walk on the property’s boundary with Rubensstrasse.


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