DUISBURG.-After almost four years of negotiations, the extensive estate of Wilhelm Lehmbruck has successfully been permanently secured for Duisburg. "Now the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, which had hitherto acquired around 165 Lehmbruck works, especially his sculptures, has become the world's only and a unique collecting and research institute of this significant artist of the Classical Modern age", said a pleased Adolf Sauerland, the Lord Mayor of Duisburg. 33 sculptures, 18 paintings, 11 pastels, 819 drawings and 260 printed graphics, all contractually secured, from the artistic estate can now be added to the collection. Hitherto, these 1141 works have only been available to the Museum as loans from the Lehmbruck community of heirs.
In early 2005 the Lehmbruck family offered to sell the estate to the City of Duisburg, the artist's hometown, on a preferential and short-term basis. The Board of Trustees of the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum - Zentrum Internationaler Skulptur immediately deemed the permanent securing of the Lehmbruck estate the top priority. The State Secretary for Cultural Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, saw the obtaining the estate of the artist Wilhelm Lehmbruck from Duisburg as "existentially necessary for the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum" and made a very significant commitment by setting a clear example with a pledge of start-up finance as early as 2006. From the very start, the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Cultural Foundation of the German States) with its Secretary General Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, intensively accompanied the negotiations with the community of heirs and guaranteed, together with the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, the art-historical expertise for the extensive collection of works in the estate.
With moderators Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Karl Janssen, Municipal Cultural Affairs Officer of the City of Duisburg, and Thomas Hüttemann, President of the Lower Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the parties successfully developed a public-private partnership financing model, with the following participants: The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Kunststiftung NRW (Art Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia) with 6 million in total, the City of Duisburg with 5 million and - mediated by Prof. Klaus Trützschler, Member of the Board of Management of Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH and Jutta Stolle, Section Head at Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH - three major Duisburg-based companies, namely, Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, Klöckner & Co SE (with Dr. Thomas Ludwig, Chairman of the Board of Management) and ThyssenKrupp Steel AG (with Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler, Chairman of the Board of Management) with 4 million.
The Lehmbruck community of heirs granted a generous price reduction and reached an agreement with the Lehmbruck Museum, permitting payment by installments until 2011.
For Prof. Christoph Brockhaus, Director of the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, acquiring the entire life's work of Wilhelm Lehmbruck, a long pursued goal, as the basis of the outstanding international sculpture collection of the 20th century cannot be rated highly enough. Thus, with a view to the Capital of Culture year RUHR 2010, the Museum will also present Wilhelm Lehmbruck's work to the public with an emphasis on the inclusion of the new acquisitions in 2009/10 in a series of alternating presentations. This series has already begun with the current exhibition of the drawings of Lehmbruck and Beuys (until January 11, 2009). Moreover, numerous important works by Lehmbruck will form the centerpiece of an exhibition entitled "Oublier Rodin? La sculpture entre 1905 et 1914", which will run from March until May 2009 at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and from June until October 2009 at the Fundación Mapfre in Madrid.
Parallel to the successful conclusion of the acquisition deal for the Wilhelm Lehmbruck estate, two further extremely important decisions for the future of the Lehmbruck Museum were in addition successfully reached, namely, the replenishment of the foundation's funds with 4.6 million from the important contribution of the three named large Duisburg-based companies and the decision by the Duisburg City Council to guarantee the Museum an annual grant of 2 million from 2009-2013. Thus the Lehmbruck Museum has gained a stable financial basis for its continued development in the medium term.