Special Exhibition

“The Life of Thought is Real After All”
Else Blankenhorn – a Retrospective Exhibition

September 15, 2022 to January 22, 2023

In the 100th anniversary year of Hans Prinzhorn‘s “Artistry of the Mentally Ill,” the Museum is offering the first in-depth look at the oeuvre of Else Blankenhorn (1873-1920). She is the only woman to whom Hans Prinzhorn wanted to dedicate a chapter in his book. Even a planned monograph never came to fruition. Today, Else Blankenhorn is considered the secret star of the collection, as she has been represented in 98 exhibitions since 1929. The retrospective will feature around 150 works from various subject areas, presenting the expressive, color-intensive diversity of her pictorial worlds. One focal point is the multitude of banknotes she produced to fund the resurrection and care of buried lovers. She believed she had received this charitable task from the German Emperor Wilhelm II, her “husband in spirit.” In the accompanying catalog, her symbolically-charged visual cosmos is complemented by transcriptions of some of her diary entries, prose texts, and poems. The perspective on this art is enhanced by contributions on the biographical and socio-cultural background of the works, and on the context of the renowned private sanatorium Bellevue in Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance, where Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Aby Warburg and Vaslav Nijinski were also treated.

Image: Else Blankenhorn, untitled [Self portrait as a singer], 1908–1919, Inv. 4277 © Sammlung Prinzhorn, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg