Special Exhibition

"Ein mehrfacher Millionenwerth" (“Worth More Than Many Millions“)

Fragile Treasures of the Prinzhorn Collection

May 27 to October 31, 2020

Kicking off the new permanent Exhibition we are presenting rare works from the historical Prinzhorn Collection. The increasingly fragile condition of these works makes it impossible for them to be on permanent Display or lent to other museums. We are showing a wide variety of books and journals created by psychiatric patients, many of which have never been shown before. A central highlight of the exhibition are works upon which the collection’s international reputation has been built: precarious textile icons, such as Agnes Richter’s jacket or Miss Grier’s embroidered handkerchief, the remarkable sprawling collages by Frau St. or August Natterer’s transparent silhouette of a witch, presumably inspired by “hold-to-light” postcards, allowing a hidden motif to appear when held against a strong light. The selection of the works itself reflects the utmost value placed on them by the artists, from Else Blankenhorn’s abundant ink-drawn banknotes that reflect extraordinarily high sums, created to finance the resurrection of buried lovers, to the drawing of the visionary “miraculous images” in the soles of Carl Lange’s shoes, which he claimed to be “worth more than many millions”.

Fragility and vulnerability, mirroring the experience of psychological crisis, are qualities evidenced by the motifs of the works as well: delicate, ephemeral figures, spirits, angels and winged creatures, birds, butterflies, and fairies are depicted time and again. Often, they are threatened by mythical creatures, such as dragons and sphinxes, or by the Grim Reaper himself. The ravages of time have taken their toll on these unconventional works from the Prinzhorn Collection. Some have already faded irreversibly. Our mission is to protect and keep These works for future generations. Take this rare opportunity to marvel at these treasures of our collection.