Prinzhorn's Book


8 December 2011 – 5 February 2012 (extended until 6 May 2012)

In 1922, Hans Prinzhorn published "Artistry of the Mentally Ill", today a classic, which has been reissued regularly until today: the 7th edition was published this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Prinzhorn Museum Collection.

Based on works of art sent from mental institutions all over Germany and collected in Heidelberg 1919-1921, Prinzhorn develops his own theory of expression. In his book, he illustrates his theory using works of art as examples; he introduces his ten "schizophrenic masters" in specific chapters and discusses important issues on the borders of psychiatry and art.

The publication was particularly noticed by national and international artists and people interested in art. A crucial factor in its success was the fact that it was illustrated with 187 images, partly in colour. For the first time, Prinzhorn made a chapter of artistic creativity visible, which previously had scarcely even played a role in psychiatric journals.
The exhibition takes Prinzhorn's selection of works for his publication as a model, and presents his ideas from a historical and critical perspective.