From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kestnergesellschaft, art gallery in Hanover

Kestnergesellschaft (Kestner society) is an art gallery in Hanover, Germany, founded in 1916 to promote the arts. Its founders included the painter Wilhelm von Debschitz (1871–1948). The association blossomed under the management of Alexander Dorner and Justus Bier, pioneering modern art.

After World War II, Alfred Hentzen took over the management in 1947, followed by Fritz Schmalenbach. In 1997 the Kestnergesellschaft moved into new premises at Goseriede 11, the former site of the Goseriede Aquatic Center. The new gallery is next to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Hanover's newspaper.

The gallery hit the headlines in 2005 when it exhibited a mud house created by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra featuring a room with mud floor reminiscent of Hanover's Maschsee, an artificial lake.

The gallery's current and first female director is Christina Végh.


In 1916, with World War I raging, the Kestnergesellschaft was founded by citizens of Hanover, among them Hermann Bahlsen, August Madsack and Fritz Beindorff. Their goal was to bring internationally renowned and innovative artists and their current works to Hanover. The first exhibition representing the starting point for this concept in 1916 consisted of Max Liebermann's new work. The first director, Paul Küppers, stated at the time that the aim was to present artworks which "do not simply function as a relaxing amusement but instead have a stimulating and – if necessary – provocative and scandalizing effect".

In 1936, the Kestnergesellschaft was closed under pressure from Hitler's Nazism. The director at the time, Justus Bier, a Jew, presented artists Erich Heckel, Gerhard Marcks, Christian Rohlfs and August Macke – artists who were featured in the notorious Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich only one year later. Soon after the war, the new Kestnergesellschaft was opened in the Warmbüchenstraße in 1948 by Hanoverians with service to the public in mind, among them Hermann Bahlsen, Wilhelm Stichweh, Bernhard Sprengel and Günther Beindorff, the director of the company Pelikan.

In the 1990s, this building could no longer meet the high technical demands of modern exhibition operations, and the Kestnergesellschaft looked for a new location. The former Goseriede Aquatic Center in the centre was chosen, and a team of internationally selected architects designed and oversaw the transformation into a modern exhibition house.

The list of artists whose works have been exhibited during the 75-year history – excluding the years of closure – reads like a "Who's Who" in the history of 20th- and 21st-century art, among them Paul Klee (1920), Wassily Kandinsky (1923), El Lissitzky (1923) and Kurt Schwitters (1924), both friends of the Kestnergesellschaft, Joan Miró (1952, 1956, 1989), Jean Dubuffet (1960), Marcel Duchamp and Horst Janssen (1965), Pablo Picasso (1973, 1993), Wolf Vostell (1977), Georg Baselitz (1987), Joseph Beuys (1975, 1990), Andy Warhol (1981 as his first retrospective in Germany, 2001), Richard Prince (1991), Rebecca Horn (1978, 1991, 1997), Antoni Tàpies (1962, 1998), Jonathan Meese (2002), Thomas Ruff (2003), Peter Doig (2004), Rochelle Feinstein, (2016/17), James Richards, (2016/17) and Annette Kelm (2017).

Kestnergesellschaft at the Goseriede[edit]

The House[edit]

In 1997, the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Gerhard Schröder, inaugurated the new facilities of the Kestnergesellschaft at Goseriede 11. Simultaneously, the Munich Abendzeitung declared the remodelled exhibition facility "Germany’s most beautiful exhibition house." The remodelling of the former Goseriede Aquatic Center into an up-to-date exhibition house not only incorporates the high technical demands of modern exhibition operations but also preserves and showcases the Jugendstil features of this historic landmark. With its five halls on two levels, the house has at its command more than 1,500 square meters of exhibition surface.

History of the House[edit]

From 1902 to 1905 the Hanoverian chief city architectural commissioner, Carl Wolff, oversaw the construction of the Goseriede Aquatic Center. The middle section of the public bathing facility was destroyed in 1943 during the Second World War, and later rebuilt from 1947 to 1953. After the reopening, the pool remained in use until 1982. In the same year, the city placed the beautiful Jugendstil façade under protection as a monument. In 1990 the Madsack publishing company purchased the building, offering the sections of the former women’s pool area, entrance hall and all adjoining rooms to the Kestnergesellschaft for its use. An international architectural competition was launched in 1992 in search of an innovative design for the space with the support of the Norddeutsche Landesbank. Chaired by Prof. Peter P. Schweger, the jury awarded the first prize to the Hanoverian architects Kai-Michael Koch, Anne Panse and Christian Hühn. In collaboration with the curators of the Kestnergesellschaft, their design was developed further into an elegant and dynamic amalgamation of modern architectural elements. The prize of the Association of German Architects of the State of Lower Saxony was awarded to the building in 1998.

Exhibition Spaces[edit]

Each of the five halls at Kestnergesellschaft has its own unique dimensions and atmosphere. Able to accommodate diverse exhibition concepts, the spaces can be transformed with high-tech equipment including a close-meshed and invisible network of electrical connections in the floors, walls and ceilings. The lateral galleries in the Halls II and III can be closed off to create smaller exhibition spaces. The total of twelve entrances into the Claussen Hall may be used to create different orientations of projects and viewers. In planning for the building renovations, care was also taken to create the necessary infrastructure for the careful transport and handling of artworks to and within the halls, with direct access to the exhibition spaces via loading dock. Due to ceiling-high gates on the ground- and upper-floors along with a large elevator, pieces arrive safely and easily into the exhibition halls.


Since 2003, Kestnereditions are being released related to every exhibition. The works, which include graphic art, photography and other art forms, are offered exclusively for members of the kestnergesellschaft in limited editions.

Exhibitions until 1936[edit]

Artist First exhibited year Add'l exhibited years
Alt, TheodorTheodor Alt 1922
Arnthal, EduardEduard Arnthal 1921
Arp, HansHans Arp 1924
Barlach, ErnstErnst Barlach 1918 1919, 1931
Beckmann, MaxMax Beckmann 1918 1919, 1931
Beeh, RenéRené Beeh 1921
Bieling, HermanHerman Bieling 1922
Björn, AlfAlf Björn 1925
Bloch, AlbertAlbert Bloch 1921
Bondy, WalterWalter Bondy 1925
Brockhusen, Theo vonTheo von Brockhusen 1918 1919
Burchartz, MaxMax Burchartz 1921 1923
Büttner, ErichErich Büttner 1918 1919
Caspar, KarlKarl Caspar 1916
Champion, TheoTheo Champion 1925
Corinth, LovisLovis Corinth 1917 1928
Delbrück, ElisabetElisabet Delbrück 1924
Dix, OttoOtto Dix 1927
Dongen, Kees vanKees van Dongen 1922
Dörries, BernhardBernhard Dörries 1926
Düne, HansHans Düne 1924
Eberz, JosefJosef Eberz 1917
Ensor, JamesJames Ensor 1927
Falke, AdolfAdolf Falke 1924
Feininger, LyonelLyonel Feininger 1919 1924-25, 1932
Felixmüller, ConradConrad Felixmüller 1921
Fischer-Bayer, MargareteMargarete Fischer-Bayer 1925
Gabo, NaumNaum Gabo 1930
Gerlwh (Gerardus Ladage) 1922
Gogh, Vincent vanVincent van Gogh 1928
Gropius, WalterWalter Gropius 1931
Grosz, GeorgeGeorge Grosz 1921
Heckel, ErichErich Heckel 1919 1935
Heckendorf, FranzFranz Heckendorf 1918
Heitmüller, AugustAugust Heitmüller 1921 1922
Hodler, FerdinandFerdinand Hodler 1925
Hofer, CarlCarl Hofer 1925 1927
Hölzel, AdolfAdolf Hölzel 1918
Jaeckel, WillyWilly Jaeckel 1916 1917
Jawlensky, Alexey vonAlexey von Jawlensky 1920 1924
Kandinsky, WassilyWassily Kandinsky 1923
Kayser, FredFred Kayser 1924
Klee, PaulPaul Klee 1919 1931
Klein, CésarCésar Klein 1918
Kögel, LindaLinda Kögel 1924
Kohlhoff, WilhelmWilhelm Kohlhoff 1919
Kokoschka, OskarOskar Kokoschka 1925
Kolbe, GeorgGeorg Kolbe 1933
Kollwitz, KätheKäthe Kollwitz 1929
Krauskopf, BrunoBruno Krauskopf 1919
Kubin, AlfredAlfred Kubin 1930
Lehmbruck, WilhelmWilhelm Lehmbruck 1920
Liebermann, MaxMax Liebermann 1916
Lissitzky, ElEl Lissitzky 1923
Lubbers, AdrianAdrian Lubbers 1925
Macke, AugustAugust Macke 1918 1925, 1935
Marc, FranzFranz Marc 1931 1936
Marcks, GerhardGerhard Marcks 1936
Masereel, FransFrans Masereel 1926 1931
Meidner, LudwigLudwig Meidner 1918
Melzer, MoritzMoritz Melzer 1920
Meyer, GerdGerd Meyer 1924
Modersohn-Becker, PaulaPaula Modersohn-Becker 1917 1922, 1934
Moholy-Nagy, LászlóLászló Moholy-Nagy 1923
Morgner, WilhelmWilhelm Morgner 1922
Munch, EdvardEdvard Munch 1929
Nauen, HeinrichHeinrich Nauen 1918
Nolde, EmilEmil Nolde 1918 1922, 1924, 1928, 1934
Pechstein, MaxMax Pechstein 1922
Picasso, PabloPablo Picasso 1932
Renoir, Pierre-AugustePierre-Auguste Renoir 1925
Riess, PaulPaul Riess 1925
Rodin, AugusteAuguste Rodin 1925
Roeder, EmyEmy Roeder 1922
Rohlfs, ChristianChristian Rohlfs 1919 1924, 1930, 1936
Röhricht, WolfWolf Röhricht 1921
Scharl, JosefJosef Scharl 1933
Schlemmer, OskarOskar Schlemmer 1932
Schmidt-Rottluff, KarlKarl Schmidt-Rottluff 1920 1923
Schreiner, Carl MoritzCarl Moritz Schreiner 1922
Schulze, OttoOtto Schulze 1919
Schwitters, KurtKurt Schwitters 1917 1918, 1924
Seckendorff, Götz vonGötz von Seckendorff 1919
Slevogt, MaxMax Slevogt 1932 1934
Steger, MillyMilly Steger 1922
Steinitz, KätheKäthe Steinitz 1922
Stückgold, StanislausStanislaus Stückgold 1917
Thoms, ErnstErnst Thoms 1926
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri deHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1925
Trübner, WilhelmWilhelm Trübner 1917
Weisgerber, AlbertAlbert Weisgerber 1917
Weiß, Emil RudolfEmil Rudolf Weiß 1917
Westermayr, KonradKonrad Westermayr 1920
Wolke, RudolfRudolf Wolke 1917
Zille, HeinrichHeinrich Zille 1931
Zimmermann-Heitmüller, LeniLeni Zimmermann-Heitmüller 1921 1922

Exhibitions from 1948 until 1995[edit]

Exhibitions since 1997[edit]


  • Wieland Schmied: Wegbereiter zur modernen Kunst – 50 Jahre Kestner-Gesellschaft. Hannover 1966.
  • Ines Katenhusen: Kunst und Politik. Hannovers Auseinandersetzungen mit der Moderne in der Weimarer Republik. Hahn, Hannover 1998, ISBN 3-7752-4955-9.
  • Veit Görner: Kestnerchronik. Buch 1, Hannover 2006, Buch 2, Hannover 2009.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°22′39″N 9°43′54″E / 52.37750°N 9.73167°E / 52.37750; 9.73167