Karl Ernst Osthaus (1874 - 1921)

‹ Back to Osthaus surname

Is your surname Osthaus?

Research the Osthaus family

Karl Ernst Osthaus's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Death: Died in Meran, South Tyrol, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy
Occupation: Kunsthistoriker, Museumsgründer, Kulturpolitiker
Managed by: Thomas Föhl
Last Updated:

About Karl Ernst Osthaus

Karl Ernst Osthaus (15 April 1874, Hagen, Westphalia – 25 March 1921) was an important German patron of avant-garde art and architecture.

In 1902, Osthaus founded the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, Germany. After his death, the city of Hagen was unable to purchase the museum collection and in 1922 Hagen was outbid by the neighbouring city of Essen which now houses the Folkwang Collection. A separate museum survives in Hagen, the Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum.

Osthaus was a notable patron of the European avant-garde. Although in his early life he tended to German nationalism, active in the Pan German League and supporting figures such as the Austrian Georg von Schönerer, Osthaus's nationalism became tempered with interest in transforming Hagen and Germany into the leading centers of the European avant-garde. Under the guidance of Henry van de Velde, Osthaus began a collection of European modernist painting that comprised one of the first purely modernist collections to be open to the public. The Folkwang in Hagen sponsored some of the earliest exhibits of Expressionist painting, and the collection early on included works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and Christian Rohlfs and work by non-German artists such as Aristide Maillol, Jan Thorn-Prikker, and Henri Matisse.

Osthaus also attempted to spark interest in avant-garde architecture in Hagen. In this regard, he encountered many frustrations. In some ways, the story of the projects that were not built is more interesting than the projects that were built. Major architects including Henry van de Velde, Richard Riemerschmid, Peter Behrens, and Walter Gropius were all active in Hagen. A small artist colony also emerged including the sculptor Milly Steger, the Dutch artist and theosophist J.L.M. Lauweriks, and a score of figures important for Hagen's local cultural history.

Osthaus's Jugendstil villa, the Hohenhof, is one of the most important examples of bourgeois Jugendstil architecture in Europe. It was recently renovated and is open to the public.

view all

Karl Ernst Osthaus's Timeline

1874
April 15, 1874
Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1899
October 11, 1899
Age 25
1900
October 30, 1900
Age 26
Hagen, Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1901
1901
Age 26
Hagen, Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1903
1903
Age 28
Hagen, Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1905
April 17, 1905
Age 31
Hagen, Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1909
August 11, 1909
Age 35
Hagen, Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
1921
March 25, 1921
Age 46
Meran, South Tyrol, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy
????
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy