Exhibitions On view The Prinzhorn…

Die Sammlung Prinzhorn – von „Irrenkunst" zur Outsider Art (The Prinzhorn Collection – From “Art of the Insane” to Outsider Art)

Permanent Exhibition

For the first time, the Prinzhorn Collection has created a permanent exhibition to accompany the museum’s special exhibits. Entitled “The Prinzhorn Collection – From ‘Art of the Insane’ to Outsider Art”, the exhibit features around 120 works created in a psychiatric context from the mid-19th century until today, offering a glimpse of the 27,000 works in the collection. The permanent exhibition fills one of the side galleries, three new exhibition spaces, and a media room, forming a suite of rooms along the east side of the main hall. In addition, the foyer and the lower level are included in the new concept.

In the foyer, the history of the Prinzhorn Collection and the museum’s guiding principles are presented, including the eponymous founder, Hans Prinzhorn, and his publication “Artistry of the Mentally Ill” (1922). In the following rooms, works from the collection are displayed in thematic groups: “Creativity and Psychiatric Experience”, “History of Psychiatry in Germany”, “Daily Life in the Asylum around 1900”, and “The Continual Expansion of the Prinzhorn Collection”. These themes reflect the divergent fields the collection’s work touches upon: art history, psychiatry, history and the history of medicine. Insight into these fields is key to a better understanding of the works. The works on display include classics from the early 1900s, as well as important recent acquisitions. “The focus of the exhibition and of our research is still the work of artist patients around 1900. However, our long-term goal is to use our collection to illustrate and explore artworks created by people with psychiatric experience from 1840 until the present.” (Dr. Thomas Röske, Director of the Prinzhorn Collection). Thus, visitors to the exhibition can experience the “Air Walker” by Josef Forster (1916–1921), drawings by Wilhelm Werner (between 1934–1938), and a wall of shelves with Harald Bender’s ring binders (between 1980–2000).

The additional exhibition space became available between September 2019 and June 2020, with the modification of office spaces in the former auditorium building, which has served as museum space for the collection since 2001. The remodeling and exhibition design were made possible through funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg, the city of Heidelberg, the Schaller-Nikolich Foundation, and the H + G BANK. These measures are part of a larger structural expansion.