Felix Nussbaum House / Cultural History Museum of Osnabrück


Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Osnabrück

Lotter Straße 2

49078 Osnabrück

Felix Nussbaum House / Cultural History Museum of Osnabrück

Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Felix-Nussbaum-Haus © Felix-Nussbaum-HausThe Felix Nussbaum House contains the world’s largest collection of the works of artist Felix Nussbaum (1904 Osnabrück – 1944 Auschwitz) and is also a special place combining a memorial and an art museum of international significance. With his architectural concept for the Felix Nussbaum House, architect Daniel Libeskind created a unique symbiosis of architecture and painting. The permanent collection deals with the Holocaust of the European Jews, and specifically with Felix Nussbaum’s fate, on a very high artistic level, while the architecture embodies a sensitive reaction to the fate reflected in the paintings. 

The Felix Nussbaum House is an art museum with the largest collection worldwide of the works of German-Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum. The museum’s mandate is to research, preserve and mediate his work, and to preserve and promote worldwide the legacy of the artist born in Osnabrück in 1904 and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. Like no other artist, Felix Nussbaum documented the Holocaust of the Jews in his art and reflected it as part of his own life’s chronology, into which he was forced, as a Jewish painter, by the racist ideology of the Nazi state. With its collection of more than 200 works and the extraordinary architecture of Jewish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, the Felix Nussbaum House sees itself as a place of remembering, contemplating and engaging with Jewish art and culture.

The beginnings of the “Felix Nussbaum” collection in Osnabrück are to be found in the year 1970. It was founded thanks to the great commitment of Augustes Moses-Nussbaum, the artist’s cousin. She campaigned for the pictures that remained in Brussels to be located and legally awarded to their rightful owners, and for the estate of more than 100 pictures to be moved to Osnabrück. The growth of the Osnabrück collection through the research into Felix Nussbaum’s life and the appraisal of his work in terms of its artistic and historical significance ultimately led to the building of his own museum, which was opened in 1998. Architect Daniel Libeskind sees the museum as a place of active encounter that invites the visitor to think about art and history: “The Felix Nussbaum House is not only a testament to an indescribable fate, but is also an important place for encountering the future and the past. The unpainted pictures of Felix Nussbaum demand nothing less than to be visible to the contemplative eye.” Since 1999, the “Felix Nussbaum” collection has been exhibited in rotating presentations in the unique symbiosis of architecture and painting, in accordance with the commitment to keep alive the memory of this extraordinary artist’s life and the work he left behind. Temporary accompanying exhibitions present related themes and artists, or deal with individual aspects of Nussbaum’s work in greater depth. The time spectrum is extended up to the present, as the timeless and existential themes of the pictures of Felix Nussbaum enable an artistic confrontation from a current perspective. Exhibitions and publications provide a wider public, and also researchers, with the foundation for fostering the discussion of the works of Felix Nussbaum in the context of the 20th and 21st centuries on a broad scale.

Along with the Felix Nussbaum collection, the Felix Nussbaum House contains additional, smaller collections: the “Exile and Resistance Art” collection with works from Lea Grundig and Carl Rabus, as well as ostracised artists such as Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart. Additionally, a collection of contemporary art – “Hommage à Felix Nussbaum” – containing the works of artists whose content has a connection to the Nussbaum collection, or which deal directly with his work. The Felix Nussbaum House also contains the Felix Nussbaum Archive, with documents, photos and letters from the artist. The archive is available for academic research.

Facts and figures

The collection contains a total of 206 works by Felix Nussbaum as well as many documents from the artist’s estate. Other collections in the Felix Nussbaum House are: “Exile and Resistance Art” and “Hommage à Felix Nussbaum”; a collection with around 27 works of Felix Nussbaum’s fellow painter and partner Felka Platek, works from Nussbaum’s fellow students and teachers, as well as the small collection of “Heinrich Assmann”, an Osnabrück expressionist who died young in the First World War.

Current exhibitions

Permanent exhibition Felix Nussbaum – the Painter

Since the museum space was reopened on 6 May 2011, a redesigned presentation of the Nussbaum collection can be seen in the Felix Nussbaum House. A selection of Nussbaum’s works combines paintings from different creative phases under specific themes and provides new insights into the work of the artist.

'nichts - und alles'. Der De Stijl-Künstler Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart.

Malerei, Grafik und angewandte Kunst, 16. Juni bis 6. Oktober 2013 

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from an entry in the guest book from Osnabrück-born artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899–1962), which can also be applied to his work, which unites concrete expression, creative complexity and philosophical questions in a single aesthetic. More than 60 works illustrate Vordemberge-Gildewart’s versatility as a painter, graphic artist, interior designer, typographer and building designer.

Coming exhibitions

Phantastiken. Die Bauhäuslerin Lou Scheper‐Berkenkamp, 20 October 2013 to 9 February 2014

This special exhibition provides comprehensive insight into the versatile works of Bauhaus artist Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp (1901-1976). Not very typical of the Bauhaus movement, the oeuvre of the student of Johannes Itten, Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee is largely unknown.

Exhibitions (selection)

Jeroen Krabbé: Der Untergang des Abraham Reiss, 2012
Die Malerin Käthe Loewenthal und ihr Schwestern. Drei deutsch-jüdische Schicksale, 2009/10
Die verborgene Spur. Jüdische Wege durch die Moderne, 2008/09
Robert Schneider: Auschwitz, 2008
Else Lasker Schüler: Leben und Werk, 2007
Zeit im Blick. Felix Nussbaum und die Moderne, 2004/05
Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart zum 100. Geburtstag, 1999/2000
Lea Grundig: Radierzyklen, 2001 

Publications (selection)

Junk, Peter/ Zimmer, Wendelin: Ortswechsel. Fluchtpunkte. Felix Nussbaum – Die Biografie, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2009.
Käthe Loewenthal und ihre Schwestern. Drei deutsch-jüdische Schicksale. Ausstellung Felix-Nussbaum-Haus 22. November 2009 – 7. Februar 2010, Verlag des Museums- und Kunstvereins Osnabrück 2009
Deppner, Martin in Kooperation mit Janke, Karl im Auftrag des Felix-Nussbaum-Hauses (Hrsg.): Die verborgene Spur - Jüdische Wege durch die Moderne. Ausstellungskatalog Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Osnabrück, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2008
Berger, Eva u.a.: Felix Nussbaum. Verfemte Kunst- Exilkunst- Widerstandskunst. Die 100 wichtigsten Werke. Ausstellungskatalog zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung im Kulturgeschichtlichen Museum Osnabrück 1990, 4., völlig neu bearbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2007
Rosamunde Neugebauer (Hrsg.): Zeit im Blick. Felix Nussbaum und die Moderne. Ausstellungskatalog Felix-Nussbaum-Haus/Kulturgeschichtliches Museum, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2004
Fragezeichen an jeder Straßenecke. Zwölf Briefe von Felix Nussbaum, bearbeitet und mit Anmerkungen versehen von Peter Junk und Wendelin Zimmer, hrsg. vom Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Osnabrück, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2003
Inge Jaehner: Lea Grundig. Radierzyklen. Ausstellungskatalog Felix-Nussbaum-Haus/ Kulturgeschichtliches Museum, Bramsche: Rasch Verlag 2001
Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart zum 100. Geburtstag. Ausstellungskatalog Felix-Nussbaum-Haus/Kulturgeschichtliches Museum Osnabrück, Bramsche: Rasch 1999