The Emil Schumacher Museum is located a mere stone's throw away from the place where, as a boy, Schumacher used to look through expressionist Christian Rohlfs' studio window in the Folkwang building, watching him work and dreaming of being able to make a living through art himself one day.
Emil Schumacher's dream did, in fact, come true. He became one of the first German painters to find international acclaim after National Socialism. Despite travelling a great deal and holding guest professorships around the world, Emil Schumacher, born in Hagen in 1912, remained fiercely loyal to his home town, spending a large part of his life there.
The life and works of Emil Schumacher are very much the museum's key focus. The museum was made possible through the high level of dedication shown by Ulrich Schumacher, the artist's son. He made several of his father's works available and founded the Emil Schumacher Stiftung, which runs the museum.
The city of Hagen also made a considerable contribution towards helping to found the museum. In 1997, on the initiative of Johannes Rau, Hagen's city council decided to build a museum to display Schumacher's works. The Lindemann Architekten architecture firm designed the building, which is made from exposed concrete and is connected to the Osthaus Museum via a glass shell.
Schumacher may not have enjoyed having his work associated with that of the German Informel. However, it is hard to deny that his work does share some similarities with the movement. His joy in experimenting with colour and materiality comes through time and time again in his creative works. The dynamic, dramatic nature of his paintings provide insights into the process behind his method of working.
The museum's collection comprises around 500 works from across Schumacher's artistic career, and includes paintings, gouaches, graphics, ceramics, and pictures painted onto porcelain and slate. Though his larger, more brightly-coloured pictures may be quicker to attract the visitors' attention, it is also worth taking a look at his other, more subtle works across the three floors of the museum. For example, Schumacher’s delicate series ("Uccelli") of birds painted onto slate.
Visitors can also gain an insight into how Schumacher worked through a visit to his studio. It was for this reason that the studio was transferred to a floor of the museum. It is almost possible to sense Schumacher's spirit here, still lingering between the paint buckets and the canvases.
The displayed collection is complemented with temporary exhibitions which, either through their content or form, demonstrate parallels with Schumacher's work.
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