When in this classical pink castle, whose history can probably be traced back to a 12th- or 13th-century feudal estate, it is easy to forget that you are in Oberhausen – the "place where Ruhr industry was born" – i. e. the city which featured the Ruhr area's first ironworks. Today, this castle is home to the LUDWIGGALERIE, a cultural site which offers art at the highest level and which is located in a picturesque location beside a cut-off meander of the Emscher river.
The exhibition centre was founded in 1947 as the Städtische Galerie Oberhausen (Municipal Gallery Oberhausen). The Aachen-based art patrons Peter and Irene Ludwig, for whom not only this gallery but also the Museum Ludwig in Cologne was named, were involved in work at Oberhausen as early as in the 1980s. From 1983 onwards, the castle complex was home to the Ludwig-Institut für Kunst der DDR, founded by the two art collectors. It was here than the work of East German artists was displayed and arranged in the West for the very first time. This focus was dropped after the Berlin Wall came down and the building was redefined as an exhibition centre.
The LUDWIGGALERIE as we know it today was established in the rooms of the museum in 1998. Since then, it has created an exceptional programme and managed to take supposedly familiar things and show them from a new perspective. At the entrance to the gallery, a plaque displays the hope which was expressed by collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig: "We hope that, one day, it will be possible to see art from all the great cultures of the world together in one place, so that we can recognise that which separates them and experience that which connects them."
From the ancient to the modern, masterpieces from Peter and Irene Ludwig's eponymous collection are regularly displayed in the form of smaller, more detailed exhibitions. Past examples of these include a 16th-century leuchterweibchen chandelier or a memento mori, which was made some time around 1520 from ebony and ivory.
In the Populäre Galerie, comics, cartoons and caricatures take centre stage. It was here that the first retrospective exhibitions were presented on illustrators such as Ralf König or Walter Moers. What's more, major exhibitions have also been dedicated to the universe created by Guillermo Mordillo or Ralf Kauka's characters Fix & Foxi.
In addition, the LUDWIGGALERIE has also been a prestigious address in the field of photography for many years now, making it highly recommended to those with an interest in the field. What's more, with the Landmarkengalerie, the centre is also following structural change through art.
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