Since October 2017, the art collector Prof. Dr Heinz Böhme has been exhibiting an extraordinary collection in his private museum in the heart of the old city of Salzburg. Under the title “We haven’t forgotten you! New works from the Böhme Collection”, the Museum is now presenting its second exhibition of oil paintings, graphic works and sculptures by artists who were regarded as “degenerate” during the era of National Socialism. Although they had up to that point enjoyed successful careers and had participated in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad, the advent of the Nazis saw these artists vilified, barred from their profession, and variously compelled to emigrate or even deported.
Most of these artists had studied with famous teachers such as Max Beckmann, Henri Matisse, Lovis Corinth, Paul Klee or Oskar Kokoschka, and had attended renowned art schools. Many of them had founded or belonged to assorted groups of artists such as the Berlin and Hamburg Secession, the Hagenbund, the Young Rhineland or the Cologne Progressives. What they all have in common is that they suffered from political circumstances both in their personal lives, and in being deprived of artistic success. Numerous works of art were destroyed or taken abroad; with luck, some were able to be stored safely in secret.
Over the course of many years of painstaking research, Dr Böhme has traced the life histories of these “lost” artists and the whereabouts of their works, all in an endeavour to fill this gap in art history and bring it to general attention. His art collection today comprises more than 300 works of this, the second generation of Modernists, and reflects the stylistic pluralism of their time. It is the intention of this Museum to make the public aware of these artists, their life stories and the creative power that is expressed in their paintings, and also to preserve these for future generations.
The Museum also conveys the remarkable passion of the collector behind it, who has created a welcoming atmosphere in its exhibition spaces – inviting its visitors to enter, to stay, and to engage in an act of discovery. The collector himself is usually present in the Museum, and is happy to share his knowledge and his passion with the public. With this Museum of Art of the Lost Generation, Dr Böhme is providing these artists and their works with the appreciative recognition they deserve, but which has been denied them for so long.