Since November 1997 the art of stained glass has been enriched by the establishment of a new centre which is unique in Germany: the German Museum of Stained Glass, located in Linnich, a small town rich in tradition, situated between Aachen and Mönchengladbach. Linnich also hosts the oldest manufacturer of stained glass windows in Germany.
The museum is a former grain mill which has been renovated in keeping with the style. Its previous interior was removed to the core, so that now the building is flooded with light and contains seven levels with about 1400sqm of exhibition area which provides space for a multitude of varied exhibits. The museums’ conception is orientated towards displaying the development of modern stained glass art since the end of the 19th century to current trends.
Rhineland – where Linnich is located – and Westphalia, the neighbouring region, take a key position in the renewal of modern stained glass which is connected to the name of Johan Thorn Prikker (1868-1932), a pioneering lecturer who worked at Krefeld, Hagen, München, Düsseldorf and Köln and, together with his numerous students, got a development going which aimed at replacing the historicistic painting “onto glass” with “painting with glass” and to orientate again towards the expressiveness of Medieval stained glass.
The permanent exhibition on three levels aims at showing the historical development of stained glass with examples ranging from the 16th century towards the present. Organized courses at the museum’s workshop offer the visitors the possibility to try out techniques of stained glass art with their own hands. Moreover, some exhibits convey insight into the manufacturing of broad-sheet glass.
In addition to the stock of (window) panes and designs in possession of the foundation and the registered voluntary association, the museum is supported by exhibits from private and public donors.
Representing 19th century historicism are copies - gifted by Dr. Sven Fischer - from the estate of Fritz Geiges, who was a restorer, stained glass artist and art historian. Geiges’ works document formally and as regards content the development of stained glass from the Middle Ages to the modern age. Fundamental contributions to the collection, both as donation as well as permanent loan, were made by the Glasmalerei-Werkstatt Dr. Heinrich Oidtmann.
More than 100 stained glass windows on permanent loan from the Nordrhein-Westfalen-Stiftung convey important examples of modern figurative and abstract stained glass of the second half of the 20th century. Extensive estates by Maria Katzgrau (1912-1998) and Erich Feld (1919-1990) supplement the collection with significant material of post-war art, which demonstrates the interaction of stained glass artists with the fields of painting, sculpture, plastic art and object art, all of which influenced the evolution of stained glass.
>>> 15th -19th century
>>> 20th century
>>> actual artists