The Blue House

the original Summerhouse, Kapellenstraße, 1925

Hanna Bekker vom Rath purchased the former summer house in Kapellenstraße in Hofheim, built around 1880, from a Frankfurt chemist in 1921. She had rented two rooms here with Paul Bekker the year before.

The house, located near the forest, was surrounded by a large garden. We have a quite nice house, in which a guest room is also available, as well as a large garden with magnificent trees, where I had a seat and table built for work on a beautiful beech tree c[irca] 7 m high, so that I could write quite haughtily, Paul Bekker wrote to the composer Franz Schreker.

In April 1924 Hanna Bekker noted in a diary: We had the house painted blue, i.e. all the woodwork, the fields yellow-orange, it looks very funny! After her separation from Paul Bekker, she had the house rebuilt and extended on the west side in 1928.

west-side of the Blue house,
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983

Since then there was a library on the belle étage, changing into the Red Room instead of a salon, and her studio with large north windows and balcony on the upper floor. The characteristic wooden veranda was also added.
Ida Kerkovius introduced the name Blue House shortly after the colorful redesign. More about the collection in the house: Art-Collector.

For Hanna Bekker, the Blue House was to remain the center of her life and place of retreat for over 60 years. At all times – even during National Socialism, when it became a quiet refuge – guests from the worlds of music, literature and art accepted the invitations and many repeated their visits regularly. They left evidence of their stays in pictures and texts.

Reports on the Blue house

When we asked you for an interview, you said: ‘Yes, if you think I’m that important?’ Frankly, I was a bit afraid of you, because I belong to the generation that was fed with ‘art for the people’ at a crucial age and now faces the modern at a loss. […] Well, you led us into your ‘red room’. My companion resisted the rich red in fright. I was warmly embraced by it. […] One must be very courageous and sure to give dominance to such colors! […] You told me about your gallery in Frankfurt and about the Zimmertheater, which you want to bring to the people of Hofheim every month, in addition to concerts. When the play is over, you sit down with your guests so that everyone can get the excitement off their minds. Madam, you doubt whether you are ‘that important’: For us young people you are very important, because without much talking and patronizing, just letting us experience and some helping words you open the door to art, for which we so often do not find the key. […] Yours HR.

HR, Am Kapellenweg zu Hofheim, in: Höchster Kreisblatt, 21.12.1949.
Discussion after a piano concert in the Blue House,
Neue Münchner Illustrierte, 1.7.1950
from: Haus mit den blauen Fensterläden,
Wiesbadener Kurier, 4.3.1960

… She has filled her house in the Taunus town of Hofheim with pictures and figures up to the roof – quite literally. In terms of its ideal and material value, this “Blue House” in the shade of tall trees resembles a museum. And yet it is far more: a generously equipped home for art and artists, where pictorial works have taken on the role of household gods and determine the exalted climate of spiritual relationships. In an atmosphere of frequently intersecting fruitful tensions, not only top works but also lesser works grow into important links of the entire ensemble, which has gained international recognition with its reputation of being one of the most important German private collections. …

Christa von Helmolt, Nach Geschmack und Impuls. Sammlung Hanna Bekker vom Rath, 1968