This open gate | by day, by night | shelters many | and also rare ones! |One of the numerous poems by Hanna Bekker vom Rath, dated 1969.
It lets them in | it lets them out | and everyone knows | that a “short stay at home” | is possible for everyone | who trusts the house
| and finds shelter | also the bride.
This open house | will only be closed, | when my body | becomes ashes
| sinks into Hofheim’s earth | silently.
1926 – 1933
Around 1926 Hanna Bekker met the painter Alexej Jawlensky. He had moved from his exile to Wiesbaden in 1921. His emigration to Switzerland, which was enforced by the First World War, made it difficult for him to return to earlier successes. Additionally, the worldwide economic situation and the increasing deterioration of his health condition made it difficult for him to continue.
In 1928 Hanna Bekker vom Rath called for the founding of the “Society of Friends of the Art of Alexei von Jawlensky”. A small circle of art collectors supported Jaelensky by paying monthly contributions. In return, they received the right to a work by the artist every four years.
After many of the patrons had fled Nazi Germany from 1933 onwards, Hanna Bekker vom Rath continued her personal support of the artist, but also looked for ways to convey his works and increasingly to help other artist friends.
Hanna Bekker had also left Germany with her children in October 1933, hoping to wait for the end of the dictatorship in Greece. The currency freeze forced her to return nine months later. In Athens, she looked back: in April (1933), the Schmidt-Rottluff Exhibition in Frankfurt. Banned because of Bolshevik poster painting, I went to Hofheim … Hopes for sales from the exhibition remained vain …
She learned from this experience that although her Blue House in Hofheim was too remote for exhibitions, it could very well be used as a refuge.
Among the artists who took refuge here temporarily – some even regularly – were Theo Garve, Hans Fähnle, Alexej Jawlensky, Ida Kerkovius, Else and Ludwig Meidner, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Alexandra Povorina, Emy Roeder, Karl and Emy Schmidt-Rottluff. Almost all of them left painterly testimonies.
Further visits are documented by: Sonja Eckhardt-Gramatté, Karl Erich Görk, Will Grohmann, Marta Hoepffner and Rosa Schapire.
Contacts were resumed shortly after the end of the war and the first encounters since the founding of the Frankfurter Kunstkabinett took place in the Blue House.
Among the first guests were Willi Baumeister, Ida Kerkovius, Erich Heckel, Emy Roeder, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
For some of the artists who settled in Hofheim on a long-term basis, the impetus came from Hanna Bekker vom Rath:
1944: Marta Hoepffner (-1970) | Friedel Schulz-Dehnhardt | 1945: Ernst Wilhelm Nay, (-1952) | 1949: Günter Schulz-Ihlefeldt | 1952: Siegfried Reich an der Stolpe (-1970) | 1955: Ludwig Meidner (-1963) | 1958: Ev Grüger | 1963: Shalom S. Sebba | 1968 Maria Moriondo.
In 1954 Hanna Bekker vom Rath had a house built in the lower part of her garden, where Friedel Schulz-Dehnhardt and Ev Grüger moved in. On the upper floor was the studio, which she made available to Schmidt-Rottluff. He used it until his last stay in 1974.
In 1968, another building was erected on the same level for Sebba, the “painter and workman” who had returned from Israel, who lived there until his death. He had spent the summer months in the Blue House since 1963.
In 1993 the Stadtmuseum Hofheim was opened with a special show of works by Hanna Bekker in honor of her centennial birthday. She and the artist-circle of the Blue House are part of the permanent exhibition there.