Rooms and Wall-views

There was no wall in the five rooms on the first floor, the seven rooms on the upper floor, the corridors and the staircase, where Hanna Bekker vom Rath could not find a place for the works of art in her collection. Just as the collection was subject to constant change through purchases and sometimes sales, as well as through loans to important exhibitions, the placement of the individual works also changed. There are only a few documents of the hangings, systematically all rooms were only photographed in 1983, the year of the collectress‘ death.

Just as the Blue House showed its characteristic coloration from the outside, the rooms were also colored and some were named after their main color. Each room housed pictures and objects from the Hanna Bekker vom Rath collection.

A thoroughly grown house in which traces of the twenties and the postwar are ingeniously preserved. Any renovation would spoil the character. The rooms are whitewashed in the old lime colors that are already unavailable today, celadon green, Indian red, lemon yellow. These colored funds unobtrusively ensure that the walls, which are virtually paved with pictures, nevertheless do not appear overloaded.

Dieter Hoffmann: Nachfeier am Vorabend. 30 Jahre Frankfurter Kunstkabinett Hanna Bekker vom Rath, in: Frankfurter Neue Presse, Feuilleton 13.5.1977
schematic first floor plan

The Red Room

Guests were received and events were held here. Until the 1960s, the concert grand piano had its place here until it had to give way to an open fireplace.

Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler, who moved to Hofheim with Ernst Wilhelm Nay in 1945, described her impressions in 1993: When one entered the large red living room, one was suddenly and overwhelmingly presented with a panorama of her magnificent collection. Tightly and unconventionally presented, there hung the „Verspottung Christi“ by Nolde, „Nächtliche Mittelmeerhafen“ by Schmidt-Rottluff, the wonderful, upright-format female nude by Beckmann, some of Jawlensky’s imaginary colorful paintings and more. 

In the midst of the aura of these very individual works of art, the ancient Chinese iron sculpture of the temple guard, a seated demon that united animal and human forms and – guarding and threatening like a god – exercised a kind of protective function. This incomparably masterly figure seemed to me like a symbol of dualism and the complexity of all art.

Photo Marta Hoepffner, 1961
Photo Klaus Meier-Ude, 1968
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983

Dining-Room

Only on special occasions were meals taken in the polygonal room. With its four doors, it was a passageway from the forecourt to the veranda and the connection between the Red and Blue Rooms. The walls, however, offered space for small and larger works of art, and smaller sculptures were placed on the built-in cupboards. The rarely used dining table was covered by Ida Kerkovius‘ „Tierdecke“.

View to the veranda, Photo Marta Hoepffner, 1959
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983
View into Red Room, Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983

The Blue Room

Originally this was the bedroom of Hanna Bekker. When many refugees were accommodated in the post-war period, she moved to the upper floor. 

Blue House with annex to the east,
about 1954

An annex was added to the Blue Room on the east side the 1950’s. With this extension it served first as family accommodation, later as one of the many guest rooms.Finally, the piano was moved here and graphic cabinets were set up for the growing collection.

Photos v. Brauchitsch, 1983

Library

The library shelves not only provided space for books – including Paul Bekker’s publications – but also for numerous African artifacts. In the 1950s, the library served as a study for the conférencier Werner Finck during longer stays. This is also where the first object was located that Hanna Bekker had acquired as a teenager: a figure of Christ.

Photo Fotoschule Hoepffner, 1963
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983

Hallway and Staircase

In the light-protected hallway downstairs, drawings and graphic works in black and white were hanging.

But when viewed from above, the staircase glowed in the colors of paintings by Baumeister, Nay, and Schmidt-Rottluff.

Photos v. Brauchitsch
schematic upper floor plan

Studio

The studio was the refuge of the house. Here she could retreat for painting, eating, correspondence, reading and writing – and sometimes with some guests for a game of chess.

At the far end of the room was a group of chairs around a table and her red sofa. The easel was located in the centre of the room.

Paintings of her collection hung densely packed on the yellow and gray walls.
Klaus Gallwitz described this painterly exchange in a speech in 1978: In view of these pictures we imagine the lively mutual exchange, which lies in the fact that far more than half of the collection in the so-called Blue House has come from studios into the studio. Hanna Bekker vom Rath paints, but she brought many more paintings home at the same time. Few artists live so openly, almost naively and at the same time so self-critically in the relationship between their own production and that of their great and famous friends. It is surely right if we see both together, what belongs together: The pictures of the others and her own pictures. Not in an art-historical sense, but in a biographical and therefore very lively sense. … She invites guests into her house. They stay long and paint in Hofheim.

Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983
Hanna Beker at her painting table, 1968
photo Klaus Meier Ude
Photo v. Brauchitsch, 1983