The Bossard Site of Arts

The Kunststätte Bossard is one of the very few expressionist artists´ homes that still exist in Europe. Begun as a dwelling place and studio, it has been conceived as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” and can be experienced today with hardly any changes.

The theory of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”, expounded and rendered popular by Richard Wagner, was taken up by numerous artists in the late 19th and early 20th century. Whereas most of them created theoretical projects in designs and writings, Bossard is one of the few artists who strove to realize his plans. This makes the Kunststätte Bossard unique in a German and European context.

The swiss-born artist Johann Michael Bossard (1874–1950) who taught sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Decorative Arts) in Hamburg created the unique complex from 1911 to 1950, making use of a terrain of 30.000 m2. He united architecture, painting, sculpture, landscape gardening and the decorative arts, since 1926 with the help of his wife Jutta Bossard née Krull (1903–1996), his former pupil. Life and art were to form a unity which was also to include nature and religion.

Bossard began the construction of the site with a large house for his personal lodging and his studio, making use of traditional and regional elements in architecture and furniture. From about 1918 to 1935, he decorated the interior of the rooms according to the ideal of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”, encompassing furniture, textiles, painted walls and ceilings, sculptures, mosaic floors and articles of daily use such as dinnerware. The interior decoration in an expressionist style has remained intact until today and is accessible to visitors.

Next to the residential and studio building, Johann and Jutta Bossard erected the “Kunsttempel” (“Temple of Fine Arts”) from 1926 to 1929, one of the most important examples for expressionist brick architecture (other remaining examples are the “Chilehaus” (Hamburg) and the “Böttchestraße” (Bremen). The “Temple of Fine Arts” was to be freely accessible to those who walked in the heath, allowing them not only to enjoy nature but also to appreciate the beauty of art as well as finding a space for religious contemplation.

Today, the architecture and interior decoration of the “Temple of Fine Arts” allow visitors understand central concepts of the visionary 1910s and 1920s in Germany. The building is accessible to visitors during museum opening hours and is the subject of regular guided tours.

The “Kunststätte Bossard” holds about 100 events and activities each year, all of them centering around the theoretical idea of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”.