Geoff Walden


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Munich / München

Part 4 - Haus der Deutschen Kunst - Museum of German Art


   The Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) was built in 1933-37 to replace the Munich Art Gallery (Glass Palace) which had burned in 1931. Designed by architect Paul Ludwig Troost in the neo-classical Third Reich style, the building still serves Munich today as an art museum (Haus der Kunst).

Click here to visit a subpage on the Nazi art exhibits in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst.


This artist's conception from 1933 shows the planned Haus der Deutschen Kunst, or "Neuer Glaspalast," which was to replace the
old "Glass Palace" art museum, burned in 1931. The large statues in the front colonnade were never installed.  (period postcard)


The Haus der Deutschen Kunst was officially opened by Adolf Hitler on 18 July 1937, with the opening of the first Greater German Art Exhibition. On the right, Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and others inspect ceremonial troops uniformed as Bavarian infantry, during the grand opening ceremony. (National Archives, RG 242-HB)


Scenes from the opening day ceremonies, 18 July 1937. The modern view below was taken while the main hall was being readied for a new exhibit.  (above left - Life Collection; Bundesarchiv)


In his speech for the opening of the museum, Hitler dedicated the building to the art of the German people.
Munich Gauleiter Adolf Wagner looked on from the side.  (period photo album)



The cornerstone laying for the Haus der Deutschen Kunst was held on 15 October 1933, amid much pomp and ceremony.  (left - period postcard; right - "Der Staat der Arbeit und des Friedens," Altona-Behrenfeld, 1934)


During the ceremony, Hitler was to strike the top of the foundation stone three times with a ceremonial silver hammer. However, on the first strike the head of the hammer came off, leaving the handle in Hitler's hand, and Hitler immediately turned and walked away. This "omen of back luck" was suppressed by the German media, but was reported in London.  (above left - period postcard; above right - US National Archives, RG 242HB-2961; below - "Illustrated London News")


On the left are the chief artisans of the construction company with the ceremonial silver hammer, before it was used. On the right is a memorial plaque listing the names of the primary financial supporters of the project, which was attached to the wall of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, and can now be seen inside the building.  (left - "Illustrated London News")



Various views of the HDK building, then and now. Trees have been planted along the street, blocking a direct frontal view of the building, and the massive front steps that originally ran the entire length of the main front façade have been removed, leaving only steps in front of the main door. The color postcard shows how the roof was built to admit light for the exhibit halls, and how the building was located adjacent to the famous Englischer Garten(period postcards in author's collection)


Left - a parade of mounted swastika flag bearers pass the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, probably during the 1937 opening ceremonies. Right - a visitor's snapshot in 1940.


Comparison views of the front entrance, then and now. Above, Hitler speaks during the opening of the Greater German Art Exhibition in 1939.  (above - Bundesarchiv; below - Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938)


The swastika-motif mosaics can still be seen today in the ceiling panels of the colonnades at front and rear of the building.


The staircase at the rear of the building was of a different style from the front.  (above - Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938; below - "Kunst in Deutschen Reich," 1938)


The U.S. Army takes over in May 1945. Notice the camouflage netting hanging off the building in the view at left. The HDK building served as a U.S. military Officers Club for the Munich garrison, for several years following 1945.  (U.S. National Archives, RG111SC)



Above, the Ehrenhalle (Honor Hall) main entrance area of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, with a modern view while the area was being readied for a new exhibit. Below, views of some of the side wing exhibit rooms.  (above - Georg Schorer, "Deutsche Kunstbetrachtung" Munich, 1941; below - "Bauten der Bewegung," Vol. 1, 1938)


Then-and-now comparisons of views inside the Haus der Deutschen Kunst building.  ("Bauten der Bewegung," Vol. 1, 1938)


The Haus der Deutschen Kunst included a formal dining area and a more relaxed pub-style dining area.  ("Bauten der Bewegung," Vol. 1, 1938)


   Continue to Part 5, Other Third Reich Sites in Munich

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