Photo: Ulrich Deimel, Essen for AD Architectural Digest
Created by the Swiss artist Johann Michael Bossard (1874-1950) with the help of his wife and former pupil Jutta Kroll-Bossard (1903-1996), the Kunststätte Bossard site became the focus of the couple's artistic practice over the decades following their purchase of the land in 1911. Originally constructed a home and studio, the main space fused traditional regional architecture and furniture with Bossard's Expressionist decoration, which itself included furniture, textiles, wall paintings, sculpture, floor decoration and crockery. The project was later expanded to include the so-called 'Temple to the Fine Arts' ('Kunsttempel'), erected between 1926-9.
The Kunststätte Bossard is a rare example of a fully realised architectural Gesamtkunstwerk, or a 'total artwork' - a term often associated with the German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Understood in architecture to refer to a project where the artist exerts total control over all elements of the environment, the Gesamtkunstwerk as concept was much discussed in the later nineteenth century, but few projects on this scale were ever constructed.
The Temple to the Fine Arts was always intended to be accessible to the public, but the whole site passed into the management of the Stiftung Kunststätte Johann und Jutta Bossard Foundation after Jutta Kroll-Bossard's death in 1996. Today, the Foundation organises regular events and tours alongside the Kunststätte site's regular opening hours.
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Photo: Michael Chmella, Soderstorf
Photo: Petra Diehl, Hamburg