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>The Gates of the Gutenberg Museum – The Commission – #1339


The Gates of the Gutenberg Museum – a 12 part series attempting to unravel the mystery of the bronze gates of the Gutenberg Museum.
4 massive sculptures by one of the most significant German figurative sculptors of the mid to late 20th century.


And no-one in Mainz can tell you anything about them.
Until now.

In this series:
Part 1 – The Story so far 
Part 2 – Johannes Gutenberg and his museum
Part 3 – A new museum
Part 4 – The Commission
Part 5 – The Artist
Part 6 – The Decision
Part 7 – The Gates
One of the chosen few
Part 8 – The Process
Part 9 – Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution
Part 10 – Lost and Unlost
Part 11 – But where are the originals?

Part 12 – Mystery solved?

Related posts:
Making a mark

The other side of the coin

Just like a bad dream
Elementary, my dear Watson 
An invitation

Rainer Schell’s concept is stunning today and must have utterly gobsmacked the populaceback then.

Hard-edged cubism, steel, glass and concrete

The Director of the Gutenberg Museum was catatonic.

He’d expected something mock Renaissance to match the Römischer Kaiser…..

It was almost as if Wiesbaden was rubbing salt into Mainz’s wounds after having  nicked been gifted the suburbs on the other side of the Rhine.

It wasn’t as if they hadn’t been WARNED, though – his Church of the Redeemerin Mainz-Kastel isn’t what you could call traditional

And it gets better.

Rainer Schell wanted to counterpoint his architecture with an sculptural feature.

“I don’t want likenesses” he said to the 5 or so local and regional sculptors chosen for the competition “I want allegory. I want a sculpture that implies what the true meaning of the museum is

And what did he get?

You guessed it.


Something like these.

Rainer Schell went spare.

He refused to consider ANY of the proposals.

The Bundesbaudirektion – the Federal Building Administration – was founded in 1770 by Friedrich II to introduce what we’d these days call a Design Catalogue for state buildings and to establish an academy to train future civil servants to oversee planning and construction.

It was reëstablished in 1950 in Berlin by Konrad Adenauer (after being hijacked by Adolf and his evil crew between 1933 and 1945) with responsibility for creating a temporary capital in Bonn and overseeing federal building activities in Germany and embassies overseas. 

Rainer Schell was well known in Berlin through his association with Egon Eiermann and was later to be commissioned with the building of the Goethe Institute in Paris

The Director of the Bundesbaudirektion was Karl Merz.

“Do YOU know a good sculptor who understands the word “allegory?”asked Schell.

“As a matter of fact, I do” said Merz “The guy you need is Karl-Heinz Krause….”

Tomorrow: The artist

This entry was published on 15 May, 2011 at 11:00. It’s filed under Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, The gates of the Gutenberg Museum and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “>The Gates of the Gutenberg Museum – The Commission – #1339

  1. >Yep that is a good likeness of all the other ones I"ve seen.V

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