Visitors may see modern art for free in the Kunsthalle Würth Schwäbisch Hall and top medieval masterpieces in the nearby Johanniterkirche.
Schwäbisch Hall, a beautiful southern German town with many half-timbered houses, a picturesque market square with a large Gothic church, and a fine town museum, surprises many visitors with the large free modern art Kunsthalle Würth. Here, modern and contemporary art is displayed in large temporary exhibitions. In the nearby Johanniterkirche is the Würth’s collection of old masters and south German medieval paintings and sculptures.
Würth Art Collection
The German company Würth, a supplier of fasteners, screws, and a wide variety of accessories to especially the building and automotive industries, is also the owner of an art collection of well over 18,000 pieces.
The Würth art collection mainly focuses on paintings, graphic art, and sculptures from the late 19th century to the present but also has rare medieval works.
The collection includes an impressive number of work from the “Classical Modernity” by painters such as Max Beckmann, Max Ernst, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, and Pablo Picasso. Works by sculptors such as Eduardo Chillida, Tony Cragg, Alfred Hrdlicka, Robert Jacobsen, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, or Bernar Venet complement the collection. It also comprises large holdings of works by Hans Arp, Horst Antes, Georg Baselitz, Max Bill, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Anselm Kiefer, and Bernhard Luginbühl.
The Würth collection acquired the late medieval Fürstlich Fürstenberg Collection of Paintings in 2003. Further medieval and early modern history works by especially German artists have since been added. These are mostly seen in the Johanniterkirche.
In addition to the two museums in Schwäbisch Hall, Würth has several further museums, dependences and cooperation partnerships with museums in several European countries.
See Free Modern Art in the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall
The Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall is in a modern glass, steel, and local shell limestone building designed by the Danish architect Henning Larsen. It has three floors of exhibition space and offers further fantastic views from the open spaces over the picturesque town center on the opposite bank of the Kocher River.
The Kunsthalle Würth is used for large modern art exhibitions of several hundred works that change generally once or twice a year. These exhibitions from the own collection, or in cooperation with other museums and galleries, are accompanied by a dedicated support program of lectures, workshops, and events.
Free Medieval Art in the Johanniterkirche in Schwäbisch Hall
The medieval art of the Würth Collection is displayed in the Johanniterkirche, a short stroll from the Kunsthalle in the Johanniterkirche. This 12th-century church was extensively restored in 2008 to expose not only decorative elements but also the original Gothic roof truss from 1400/01.
The core of this collection is the late medieval Fürstlich Fürstenberg Collection of Paintings that Würth acquired in 2003. This comprises numerous rare medieval works from southwest Germany and northern Switzerland, as many similar items were destroyed during the Reformation when radical iconoclasm raged in Swabia. (St Michael’s on the opposite bank of the river was a notable exception and still have numerous pre-Reformation artworks on display.)
Numerous further important medieval and early modern works, mainly sculptures including by Tilman Riemenschneider, have since been added to the collection. Other notable works include amongst others panel paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop (Family of Wild Men, Jesus Blessed the Children, Santa Barbara, Martin Luther, Katharina von Bora), numerous works by the Master of Meßkirch, the Zurich Master of the Pansies (he painted an interesting devil, as well as beautiful details in the background), and Hans Holbein the Elder (The Nativity).
Hans Holbein the Younger’s Madonna des Bürgermeisters Jacob Meyer zum Hasen (1525/6), also known as the Darmstadt Madonna and Schutzmantelmadonna, is considered amongst the best paintings of the 16th century.
The museum is not very big but the quality of such a level that it is absolutely worth visiting.
Visitors Information Kunsthalle Würth and Johanniterkirche
The Kunsthalle Würth is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00. Admission is free.
The Johanniterkirche is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00. Closed on Monday. Admission is free.
The Kunsthalle Würth is at Lange Straße 35, 74523 Schwäbisch Hall, and the Johanniterkirche is at Im Weiler 1 a short walk downhill.
Municipal parking garage P3 (Alte Brauerei) is next to the Kunsthalle but P4 (Ritter) behind the Johanniterkirche avoids narrow one-way roads. Distances are short and the old town beautiful so any parking lot with open spaces should be reasonably convenient.
Schwäbisch Hall train station is less than ten minutes walk from the museums. Direct trains are available to Heilbronn, for Stuttgart or Nürnberg change trains at Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental station.
For more on local history and art, visit the free Hällisch-Fränkisches Museum on the opposite bank of the Kocher River.