Behind the modern façade of the Oldenburg City Museum (Stadtmuseum), three nineteenth-century villas contain art works and cultural history exhibits from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Two of these villas belonged to the wealthy art collector Theodor Francksen (1875-1914), who bequeathed the houses and his extensive art collection to the city of Oldenburg as the basis for a new museum.
Theodor Francksen grew up in one of the three villas that are now included in the museum. In the last decade of his life, he bought the next-door Jürgens Villa and had the two houses joined together as the beginning of the future museum. The white statue in the middle, halfway between the two houses, is called Psyche and is attributed to the Oldenburg sculptor Franz Anton Högl (1769-1859).
This room in the Jürgens Villa (now room 17 of the museum) was designed by Theodor Francksen himself in the years 1908 to 1910, to exhibit art works and furniture from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Theodor Francksen’s reading room and private library has also been preserved and is still (or again) much as it was when he designed it in 1909-1910. It is now room 23 of the museum.
In addition to the three villas, the museum also has some modern display rooms with historical exhibits, dealing for instance with the many thousands of displaced persons who sought refuge in Oldenburg and other German cities after the Second World War.
One of these displaced persons was the sculptor Waldemar Otto (1929-2020), who was sixteen when the war ended. He and his parents had to flee from their home in what is now part of Poland, but they didn’t get as far west as Oldenburg because they were able to settle in Halle in what is now Sachsen-Anhalt, formerly a part of East Germany.
In front of the Oldenburg City Museum there is now a sculpture by Waldemar Otto called Mann aus der Enge heraustretend, which means roughly “Man stepping out of the narrowness.”
This sculpture is dated 1980, and is similar to a later sculpture with the same name which he created for the city of Essen in 2007.
Other sculptures and monuments by Waldemar Otto can be seen in public spaces in other Germany cities such as Berlin, Düsseldorf, Bremen, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart und Rostock.
My photos in this post are from 2016. I wrote the text in 2021.
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4 thoughts on “Oldenburg City Museum”
Interesting that the man appears blind.
Yes, but perhaps he’s just blinded temporarily by stepping out into the light. He’s also very thin, as though he has been living in a concentration camp.
The villas look lovely but the sculpture by Waldemar Otto interests me much more – I find it quite moving
Yes, I was also very impressed by that sculpture.