Under the motto "Worlds of Experience," the new presentation of the art collection in the Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss was ceremoniously opened with numerous activities. From this point on, the treasures were to convey new and surprising impressions and diverse insights through a compilation spanning genres and epochs. After all, where else can we make visual discoveries in our fast-paced and image-flooded everyday life than in a museum! The incomparability of the original work of art has lost none of its fascination even in times of digital reproducibility. This potential was to be exploited within the framework of the new presentation.
The selected compilation of exhibits, enriched by excursions into cultural history, made it possible to sharpen the eye for the special, to arouse curiosity and to stimulate lively discussions. For example, there was a reunion with works by Johan Thorn Prikker: in addition to the well-known painting "The Tug of War," both large-format window designs for the Dreikönigenkirche in Neuss and a jewelry box designed by him with wooden inlays were on display, revealing his characteristic ornamental formal language in the various genres. His works of art led over to the works of his renowned student Heinrich Campendonk, whose monumental "Saint Julian" has regained its original radiance after extensive restoration. In addition, an unfinished drawing and a discarded painting back provided intimate and unique insights into the creative process of this important Rhenish Expressionist.
Max Ernst, who emerged from the environment of Rhenish Expressionism to become one of the most renowned Surrealists in Paris, was also temporarily given his own cabinet as part of the new presentation. Thus, the extensive graphic collection of the Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss was given a permanent presentation location for the first time.
The works by Max Ernst provided insights into the poetic experiments and intellectual environment of the world-famous artist. His paintings were complemented by books by Paul Eluard and André Breton, who associated with Max Ernst in the circle of the Paris Surrealists. Thanks to the generous loan of Dr. Irmgard Feldhaus, the exhibition was enriched by the valuable original edition of the legendary collage novel "La Femme 100 Têtes" by Max Ernst from 1929. The novel's 146 collages and texts are considered a visual manifesto of Surrealism. Visitors were able to experience the special interaction between art, literature, and music through an audio station that featured excerpts from the famous setting of "La Femme 100 Têtes" by American composer George Antheil. This surreal musical collage from 1932 to 1933 gave rise to acoustic associations and dream images to the illustrations by Max Ernst.