Reiff Museum© Gliszczinsky
What is the Reiff Museum?
At the opening in 1908, the Reiff Museum included almost 300 works of art, with paintings as the main focus, including 200 original copies of Old Masters. This stock was the basis of the largest collection of copies of the late 19th century in Germany. Graphics, sculptures, plaster casts, furniture, carpets and architectural models rounded off the multi-facetted collection.
Initially, the works of art served a didactic purpose: to educate architects and art historians at the polytechnic technical college. But just one year after the opening of the university museum, the Reiff Museum was opened to the public on the initiative of Max Schmid-Burgk, professor of art history and museum director. In addition, the dedicated director prompted acquisitions of contemporary art, which gave the exhibitions a high degree of renown. But with the death of Schmid-Burgk in 1925, the brisk and progressive exhibition business faded away. Numerous works were given away, sold or placed in dark cellars and thus fell into oblivion. In order to bring the original collection back to life, a project seminar was initiated at the Chair for Art History of the RWTH, which deals with capturing the original inventory in a database and at the same time reconstructing, inventorizing and restoring the estate.