The Grassi Museum in Leipzig counts among the most significant of its type in Europe and stands out for a completely new permanent exhibition, “From Ancient times to Historism”. It is a call to a journey covering over 3,000 years of the history of art, in the Roman Hall, the Piranesi Gallery and the Treasure Chamber. The second exhibition area “Asian art: Impulse for Europe” is dedicated to art treasures from China, Japan and Iran. In the third department “From Art Nouveau to the present day”, there is a series of treasures from the period of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus and design highlights as from 1950.
The museum was founded upon the death and last will of Franz Dominic Grassi (1801 – 1880). Grassi was a wealthy merchant and above all a true Mecenas to the city of Leipzig and to numerous ordinary citizens. His inheritance was invested in the construction of the new Gewandhaus, the Mende fountain and in the “old” Grassi museum and finally in the present day museum complex that was erected from 1925 to 1929. The museum was fundamentally refurbished in the past years and the collections of the three museums of the complex are effectively on show for the first time since 1945. The Art Nouveau Villa Esche in Chemnitz, built by Henry van de Velde (1863 – 1957), and other splendid Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture and art are within reach as well.
One of the treasures in the museum is the Callenberger retabel. The retabel belonged to the Callenberg Altar, named after the altar in the church of this small town near Waldenburg. The retabel (1512-1513) is a late Gothic work of the artisan Peter Beuer (1470-1541), one of the best artists of retabels of his time and region (Sachsen). Many of his other works are on display in the Nationalmuseum in Nurnberg. The retabel was bought by the Schönburg-Glauchau familiy in 1860, but a part of the work was sold to the Grassi museum in 1901, the other part remained in the possesion of the Schönburg-Glauchau family, who sold the remaining part tot he Grassi museum in 2016 however. The retabel is united, after a separation of more than 160 years. (further information: www.grassimuseum.de).