On 7th November 1953 the Klingspor-Museum opened its doors to visitors the first time. During the post-war years the City of Offenbach am Main founded a small museum for the art of modern book production and typography. The basis of the museum was a valuable collection of books of Dr. h.c. Karl Klingspor (1868 - 1950), who together with his brother Wilhelm operated a typefoundry in the first half of the 20th century in Offenbach am Main.
Notable artists like Otto Eckmann, Peter Behrens, Rudolf Koch, Walter Tiemann, Rudo Spemann, Imre Reiner, Hans Bohn and Karlgeorg Hoefer designed typefaces for the company. The firm's high artistic typesettings were exported to printers around the globe from its location in the Offenbacher Ludwigstrasse; the Gebruder Klingspor type foundry was world reknowned.
In 1927 at the International Book Art Fair in Leipzig, the private book collection of Dr. Karl Klingspor was exhibited as the "Room of a bibliophile" and much admired. To this day his collection of 100 books bound in leather by the bookbinder Ignatz Wiemeler is an invaluable gem of the Klingspor-Museum.
Shortly after establishment of the museum, the first important donations arrived.
The families of Rudolf Koch (1876 - 1934) and Rudo Spemann (1905 - 1947) gave entire collections inherited from their estates, and the young museum soon became the central collecting point for modern typographic art. The expressive calligraphy , tapestries with types and book production of Rudolf Koch and his former students are evidence of a lively Offenbach School of Calligraphy of the 20th century.
The Klingspor-Museum owns a large part of the work of Ernst Schneidler (1882 - 1956), who founded the Stuttgart School. His students are also present, with works of Rudo Spemann, Werner Bunz, Georg Trump and Eva Aschoff. Vienna is represented by the unique collection of Rudolf von Larisch. The Klingspor Museum in Offenbach holds the largest collection outside of the Netherlands of work of the greatest Dutch printer and typographer Hendrik Nikolaas Werkman (1882 - 1945); with his experimental periodical "The Next Call" from 1923 - 1926 he was one of the most influential avant-garde typographers of the century.
The collector Paul Ritter gave his Frans Masereel collection to the Klingspor-Museum, which represents a uniquely comprehensive exhibit of the work of this Flemish artist. Association members also received a valuable gift in the form of the Masereel Book produced exclusively from this collection by Paul Ritter.
One of the most reknowned illustrators of the former German Democratic Republic was Werner Klemke of East-Berlin. He gave his entire artistic lifework to the Museum, including all his books, original drawings and voluminous correspondance.
The following areas are covered by the museum's collection:
The rich collection of literature on the art of book production, history of letterpress printing, typography and calligraphy, graphic techniques and the art of paper making are at everyone's disposal upon prior notice to the library. All of the collections are included in a catalogue system.
Permanent and changing exhibitions with valuable items from the museum's own collections, as well as loans from artists and collectors, show the variety of the 20th century book and printing art on an international level.
Visitors from all over the world come to Offenbach to see the exhibitions and the extensive collections of the modern book and typographical art. The library of the museum also boasts a number of tables where the collections can be worked with.
Since 1956 the museum has held the annual international picture book exhibition "Bunte Kinderwelt" (Colourful Children's World) during the winter from December to February. The openings, usually on the first sunday in Advent, are always a feast for the eyes and the stomach of both children and grown ups. Many publishing houses take the opportunity to present their books to interested readers.
Herrnstrabe 80 (Sudflugel des Busing Palais)
63061 Offenbach am Main
Phone 069 8065-2954 Frau Rauer (Verwaltung)
Phone 069 8065-2164 Aufsicht
Phone 069 8065-3511 Dr. Stefan Soltek, Museumsleiter
Phone 069 8065-2066 Frau Wei (Library)
Fax 069 8065-2669