Philosophy and History

Charitable foundations are an expression of a free civil society in which individual citizens decide to make their private assets available for tasks of the general public. They fulfil the demand of the Basic Law «Property obliges» in a particularly responsible way. Building on the basic provision of the state in science, education and culture, the non-profit commitment of the private sector to the cause gives impulses «which are groundbreaking for the sustainable further development of society» (Zeit-Stiftung, Stiftungsaktivitäten 1999-2000).

It was in this spirit that Dirk Krämer and Klaus Maas founded the DKM Foundation on 7. February 1998, with its headquarters in Duisburg, Philosophenweg 17A, located in the Inner Harbour in the «Garden of Memories».

Until the end of 2001, the main interests of the foundation’s activities were the scientific development of Ernst Hermann’s sculpture archive and the realisation of the exhibition programme for the SchauFenster gallery of the house, accompanied by cross-media supporting events, most of which were created in cooperation with municipal and supra-regional cultural partners.

The decades of looking after the Munich artist Ernst Hermanns from 1972 until his death in 2001, his trust administration and the development of the archive showed the founders of the foundation that there is a considerable need for professional service for artists of the older generation: it is not only a matter of preserving the artist’s private stock of documents, which not infrequently provides information on unresolved research questions about the work – such media witnesses to the times often disappear in the environment of heirs who are not knowledgeable. It is also important to build up a readily available digital media archive and catalogue raisonné during the artist’s lifetime, which will make it even easier for art mediators to organise exhibitions and carry out academic research.

Against this background, the long-standing contact between the collectors and the founders of the foundation and Ulrich Rückriem resulted in the re-establishment of the Ulrich Rückriem sub-foundations: Even before his return from Ireland and Normandy at the end of 2002, Ulrich Rückriem signed the Ulrich Rückriem 5-Räume Foundation on 24 October 2001, followed in August and November 2002 by the founding of the Ulrich Rückriem MUSEUMSSTIFTUNG and the Ulrich Rückriem STIFTUNG SINSTEDEN. Finally, the trust administration for Ernst Hermanns was also transformed into the legal form of a sub-foundation of the DKM Foundation: on 8 December 2002, the Ernst Hermanns Archive Foundation was launched.

In 2014, on the occasion of Ernst Hermann’s 100th birthday, a multi-layered survey exhibition curated by Prof. Dr. Erich Franz was presented at the Museum DKM. A richly illustrated catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition. The six-month exhibition «Space, Statics and Movement – The Sculptor Ernst Hermanns» was the conclusion of the exhibition series «Allez les boules», which was conceived and organised together with the Bentlage Monastery in Rheine (August-November 2014), the Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen (February-April 2015) and the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen (also February-April 2015).