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current exhibition

© Joachim Rieß, Briefmarke: Zweiter Frauenkongreß der DDR, 1969

The divided generation

New actors in the art of the 1960s in Chemnitz and the surrounding region.

January 23, 2024 until May 05, 2024

Gerhard Altenbourg, Johann Belz, Fredo Bley, Irene Bösch, Hans Brockhage, Carlfriedrich Claus, Hans Detlefsen, Fritz Diedering, Robert Diedrichs, Karl Clauss Dietel, Manfred Gottschall, Heinz Heger, Karl Heinz Jakob, Klaus Matthäi, Dieter Netzker, Joachim Rieß, Harry Scheuner, Heinz Schumann, Harald Stephan, Christine Stephan-Brosch, Carl-Heinz Westenburger
Exhibition opening on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 7.30 pm
Introduction: Alexander Stoll, curator

After looking at the artistic dynamics of the first post-war years in the exhibition "Generation in the Shadows" (2018), the presentation focuses on the following years of the great upswing. Chemnitz, or Karl-Marx-Stadt in those years, was the natural center and important point of reference for artistic activities in the entire region of southwest Saxony between Freiberg, Zwickau, Plauen and Annaberg, as it is known today. Our observation period begins in 1959 and ends with the founding of the artists' cooperative Galerie oben in Chemnitz in 1973, when a new generation of artists began to emerge on a massive scale and usher in a new era. The changes in the GDR and in Karl-Marx-Stadt in the 1960s made it abundantly clear that the development of art could not be viewed independently of the general economic dynamics and conditions in society as a whole.
On the one hand, the Chemnitz region experienced an unprecedented upswing in those years with the establishment of large manufacturing plants in the important industrial sectors of chemicals, automotive engineering, mechanical engineering and technology development. On the other hand, the construction of the Berlin Wall right at the beginning of the decade cemented tendencies towards isolation and a lack of exchange with the world's development centers, including in the arts. The lack of an art academy in the region did the rest.

Looking back, an interesting picture emerges: the liberal arts in Chemnitz and the region received little new impetus in the 1960s. Occasionally, original minds shine out. Compared to the 1950s, there was a relative void of new forces, into which the Clara Mosch group of artists only successfully positioned itself in the mid-1970s with its enchanting lightness. Two outstanding young artists of those years, Carlfriedrich Claus and Gerhard Altenbourg, took their first steps to break away from regional references and seek international contacts and exchange despite all the difficulties. Claus in particular developed an experimental oeuvre that sought new paths of free expression on the basis of a clear philosophical position. He was also the only artist whose work reflected current developments in world affairs: the revolts of 1968 in the West, the Prague Spring, the colonial wars of liberation and, in art, the flourishing of Pop Art and Fluxus. However, he integrated these impulses into his broader historical-philosophical concept. The work of Claus and Altenbourg follows a course that does not coincide with that of the regionally oriented artists of the 1920s, who mostly adhered to the expressive-realist pictorial tradition. Here we find individual highly sensitive talents such as Karl Heinz Jakob and Carl-Heinz Westenburger.

In those years, women played almost no role in the artistic process in the region. It was only in the 1970s that they began to make inroads into the art academies of the East and from there to southwest Saxony. Only the photographer Christine Stephan-Brosch was able to gain recognition with portrait photographs of the artists. The painter Irene Bösch took her first steps at the end of the 1960s and was quickly recognized nationwide.

On the other hand, the economic upturn in the region brought considerable momentum to two artistic fields that had previously received little attention: industrial design and applied art. Clauss Dietel was successful in vehicle design and radio development. Hans Brockhage successfully developed toys and everyday appliances alongside his art in construction work.
The Gottschall Detlefsen Rieß (GDR) work collective and Harry Scheuner, who worked alone, became extremely successful stamp designers in the GDR and were later able to assert themselves under the new conditions of the post-reunification period in the Federal Republic.
The typographer and calligrapher Heinz Schumann was already making an international impact on type design issues in the 1960s due to his proximity to Albert Kapr and the Leipzig School. He designed several print types and quickly became the most important calligrapher in the country.

In the field of art in architecture, the few outstanding sculptors of the time, Johannes Belz and Harald Stephan, worked on numerous commissions. Belz's Klapperbrunnen fountain is still regarded today as an unbroken symbol of identification for the people of Chemnitz.


Foto: NSG

New Saxon Gallery

On the initiative of the art historian Werner Ballarin, committed citizens founded what was probably the first art association in what was then the GDR on January 24, 1990. Both in its naming and in its basic intentions, the new association saw itself in the tradition of the first Chemnitz art association - the Chemnitz Art Association, which was founded in 1860 and became an important cultural institution in the up-and-coming industrial city around the turn of the century. Under the aegis of the exhibition director Friedrich Schreiber-Weigand, the focus was primarily on modern art developments. The first exhibitions with works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff introduced the new direction of Expressionism. The Kunsthütte's extensive purchasing activities during these years also laid the foundation for the city of Chemnitz's later art collections.

In 1996, the Neue Chemnitzer Kunsthütte e.V. took over the sponsorship of the municipal art collection Neue Sächsische Galerie, which has been run in close partnership with the association since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but as an independent museum for the city of Chemnitz. Since then, the association has coordinated all museum and organizational matters of this unique institution in Saxony in a fiduciary capacity and ensures the constant growth and updating of the collection through purchases and the acquisition of donations.

The Neue Sächsische Galerie (NSG) is a museum for contemporary art and activity space of the Neue Chemnitzer Kunsthütte art association. It owes its existence to the committed advocacy of Chemnitz citizens during the reunification period. The local Stasi headquarters for state citizen surveillance became a place for free thought and creation - the Neue Sächsische Galerie. In the 1970s and 1980s the city produced a vibrant art scene. At that time, the potential for provocation, but also the value of intellectual self-determination, was experienced anew by artists and viewers alike. The gallery still feels committed to this idea today. Its core activities relate to art events in the wider area of Saxony, but also to the exchange with international contemporary art positions. She particularly focuses on artistic achievements that are aesthetically and intellectually striking and thus generate friction and conflict. In doing so, she takes up developments in classic art genres such as new media.



With the founding of the NSG, a collection of art from Saxony after 1945 was created. The starting point was the inventory of the Karl-Marx-Stadt District Art Center. On this basis, we strive to close important gaps through donations and targeted purchases and to continue documenting the development of art in the Saxon cultural area after 1990. Almost 12,000 works have been collected to date. They represent essential artistic development lines in Saxony with extraordinary works. In addition to works of fine art, the collection includes extensive holdings of applied art and industrial design from the GDR period as well as poster art. Due to a lack of purchasing funds, the works found their way into the collection almost exclusively through donations, transfers and sponsorship. The gallery would like to thank the artists for their trust and solidarity with the idea of this unique collection. NCK e.V. was able to make some purchases thanks to the collection among members. Since the NSG moved to the TIETZ in 2004, works from the collection have been presented in irregular sequence in exhibition modules such as “drawn”, “painted”, “designed for everyday life”, “photographed”, contemporary historical backgrounds and artistic production conditions are described, materials , tools and working methods of the artists are presented. The art collection of the Neue Sächsische Galerie will soon be made permanently and completely digitally accessible online.


Foto: NSG

art education

Foto: NSG

Public tour

of the current exhibition every Tuesday, 5 p.m.

Guided tour of the current exhibitions (admission: €4, reduced €2, no tour fee) Further tours by arrangement (costs: entry plus 30 euros tour fee) People up to 18 years of age, trainees, students at Chemnitz University of Technology and members of German art associations (AdKV) have free entry

ask for tour in english: +49 371 3676680


specifically for the current exhibition

You can find our group offers here.

Art in family

Every month we invite you to a Sunday art walk in the gallery. Children and adults encounter the current exhibitions in a playful way, get to know artists personally and can also become artistically active together. You can find the next dates in our calendar.


Drawing Printing Bookbinding

The skills of drawing, printing and bookbinding can be acquired in challenging workshops, primarily for adults, for example • Trying out wet and dry drawing techniques • Making your own tools such as bourdon tubes • Trying out unconventional printing techniques, e.g. Lego printing • Experimental embossing on a printing press • Producing block stitching and other adhesive-free bindings • Creating paper and designing with natural and recycled materials • Building and obtaining small graphic folders and boxes Registration: info@nsg-chemnitz.de or 0371 3676680 You can find the next dates in our calendar.


Studio for original graphics for all age groups (registration via the gallery) Experience, experience and learn artistic printmaking.

The DRUCKSTOCK is a living workshop in which artists work in a variety of ways to create new graphics. Letterpress, gravure and stone printing are on the agenda here. Anyone who would like to take a look behind the scenes of the professionals or experience this working atmosphere in a sensual and active way is cordially invited to the following offers: • Technical workshop tours that explain what, how and why something is done during printing • Demonstrations of the various printing techniques, where the art historical references and developments are explained • Art education workshops in which all printing processes can be creatively tested, depending on the time frame, desired technology and group size The costs for the offers in the printing workshop depend on the group size and the amount of materials used. Registration: info@nsg-chemnitz.de or 0371 3676680

art association : Kunstverein

Foto: NSG

Neue Chemnitzer Kunsthütte e.V.

Supporting association of the Neue Sächsische Galerie

On January 24, 1990, committed citizens founded the art association "Neue Chemnitzer Kunsthütte e.V." on the initiative of art historian Dr. Werner Ballarin - probably the first association of its kind in the former GDR. Both in its name and in its fundamental intentions, the new association saw itself in the tradition of the first Chemnitz art association - the "Chemnitzer Kunsthütte", which had already been founded in 1860 and advanced to become an important cultural institution in the up-and-coming industrial city around the turn of the century. Under the aegis of exhibition director Friedrich Schreiber-Weigand, the focus was primarily on modern art developments. The first exhibitions with works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff introduced the public to the new direction of Expressionism.
The extensive purchasing activities of the Kunsthütte in these years also laid the foundations for the later art collections of the city of Chemnitz.
Like its predecessor, the Neue Chemnitzer Kunsthütte aims to actively contribute to the promotion of contemporary art in Saxony. Through exhibitions, art talks, lectures, symposia and other events, the association aims to provide a broad platform for the discussion of contemporary art.

In 1996, the association took over the sponsorship of the municipal art collection Neue Sächsische Galerie, which until then had been run in close partnership with the association, but as an independent museum of the city of Chemnitz. Since then, the association has coordinated all museum and organizational matters of this unique institution in Saxony on a fiduciary basis.

In 2021, the Kunstverein was awarded the Saxon Museum Prize for its "mediation approaches - both traditional and innovative - for contemporary art as well as the preservation and treatment of so-called 'Eastern Modernism'" in the Neue Sächsische Galerie.