A LONG TRADITION OF INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT – A CIVIC FOUNDATION IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
"The Städel as the model […] for a museum in the 21st century”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 18 September 2007
"The Städel is an institution in which the people of the region take great interest, a museum they consider their own and to which they are actively committed.”
Prof. Dr. h.c. mult Nikolaus Schweickart, Chairman of the Städel Foundation
"To return to the subject of Frankfurt’s art admirers and collectors, I must first call attention to Mr Städel who, at an advanced age, […] still takes pleasure in the works he owns. […] I have been assured that he intends to endow it all, along with his house and a considerable sum of money, to the common good and to unite it for all time in the interest of educating artists and friends of the arts.”
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1815
It was Johann Friedrich Städel’s pioneering idea, born of Enlightenment ideals and the civic spirit, to have his artworks form the basis of a public collection. With this endowment, the first under German law, a commoner took the initiative in the promotion of art, which up to then had been the preserve of the aristocracy and the church. And his ground-breaking idea lives on at the Städel to this day: since it was founded almost two hundred years ago, the Städel Museum has stood as a symbol of civic involvement. And so there is no contradiction in the fact that the numerous individuals, businesses and foundations who/which support "their” Städel in so many ways also stand out for their sense of tradition and their visionary outlook.