From 1919 on the art historian and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn (1886–1933) wrote to psychiatric institutions, clinics, and sanatoriums throughout the German-speaking world, asking them to send creative works by patients to Heidelberg in an effort to build up a “Museum of Pathological Art”. The resulting collection of more than 5000 drawings, paintings, sculptures, and textiles features not only works that we would consider Art Brut or Outsider Art today. For Prinzhorn was interested in research material with great diversity, the evaluation of which began with just a small selection in his book “The Artistry of the Mentally Ill” (1922).

Today the Heidelberg-based Prinzhorn Collection is recognised as a precursor of Art Brut and Outsider Art. Originally, however, the psychiatrist and art historian Hans Prinzhorn was interested in a “Museum of Pathological Art”, which should contain research material with great diversity. 

Since November 2002 Thomas Röske has been the director of the Prinzhorn Collection at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Heidelberg. He studied art history, musicology, and psychology in Hamburg and obtained his doctorate in 1991 with his work about Hans Prinzhorn. In 2015 he habilitated at the University of Frankfurt with his work on art in a psychiatric context. He lectures regularly at the Departments of Art History at the Universities of Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Röske has been the president of the European Outsider Art Association since 2012.

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Tel.: +43-2243-87 087 museum[at]gugging.at

 

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