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Europeans in Hamburg: The Artist House of Richard and Ida Dehmel

Europe: Remembrance and New Starts Dehmelhaus Stiftung

100 years ago the Dehmelhaus connected the fishing village Blankenese with the centres of the European avantgarde: The poet Richard Dehmel (1863-1920) and his wife Ida (1870-1942), a patron of the arts, cultivated a cross-border network with leading artists of their time. Besides Peter Behrens, Walther Rathenau and Harry Graf Kessler, the Austrians Adolf Loos and Stefan Zweig, the Belgians Henry van de Velde and Emile Verhaeren, the Frenchmen Paul Claudel and Henri Albert and many more were among them. Already in the 1890s, when he lived in Berlin, Dehmel had shown his European disposition. The Polish writer Stanisław Przybyszewski was his friend and he consorted among the Scandinavian artists around Edvard Munch and August Strindberg. The Finn Jean Sibelius got inspiration from his poems as well as Richard Strauss and the Viennese Arnold Schönberg and Alma Mahler.

After two years of traveling throughout Europe Richard and Ida Dehmel settled down in Blankenese close to Hamburg as early as 1901. Their flat was a total work of art and became an attraction for painters, sculptors, composers, directors, publishers and writers from home and abroad. In 1913 friends and admirers donated the house that Richard Dehmel designed together with the architect Walther Baedeker. The furniture designed by Richard Dehmel, the growing archive and his library of French books were brought there. The Italian newspaper Corriere de la Sera headlined „A villa was given to the greatest German poet”. The Paris Journal wrote „He has translated the sorrows and the hopes of our time.“ A news bulletin in Reykjavik published the poem „Summer evening“ on page one, “Oh, sing, heart of Richard Dehmel” was written in Bulgaria. Dehmels lyrical oeuvre was sold in high quantity and translated into 22 languages. After his death Ida Dehmel took care of his literary remains, preserved their house and revived it with cultural events. Here she developed her idea of the multi-discipline association of female artists and patrons of the arts GEDOK. But the National Socialists put a preliminary end to her work.

After its restoration the Dehmelhouse has now revived. From spring 2018 there will be guided visits again. A small exhibition makes Richard and Ida Dehmel‘s transnational networks visible. Profound research on the history of the Dehmelhouse has been done in cooperation with the European University Viadrina. The results will be published in 2018.