In addition to its permanent collections of the works of Ernst Geitlinger and Edwin Scharff, who was born in Neu-Ulm and gives his name to the museum, the museum regularly puts on different special exhibitions.
Our emphasis is on the art of the Classic Modernism period, i.e. from the end of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. From time to time we also take a look at contemporary art. In line with Scharff’s artistic work, the museum places a special emphasis on sculpture. The career of Scharff as painter and sculptor, from distinguished professor of sculpture to ‘degenerate’ artist is representative of the fate of countless artists between the two world wars.
By presenting 50 works by Ernst Geitlinger, the painter and professor of art at the Munich Art Academy, we contrast Scharff the sculptor with a painter of about his own age, who unlike Scharff, did not remain committed to figurative art. On the contrary, he dared to make the great leap forward in the art of the 20th century: from figuration to abstraction.
Our museum is founded on the bequest of the painter, graphic artist and sculptor Edwin Scharff (1887–1955) who was born in Neu-Ulm. The museum provides a broad outline of his oeuvre and significance, placing him in the context of contemporaries such as Käthe Kollwitz, Ernst Barlach and Georg Kolbe. Scharff is regarded as one of the most important German sculptors of the first half of the 20th century. He was particularly well-known and successful during his Berlin years (1923–1932).
The museum houses a large part of the bequest of Ernst Geitlinger (1895–1972) which was bequeathed to us by the Ernst Geitlinger Society. A permanent exhibition is devoted to this artist, who enjoyed experimenting with different techniques in his paintings and sculptures and was also a professor at the Munich Academy. He is now regarded as a pioneer of German abstract and non-figurative art.
The exhibition presents one of the famous sculptress of the 1920s: She was said to be the face of the Weimar Republic and with her bobbed hair an idol of the “new woman”. With her small animal sculptures and her formal language, characterised by an impressionistic flicker of the surface design, she gains a reputation on a national and international level.