Maximilian Speck von Sternburg Foundation
The MdbK preserves the extensive collection of the Leipzig merchant Maximilian Freiherr Speck von Sternburg (1776-1856), which he assembled on his estate in Lützschena near Leipzig. It includes more than 200 paintings, numerous drawings and works of graphic art as well as a library. In 1996, the heirs transferred this art collection, which is closely linked to Leipzig, to a foundation, which has since ensured the continuity of the collection in the rooms of the MdbK.
At the age of thirty, the aspiring merchant Maximilian Speck began to build up an art collection. On his extensive business trips, which took him all over Europe from 1800 onwards, he visited galleries, museums and art academies as well as trading partners. The enthusiastic art observer became a passionate collector of works of art. His extensive collection was initially on display in his town house "Specks Hof" and since 1834 in Lützschena near Leipzig. There he had acquired a manor in 1822, which he extended and converted. An agricultural model estate, specialising in sheep breeding, a brewery and brickworks were among his businesses.
Maximilian Speck was born in Gröba near Riesa in modest circumstances. He received his first education from Pastor Friedrich Gottlob Stephanie in Beucha near Leipzig. Due to his good educational background, the young man obtained the position of a correspondent for French and English at the Bavarian Wool Shop in Leipzig at the age of 20. His prudence and skill earned him the trust of the owner, who eventually made him a partner in his trading house. In this position Speck also founded various branches.
Maximilian developed from a large merchant into a pioneer of rational agriculture and livestock breeding, founded model farms with selected pedigree animals, resisted the Continental Blockade by producing Saxon "electoral wool" and had such a lasting effect on the economic development in Central Europe with lectures and writings that Tsar Alexander I invited him to Russia in 1825 to work on the agricultural development of his empire. Raised to the rank of knight, Maximilian Ritter von Speck returned to Germany, only to be appointed a few years later by King Ludwig I to "promote economic conditions" in Bavaria. For his services to Bavarian agriculture, Speck was raised to the hereditary baronial rank of Royal Bavarian Baron von Sternburg in 1829.
The Speck von Sternburg Collection comprises 202 paintings, 126 drawings, more than 500 prints and an outstanding collection of illustrated books and art literature. The works were created over a period from the 14th to the 19th century. The Sternburg Collection is one of the MdbK's most important holdings. Among them are masterpieces by Francesco Francia,Bestandsgruppen des MdbK. Darunter befinden sich Meisterwerke von Francesco Francia, Cima da Conegliano, Lucas Cranach d.Ä., Pieter de Hooch, Peter Paul Rubens, Caspar David Friedrich und Johan Christian Dahl.
You will find an overview and more detailed information in the online collection...
On his numerous journeys through Europe, Maximilian Speck visited the most important art collections on the continent and collected in the style of princely representation himself. He acquired paintings by German, Dutch, Italian, French and Spanish masters from famous collections in Vienna, Rome or Brussels. From 1822 onwards, he presented the collection at his Lützschena estate near Leipzig in a much-visited gallery. Guest books mention not only the names of Leipzig merchants and publishers, such as Teubner, Schletter, Volkmann, Weithas or Boerner, but also those of the director of the city library Robert Naumann, the archaeologist Gustav Seyffarth, the painters Ludwig Richter or Gustav Adolph Hennig as well as the composers Albert Lortzing and Robert Schumann.
As a co-founder of the Leipzig Art Society, Maximilian Speck von Sternburg not only made generous donations to the Städtisches Museum, which was then still located in the Bürgerschule on the Moritzbastei, but also stipulated in his will that his art holdings be taken over by the City of Leipzig if one day there were no male heirs left. However, this decree was rendered obsolete by the abolition of majorate succession in the Weimar Republic. However, the family kept the art collection together in Lützschena Castle near Leipzig until the end of the war in 1945. Through the foundation that exists today, the founder's wish was basically fulfilled and respected.
Despite political upheavals, wars, sales and donations, thanks to the testamentary dispositions of Maximilian Speck von Sternburg and his descendants, one of the few Saxon private collections was kept together in large parts in Lützschena until 1945. In November 1945, 210 paintings, several hundred drawings and graphics as well as the valuable library were transferred to the MdbK. After 1990, the heirs succeeded in finding a solution for the preservation and public presentation of the collection after several years of negotiations with the City of Leipzig and the Free State of Saxony. On 12 November 1996, the Maximilian Speck von Sternburg Foundation was established.
The purpose of the Foundation is to preserve, conserve and research the private collection of Maximilian Freiherr Speck von Sternburg and his heirs in its unity as an important collection of paintings by a Leipzig citizen and patron of the arts in the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, and to make it accessible to the public in a suitable manner in the interest of promoting education. The Foundation also promotes the interests of the mdbK to the extent that it serves the purpose of the Foundation and the museum as the home of the collection. The Foundation also supports research into the history of other art collections in 19th century Leipzig and promotes young art historians.
Board of Trustees
Wolf-Dietrich Freiherr Speck von Sternburg, Munich / Leipzig (President and Chairman)
Dr. Skadi Jennicke, Mayor and Councillor for Culture of the City of Leipzig (Deputy Chair)
Dr. Stefan Weppelmann, Director Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (Executive Board)
Hans-Henning Freiherr von Bischoffshausen (Treasurer)
Dirk Burghardt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Judith Freiin Speck von Sternburg, Frankfurt/Main
Prof. Dr. Frank Zöllner, University of Leipzig
A film by Andreas Clarysse about history and present of the Maximilian Speck von Sternburg Foundation
Art and Music
This monumental sculpture, which Klinger worked on for almost ten years, is his artistic legacy. Today it is considered an undisputed major work of German polychrome sculpture. In fact, it is the colourfulness of the different types of marble as well as the multitude of different materials that make the work stand out and stand out.
Klinger attributed a poetic-musical spirit to the material of his works of art and thus elevated music to the sister art of the fine arts - this is demonstrated in a special way with the Beethoven. Joseph Lux, who reviewed the exhibition of the work in Vienna, wrote about it that no "sheet of music, no lectern, no lyre [indicated] the musician", but everything was "calculated to be to the musical expression what Beethoven's compositions are to the eye: Visible music." (Joseph August Lux, Klinger's Beethoven und die moderne Raum-Kunst, in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, vol. 10, Jg. 1902, p. 476).