What Reinhold Würth has amassed during his soon 60-year-long passion for collecting ranges through about 500 years of art history – works from the late Middle Ages right up to the early years of the 21st century. Southern German Renaissance portraits can be discovered there – just like objects of courtly splendour and skilled workmanship, or a collection of charming, hand-painted posters advertising a traditional southern Italian puppet theatre (‘Opera dei Pupi’) and international Christmas nativity scenes or creative ensembles of works from Anselm Kiefer, Max Ernst, or also Christo und Jeanne-Claude.
It was with late Impressionist and Expressionist works that Reinhold Würth first discovered his penchant for collecting art. They were soon followed by examples of classic abstract art, in particular from the École de Paris, as well as figurative positions from the 1960s to 1970s. Exhibitions are a frequent source of inspiration for intensifying and consolidating his interest within the framework of the collection. So, in this way, artistic forms of expression from individual nations such as Austria, Mexico or Poland could come to the fore. Various exceptional artistic personalities such as Georg Baselitz, Fernando Botero, David Hockney or Alex Katz were also enthusiastically given space, just like sculptures of the first order impressively reflected in the work of Horst Antes, Hans Arp, Max Bill, Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley, Alfred Hrdlicka, Marc Quinn and many others.
In this way, a collection has been created which sets both universal as well as individual standards and due to the long years of its creation also suggests a personally influenced purchasing strategy. It does not reflect a systematic approach based on flashes of recognition, but rather one registering movements through association, sensitively and curiously seeking out distant climes whereby it can sometimes definitely be a joyful contradiction in itself: “As long as I can recognise a desire for expression in individual works, as well as depth and a certain strength (….), I can just as easily get enthusiastic about a collage from Hans Arp arranged according to the ‘laws of chance’ as for a segment of a circle from Max Bill or one of Pablo Picasso’s late works.”
And so the collection has a very wide horizon, its wealth is irresistible, its complexity fascinating and the collecting mindset as part of it all is still very much one of getting on with the job. Its point of departure lies in its subjective interest, but at the same time, it is associated with the legitimate aspiration to a deep understanding of social responsibility.