Foundation KERAMION –
Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen
The KERAMION, a futuristic building designed by the Cologne-based architect Peter Neufert, was built in 1971 to offer Dr Cremer a space to exhibit his collection of modern ceramic art. It has since then become a remarkable museum that has gained considerable public attention and is internationally renowned.
The Frechen Historical Museum for Ceramics was founded in 1985 to show the centuries-old unique pottery tradition of Frechen. Mention should be made of the world-famous Bellamine jugs. In 2002, the Cremer Collection and the Historical Ceramic Museum of Frechen were merged into Foundation KERAMION. Since this time, they have been trading under the name of Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen in the distinctive building on Bonnstraße. The director of the museum is Gudrun Schmidt-Esters.
The permanent exhibition of the historical department shows a piece of the Rhenish history of ceramics: the pottery produced in Frechen is known as Pingsdorf Ware, Rhenish Stoneware, and Earthenware from the Lower Rhine. Bellamine jugs made of stoneware from the 16th to the 19th centuries and colourfully painted, lead-glazed bowls from the 18th and 19th centuries are typical of the local production. The collection includes 1,200 inventoried stoneware vessels and 250 pieces of earthenware.
Ceramics from the Cremer Collection are exhibited in rotation, shown from a specific point of view. The Cremer Collection includes approximately 5,000 unique ceramic objects by more than 500 artists from 35 countries. It offers a cross-section through the artistic ceramics mainly of the second half of the 20th century. The main focus lies on German ceramics. From vessels to free-standing sculptures, from reliefs or plates to installations, all forms are represented. This allows the visitor an extensive overview of the stylistic variety and developments of the past centuries.
In addition, special exhibitions on various topics take place on the upper floor of the museum four times a year (individual presentations of classical to experimental artists, national and international overview exhibitions, themed exhibitions concerning archaeological, historico-cultural, or current questions, competitive exhibitions with a jury).
Since the merger in 2002, the situation of the KERAMION has become very interesting: a museum has developed from the City Museum for Ceramics and the former private museum, which now has a completely new structure and raised standards.
The new name speaks for itself: the KERAMION has become a centre of ceramics from the historical past to the modern age.
In March 2002, the Cremer Collection and the Historical Ceramic Museum of Frechen were merged into Foundation KERAMION – Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen. The KERAMION is a legally responsible foundation according to civil law.
The founders are:
- Dr. Gottfried Cremer (†)
- Deutsche Steinzeug Cremer & Breuer AG
- Verein für Keramische Kunst e.V. Frechen
Additional founders are:
- Stadt Frechen
- Landschaftsverband Rheinland
- „Wirtschaft für KERAMION“:
- GEW Rheinenergie AG
- Gießharzwerk Frechen AG
- Kreissparkasse Köln
- Quarzwerke GmbH
The museum stands for tradition. It stands to represent the old pottery city of Frechen and yet goes beyond local boundaries.
The regional attachment to Frechen and the further area of the Euregio is based on the presentation of archaelogical finds of Rhenic stoneware. This historico-cultural aspect does not only attract people interested in local history but also a national and international specialist public – for instance, Bellamine jugs are exceedingly popular in Asia, as can also be seen by the large amount of fakes that have been produced.
With reference to its tradition, the Cremer Collection of the KERAMION is dedicated to showing significant post-war works. These classical ceramics receive attention throughout Europe.
The present number of visitors of the KERAMION alone is 6,000 to 8,000 per year. Due to the new structure of the museum and the extended target group, an increase is to be expected.
Due to exhibitions of artists who are currently working with clay, in a very experimental-artistic way, the group of interested people is extended to near-by Cologne, the city of art. In order to open the KERAMION even more and to confront the public with new ideas and questions, a corresponding exhibition takes place once a year.
In the so-called free art scene, artistic work with clay very often still has the reputation of being pure craftsmanship. On the other hand, more and more artists from the free art scene are discovering this material and its manifold qualities (there has, for example, been a considerable increase of exhibitions in the Cologne Museum Ludwig over the last few years!). At this point, the KERAMION does not only have the unique possiblitiy to participate in an indicated development in the art scene, but also to help shape it with a clear aim: to break open the circle of ceramic art und to make the greater audience aware of how interesting, innovative and socially relevant artistic work with clay can be.
The Cremer Collection includes approximately 5,000 unique ceramic objects by more than 500 artists from 35 countries. It shows a cross-section through the artistic ceramics mainly of the second half of the 20th century. The main focus lies on German ceramics. All famous European ceramic artists, however, have been taken into consideration. From vessels to free-standing sculptures, from reliefs or plates to installations, all forms are represented. This offers the visitor an extensive overview of the stylistic variety and developments of the past centuries.
The historical department shows a piece/feature of Rhenic ceramics history: the pottery produced in Frechen is known as Pingsdorf Ware, Rhenish Stoneware, and Earthenware from the Lower Rhine. Bellamine jugs made of stoneware from the 16th to 19th centuries and colourfully painted, lead-glazed bowls of the 18th and 19th centuries are typical specimens of the production of Frechen.
Stiftung KERAMION – Zentrum für moderne+ historische Keramik Frechen
Gudrun Schmidt-Esters M.A.
Director/ foundation executive
Tel: 0049 2234 – 69 76 90
Fax: 0049 2234 – 6 97 69 20