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Arnold Bode

picture: Arnold Bode; © documenta Archive

Arnold Bode was born on 23 December 1900 in Kassel, Germany. He worked in Berlin from 1928 to 1933 as a painter and university lecturer, but was forced to leave the city when he was banned from his profession by the Nazis. Following his return to his home town of Kassel after the war, Bode realized the first "documenta” exhibition in 1955. The exhibition, featuring a broad overview of 20 th century art with new forms of presentation using large spaces, was an unprecedented success. Bode served three more times as the director of the exhibition through documenta 4. With this "Museum of 100 Days”, Bode created one of the world’s most distinctive cultural institutions, which has been continued without interruption until the present day. Following numerous awards for outstanding service in the field of contemporary art, Bode, architect, painter, designer and curator, received the "große Verdienstkreuz" (Great Merit Cross)in 1974. He died on 3 October 1977. The bulk of the material in the Arnold Bode Bequest, which includes photos, catalogues, written records, planning papers, diaries, official documents and awards, comes from the 1960s and particularly the 1970s. An appointment may be made to view material in the Arnold Bode Bequest.

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