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Arnold Bode

Arnold Bode was born on 23 December 1900 in Kassel, Germany. He worked from 1928 to 1933 in Berlin as a painter and a university lecturer, but was forced to leave after being banned from his profession by the Nazis. After returning to his home town, Bode realized the first "documenta", which was an unprecedented success as a survey exhibition of the art of the 20th century featuring innovative new forms of presentation.

Three more times he was responsible for documenta exhibitions up until the fourth documenta. With this "Museum of 100 Days", Bode established one of the art world's most distinctive cultural institutions, which continues to be staged until the present day.   After receiving numerous awards for exceptional services and contributions to contemporary art, Arnold Bode, architect, painter, designer and exhibition organizer, was given the  Grand Cross of Merit in 1974 . He died on 3 October 1977. The bulk of the material in the Arnold Bode Bequest, which includes photos, catalogs, written records, planning papers, diaries, official documents and awards, comes from the 1960s and particularly the 1970s.  

In the coming years, the documenta Archive will digitize the fragile treasures of the Bode Bequest and make them available to interested members of the public via the Archive's website. An appointment may be made to view the materials in person at Dock 4.

; © documenta Archiv, Floris M. Neusüss

And how is it that Bode came up with the documenta and with the idea of such an exhibition?

Dirk Schwarze's article 'The Roots of an Exhibition Idea - Arnold Bode, Kassel and the documenta' from the book "Kassel in der Moderne" can be read here. 

The article provides a compact introduction to Arnold Bode the man and to his extensive accomplishments, focusing on the origins of the documenta. Our grateful thanks at this juncture to the author Dirk Schwarze.

Attention: As our website is under permanent construction, please have a look at our German version of this page as well.
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