Just a handful of journalists made the journey from Tel Aviv to Haifa for the opening of the Hermann Struck Museum, a humble tribute to a once well-known print artist and esteemed teacher.
Mostly forgotten in Germany, his country of origin, Hermann Struck emigrated to Haifa in 1922 and played a prominent role in the city’s social and cultural life. The small museum housed in the building Struck once inhabited serves as a fitting tribute.
Two floors of the former Struck House are given over to changing exhibitions of the artist’s works. Placed throughout the rooms are a few standing glass cabinets displaying some of Struck’s sketchbooks and etching tools, an old printing press Struck worked on and a selection of personal effects.
The majority of the works on display have been culled from the Haifa Museum of Art’s collection and that of Nathan A. Bernstein. In the future, the museum hopes to involve other private collectors and to continue coordinating with Ruthi Ofek, head curator at the Open Museum, who organized a large exhibition of Struck’s work in 2008.
Struck’s artistic legacy originates from his love of the print medium, as well as from his landscape and portrait drawings. In Berlin in 1908, he published a seminal book on the art and techniques involved in the process of etching, and passed on his knowledge to students such as Marc Chagall, Jacob Steinhardt and, when he moved to Palestine, Anna Ticho and Nahum Gutman.
Featured in the museum’s opening exhibition are portraits of Theodore Herzl and Henrik Ibsen. During Struck’s career, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde also commissioned him to paint them. Struck’s artistic legacy, however, is only part of his story, and it alone might not have warranted such a museum.