Recklinghausen Art Gallery
Recklinghausen Art Gallery

Recklinghausen Art Gallery: Complete new beginning after ‘Hour Zero’

You may already know of the Recklinghausen Art Gallery because every year, the art exhibition that accompanies the Recklinghausen Ruhr Festival can be seen there. However, the theatre festival and the exhibition house are not only spatially linked. Their histories are also the same, primarily to do with the turmoil of the Second World War. Theatre professionals from Hamburg plagued by the cold in the icy winter of 1946/47 swapped ‘Art for Coal’ with miners from Recklinghausen due to the fact that there was a large hole left in the municipal collections after the war due to the destruction and the Nazi seizures of modern art.

Everything started for the Recklinghausen Art Gallery in the former high-rise bunker

The idea to use the empty high-rise bunker diagonally opposite the main railway station in the post-war years for exhibition purposes was as temporary as symbolic. In the meantime an institution grew out of the temporary solution: Exhibitions in the Recklinghausen Art Gallery have supplemented the arts displayed at the Ruhr Festival every year since 1947 with visual arts. Aside from the theatre festival, the exhibition house defines the city’s art scene: Across three floors, you can see regularly changed exhibitions of post-war and contemporary art. When visiting the Recklinghausen Art Gallery, you will often notice how closely the works exhibited are connected to the history of the building.

The group of artists ‘junger westen’ was founded in Recklinghausen

Franz Große-Perdekamp – manager of the Local History Museum in Recklinghausen in the period after the Second World War – at the time created the stimulus for art works in the region. Soon there was new and forward-looking art from Germany to see: He suggested that a group of young artists from the surrounding area join forces. At the centre of the group, which was henceforth known as the ‘junger westen’, were Gustav Deppe and Thomas Grochowiak, Emil Schumacher, Hans Werdehausen and Ernst Hermanns.

Abstract, contemporary and room-related art in the Recklinghausen Art Gallery

The abstract art of the ‘junger westen’ group of artists conveyed the former life of the industrial space in a way which was unparalleled. In memory of the group of artists, every two years, the ‘junger westen’ art prize has been awarded to young artists in Recklinghausen since 1948. Exhibiting the works of the winners has always been a labour of love for Recklinghausen Art Gallery. Regardless of the art’s themes after 1945 and the many different contemporary trends. This compares with the space-related works of artists of international renown, such as Per Kirkeby, Jannis Kounellis, Tadashi Kawamata, Ayse Erkmen and Guillaume Bijl.

The Recklinghausen Art Gallery is part of the RuhrKunstMuseen.

Important information at a glance

Kunsthalle Recklinghausen (Recklinghausen Art Gallery)
Große-Perdekamp-Strasse 25-27
45657 Recklinghausen
Tel.: +49 2361 501935
E-mail: info(at)

You will find opening times and entry prices here.

The Recklinghausen Art Gallery is part of the RuhrKunstMuseen.