A prominent art collector, Hermann Lange was a second-generation German textile manufacturer, who began his career at his father’s silk mill, the C. Lange Seidenwarenfabrik, in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Wesphalia. An early member of the Deutscher Werkbund (1907–34; 1950–present), an association of German architects, designers, and manufacturers, Lange embraced the Werkbund-initiated reform movement, which sought to improve the aesthetic qualities of German industrial design.
While still working for his father, Lange commissioned textile patterns, known as Artists’ Silks, from German designers associated with the local Arts and Crafts movement, among them Richard Riemerschmid, Walter Leistikow, and Peter Behrens. Hermann assumed control of the company in 1919 and focused on its rapid and robust expansion. A year later he was co-owner and director of Vereinigte Seidenwebereien A.G. (Verseidag), a merger of four Krefeld textile factories, including the Lange facility.
Lange frequented art galleries in Berlin and Paris, focusing on the work of French and German avant-garde artists. By 1930 he had assembled a collection of more than 300 paintings and sculpture, among them examples of Cubist art by Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, and Pablo Picasso. He also collected the work of German artists associated with Die Brüke, Der Blaue Reiter, Der Sturm, and the Bauhaus, as well as medieval wooden sculpture and indigenous art from South America.
In 1927, together with his business partner at Verseidag, Josef Esters, Lange commissioned the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to design two adjacent residences at Wilhelmshofallee in Krefeld. Completed in 1930 with his art collection in mind, Haus Lange provided a modern setting for Lange’s extensive holdings. Lange’s heirs inherited the collection and house upon his death in 1942, and in 1955 the residence was donated to Kunstmuseen Kretfeld. It was subsequently converted into a temporary exhibition space for showing modern and contemporary art.
For more information, see
Lange, Christiane. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Lilly Reich: Furniture and Interiors. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2006.
Maruhn, Jan, and Nina Senger. “Herman Lange—Patron for Modernism.” In Ein Ort für Kunst—Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Haus Lange-Haus Esters, edited by Julian Heynen, 14–19. Krefeld: Krefelder Kunstmuseen; Ostfildern: G. Hatje, 1995.
The website of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.