Willi Baumeister's collection of ancient and nonwestern material culture contains around 250 objects. Astonishing is the collection's breadth in terms of cultural regions and time periods, but also in light of its figures, masks, and other artifacts' variety of functional and handicraft.
The different parts of the collection were a source of inspiration for him, from which he made his art. He stressed that the old myths of the entire Near East take on a particular role in which the primordial energies of life are given expression that contemporary humans can understand.
Rescued from Destruction
Baumeister began the collection at the end of the 1920s and completed it between 1940 and 1943. This unique evidence of an artist's collection fortunately survived the wartime, because Baumeister gradually took the objects in suitcases from Stuttgart to Urach, where he fled from bombed-out Stuttgart in 1943. In Stuttgart he also initially had to share the half destroyed house with members of the SS ( Schutzstaffel = Blackshirts), who had seized part of the residence, until the SS seized the entire residence some time later.