Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur -  Mantz_Schmölz
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Hugo Schmölz: Bickendorfer Lebensmittelhaus, Venloer Straße Ecke Akazienweg, Köln-Bickendorf, 1929; Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur / Dauerleihgabe GAG Immobilien AG, Köln

A Look at the Collection:
Hugo Schmölz and Werner Mantz – Residential Buildings in Cologne in 1920s and 1930s

An exhibition of the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur (Room 2)

September 11, 2015 – January 24, 2016

One of the speciality areas of photographer Hugo Schmölz (1879 Sonthofen – 1938
Cologne) and Werner Mantz (1901 Cologne – 1983 Eijsden) was the technically very
demanding field of architectural photography. The outstanding shots of these two
photographers, which followed formal and aesthetically clear principles, were responsible
for their success. As visual mediators and interpreters of contemporary buildings, they
sought to combine the reality of what they saw with the vision of their clients. The images
the two photographers produced as a way of documenting and archiving the building
projects were intended to be true to reality, contemporary and promotionally effective.

One of their key clients was Kölner Gemeinützige AG für Wohnungsbau (Cologne nonprofit organisation for residential buildings), known today as GAG Immobilien AG. Founded
in 1913, the aim was to meet the rising demand for affordable and practical living space in
Cologne. Due to the immediate outbreak of World War I soon afterwards, initially only the
first section of the small-apartment housing estate was able to be completed in Cologne-
Bickendorf. But from 1919 onwards, renewed building activity led to construction of the
“Nibelungen Siedlung” in Cologne-Mauenheim and the “Milchmädchensiedlung” in the
suburb of Poll. In the 1920s, building projects in several different suburbs followed, such as
the “Germania Siedlung” in Höhenberg, the “Grüne Hof” in Mauenheim, the “Rosenhof-
Siedlung” in Bickendorf, the “Blue Court” in Kalkerfeld or current-day Buchforst, the
buildings in Ehrenfeld, the “Siedlung Amsterdamer Straße” in Niehl, the “Naumann
Siedlung” in Riehl, the development of Zollstock as a suburb and the “Neues Bauen”
(“International Style”) showcase project, the “Weiße Stadt” in Kalkerfeld, today Buchforst.

Hugo Schmölz and Werner Mantz produced comprehensive photographic documentation of
what were considered to be ultra-modern housing estates at that time. Their photographs
now provide crucial evidence of an important chapter in the urban and architectural history
of Cologne. For as a result of all the destruction caused by the Second World War,
subsequent renovation or demolition work, these photos are in some cases the only
remaining proof of a bygone era.

In July 2014 the current property company, GAG Immobilien AG, handed over its historic
photographic stock, and the works of Hugo Schmölz and Werner Mantz in particular, to the
Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur on permanent loan. This handover of a total
of around 1500 works was prompted by a desire for conservation and preservation of the
historic material within the collection stock of the SK Stiftung Kultur which already houses
work of similar significance by August Sander, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Ruth Hallensleben
and Bernd and Hilla Becher.

An initial presentation of about 100 photographs of the total set will occur in this first
exhibition in the exhibition rooms of Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur.

An accompanying booklet has been produced for this exhibition to provide an insight into the
overall collection of Hugo Schmölz and Werner Mantz works (German/English). Price: €3

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Köln,
Tel.: 0221/88895300, photographie@sk-kultur.de

In order to avert health risks from Covid-19 as far as possible, we have set up online ticketing for you. At www.sk-kultur.de you can book tickets for visiting the exhibition and taking part in the Sunday tours (3 p.m. each time). The number of visitors and participants is limited, we ask you to take the necessary infection protection measures (protective mask and minimum distance) into account. Thank you.

We look forward to your registration!


On Tour:

Boris Becker – Bunkers
Photographs of Architectures and Artefacts

Saarlandmuseum, Moderne Galerie, Saarbrücken

July 18, 2020 – January 31, 2021