• Ahlers Pro Arte Foundation gGmbH, Am Kindergarten 2, Herford



The Ahlers Pro Arte Foundation is a non-profit organisation (gemeinnützige GmbH) founded in 1995 in Herford by the textile manufacturer Jan A. Ahlers († 2013), together with his daughter, Dr. Stella A. Ahlers. The foundation supports fine art, literature and music. Its principle task is researching and producing academic documentation of the influence of German expressionism on the development of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


In 2005, the foundation moved to Warmbüchenstraße 16 in Hanover. The building was of particular historical interest as it had been home to the Kestnergesellschaft between 1948 and 1997. For decades, this had been an influential means of distributing and responding to contemporary art in German-speaking countries. The Ahlers Pro Arte Foundation continued this tradition with a series of exhibitions, lectures and musical evenings.


In autumn 2016, the foundation moved from Hanover to Herford. However, this did not signal any change in its focus or future goals. In December 2016, two lecture events marked the foundation’s Herford debut. September 2017 saw the opening of its first exhibition in the new location: Face and Mask: Role Play in Portraiture. (For more information, see EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS.)


The foundation also works to build up its own collection of art. In line with its mission, the foundation’s main interests lie both in German expressionism and in the influential artistic trends that have developed in Europe in the wake of the Second World War, which still maintain traces of their expressionist heritage. (For more on this topic, see AHLERS COLLECTION.)


Originally based in Hanover, the foundation’s artworks are now showcased both in Herford and in many other locations. Of particular importance is the longstanding partnership with the Franz Marc Museum in Kochel am See and the Sprengel Museum in Hanover. In addition, the foundation loans works to support countless exhibitions and projects, both in Germany and abroad. (For more information, see COOPERATIONS.)

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