New book on the Greater Region Saarland-Lorraine-Luxembourg-Rhineland-Palatinate-Wallonia

The Cultural Landscape of the Greater Region

This book is a sequel to the first volume "Im Reich der Mitte - Le berceau de la civilisation européenne: Savoirfaire, Savoirvivre" that was published in 2007 in the context of the cultural capital, “Luxembourg and the Greater Region.” The new book "Au Centre de l Europe - Im Reich der Mitte²" offers different points of view from writers of diverse professions and nationalities regarding the cultural landscape of the Greater Region, it presents the opinions of architectural critics, architects, artists, art historians, geographers, as well as jurists, philosophers, theologians, archeologists, writers and journalists. Their essays punctuate a photographic journey in which images and words draw the portrait of the Greater Region in the historic center of Europe.

The first European Union existed between the Meuse, the Moselle, the Saar and the Rhine rivers as far back as the Roman Empire. Indeed, it was here that Charlemagne was proclaimed Rome’s successor after the fall of the Roman Empire. He was called “Pater Europae,” the father of Europe. This honorary title was not bestowed again until after World War II, to Robert Schuman, born in the Greater Region. The center of Charlemagne’s empire, which corresponds to the Greater Region of today, was for a time the link between the zones of Roman and German influence, a coveted plaything of territorial interests.

Despite the many wars and fluctuations of frontiers, it was here that a multicultural society without equal developed in a rather modest territory.  The Greater Region consists of not less than 13 UNESCO world heritage sites, including Roman constructions, cathedrals and belfries, forts and fortified towns, an industrial complex, landscapes of cultural interest, and all that goes with them. It is not by chance that there one notes many innovative techniques and uses of materials in architecture, art, crafts and music. Since 1985 the Greater Region between the Sarre, Moselle, Rhine and Meuse rivers, has metamorphosed into a multi-centered metropolitan area with capitals such as Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, Eupen, Nancy, Metz, Trier, and Liège. They have been revived during decades of significant restoration.

The synthesis of art, crafts and industry is very significant in the Greater Region. Precious raw materials were extracted here for centuries, while vast forests and rich deposits of coal guaranteed an energy supply. Today, historic factories, modern production sites, and museums of industry and technology permit the discovery of the authentic and characteristic know-how of the Greater Region, a knowledge built throughout the centuries in a tumultuous land of borders and migrations. This multifaceted industrial culture remains today one of the principal characteristics of the Greater Region.

Ausonius, a Roman poet, long ago celebrated the art of living, so seductive, along the Moselle. The loss of heavy industry, in decline since the 1970s, allows us to discover the extent of the diversity of age-old cultural landscapes, ornamented with vineyards, castles and parks, as well as small and large towns. Here, one speaks French or German or Luxembourgish, not to mention “Platt“(Low-German), a linguistic treasure that combines francophone and germanophone elements and is recapturing its importance as a common cross-border language, notably along the frontiers.
The process of European unification permits us today to understand and recognize the Greater Region as an international space of political, historical and cultural interactions. Besides this cultural plurality, another characteristic of the Greater Region is the age old intercultural competence of its inhabitants, who are thus prepared for the Europe of the 21st century.

Translation: Myrna Walton

Contributions: Joseph Abram, Dunya Al-Ani, Johannes Becker, Mana Binz, Amina Bouderbala, Anna Bulanda-Pantalacci, François Carbon, Franz Clément, Rita Darboven, Emile Decker, Walter Delarber, Christine Dölker, Hervé Doucet, Tamara Dumkova, Serge Ecker, Willi Filz, Christian François, Herbert W. Franke, Anne Funke, Claude Gengler, Thomas Gergen, Andreas Gniffke, Diana Godard, Martin Graff, Sylvie Grimm-Hamen, Malte Helfer, Jean-Claude Juncker, Frédéric Joureau, David Kirt, Joachim Klein, Andreas Langen, Liquid Penguin Ensemble, Kai Loges, Peter Lupp, Eva Mendgen, Audrey Nominé, Dirk Peissl, Jean-Marie Pelt, Eric Pigat, Alain Poncelet, Lily Portugaels, Anja Reichert-Schick, Anke Reitz, Didier Repellin, Benz H.R. Schär, Monika Sonntag, Marcus Stölb, Thomas Ultes, Sven Uhrhan, Benoît van den Bossche, Nicolas Luc Villeroy, Claude Wall, Christian Wille, Kirstin Zeyer, Heike Ziegler-Braun, Tamay Zieske

The Art of Framing – Positions between Historicism and Expressionism

Eva Mendgen
The Art of Frame: The Example of Expressionist Masterpieces / Rahmenkunst am Beispiel expressionistischer Meisterwerke, (ed. Werner Murrer), Hartung-Gorre Verlag, Konstanz 2006, 36 S.

Introduction (Historicism)


The question of the "right” frame is, at least since the time of Wilhelm von Bode, one of the most difficult in the daily business of museums and collections. Bode was the first art historian to interpret the frame, "for general art historical and technical reasons” ["aus allgemeinen kunsthistorischen und kunsttechnischen Rücksichten”], as an essential complement to the image. In 1898, he published the first history of the picture frame in the journal "Pan". He focused on the frame’s variety of manifestations and functions since the beginnings of European panel painting. The legendary museum curator became not just a historian of frames in the service of the Old Masters, but a passionate collector. The paintings of the Berliner Gemäldegalerie, entrusted to him in 1890, had been framed in the classical style in the early 19th century, under the aegis of the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Bode saw this as a homogenization, and over the years he succeeded in furnishing parts of the collection with original frames. This was an achievement in itself, because beautiful old frames were rare even then.
Bode accepted good copies as well, but the production of those was also anything but easy. Originals were needed, and expert frame makers, familiar with the traditional techniques. According to Bode, in framing, "high art and handcraft” [»hohe Kunst und Handwerk«] had worked hand in hand for centuries. With the 19th century and the age of industrialization, everything had changed: the artists left framing increasingly, said Bode, "as an insignificant or even base thing to the artisans” ["als eine gleichgültige oder gar verächtliche Sache den Handwerkern”]. Only gold-framed pictures were admitted to official exhibitions, a rule in force from Paris to London, from Moscow to New York. The picture frame had been degraded to a mere ordering tool for mass exhibitions, and the majority of painters and frame makers to suppliers of an expanding "art industry”. In the face of this fatal trend the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry in Vienna assembled what was probably the first collection of samples of old frames – here the example of a framed painting – published, in 1892, by its director Jacob von Falke in a deluxe edition. It was supposed to set the benchmark for "carvers and frame makers” ["Schnitzer und Rahmenfabrikanten”], counteracting "fashion and dilettantism” ["Mode und Dilettantismus«]. It is worth mentioning that today the work of handpicked frame makers who pursue exclusive ideals of craftsmanship is defined by collections of historical model-samples. ...

Fotos: Cover (by Michael Hofstätter),Werner Murrer Rahmen: team and studio in Munich

For the complete English translation - including research and observations on Expressionism -  please contact