Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

On 9 May 1818 the theologian, polymath, university vice-chancellor and collector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf (1748-1824) drew up his testament in favour of the City of Cologne. His Last Will stated that his large and diverse collection was to remain “in all perpetuity” in his home town “for the benefit of the arts and sciences”. Today, 200 years later, it is time to celebrate this exceptional individual. For which reason the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum is dedicating an exhibition to the life and work of its first founder and name giver. Together with the University of Cologne and the Municipal Museum of Cologne, the museum is not only honouring Wallraf’s contribution to the city, but also inquiring into his significance today. Without his impassioned efforts during the uncertain times under French and later Prussian rule, the colourful museum scene in Cologne would not exist as we know it today. Furthermore, the exhibition casts a light on the collector from the political and cultural political angle, to arrive at a new assessment of the man himself.

In order to present Ferdinand Franz Wallraf in his many facets, Cologne's oldest museum has invited all the institutions that are connected with the original Wallraf collection to take part in “Wallraf’s Legacy”: the University and Municipal Library, the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne, The Romano-Germanic Museum, Museum Schnütgen, and the Museum of the Applied Arts. Thanks to this wide-ranging cooperation, the exhibition will be able to present a large range of paintings, drawings, works of antiquity, scientific equipment and appliances, precious books and manuscripts, sculptures, and objets d’art. In addition, contemporary depictions and reports by visitors will serve as guides when paying a “home call” to the collector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf.