Everything started with a poster: Really, in the late 1970s, Kurt and Lilly Ernsting went to the Bavarian Forest for wandering. A look at a poster with glass objects didn’t make any rivalry to the initial intention. Without guessing the consequences of this visit they saw a glass exhibition. Spontaneously, both found that they were not only curious and interested about this special direction of art. It was a special spark that jumped on both while looking at the vases, bowls and also sculptures.
Lilly Ernsting purchased her first object – a bowl from the artist Willi Pastor, followed by further glass objects. At the beginning of the 1990s she looked at a considerable glass collection. The desire to display them and to share the joy in glass with others became stronger. She found a perfect place of exhibition in the Alten Hof Herding that she purchased together with her husband in the 1970s and saved before demolition. Kurt and Lilly Ernsting thus opened the glass museum Alter Hof Herding in Coesfeld-Lette 20 years ago.
A lot of things have happened in the two decades: 79 exhibitions displayed the art from glass of artists, students and pupils from Europe, many trips to exhibitions, trade fairs and artists studios in Germany and abroad and many glass objects (until now 1,822) found their home in the appreciable glass collection worth seeing in the museum. In this process the maxim is emphasized to collect current and contemporary glass only. Not looking backward, but forward is heeded until now in the work of the museum and its core task of collection.
On its birthday the glass museum presents a big anniversary exhibition with an extensive catalog. The new acquisitions of the last 10 years are being shown and published, that means from 2006 to 2015. The glass objects from 1996 to 2005 have already been published. The works of art from the first decade are accessible in the threshing floor at Alten Hof Herding and in the glass depot Höltinghof. The glass depot with its display in the neighboring Höltinghof is also celebrating birthday. Kurt and Lilly Ernsting inaugurated this second establishment in 2006 to promote the art of glass which is still unique in Germany.
It has become a life’s work from an accidental encounter. Starting with a moderate number of works of art from glass Lilly Ernsting started explaining more and more with artistic glass. Today she is looking at an established glass museum involving a sound glass collection.
Katharine Coleman, Small Light Blue Haeckel Bowl, 2014 – Photo Katharine Coleman
Karen Lise Krabbe, Blind Boxes for NoThing, 2012 – Photo Enok Holsegaard
Karlie Sears, Pale Cluster, 2009 – Photo Horst Kolberg
Michael Behrens, Underwater-World 100-08, 2008 – Photo Paul Niessen