Anton Kippenberg, who was born in Bremen in 1874 and died in Lucerne in 1950, was world-famous as owner and managing director of the Insel publishing house in Leipzig. When still a young bookseller, he began the second great achievement of his life: his collection of Goetheana, a labour of love, which he persued for fifty years. After his death, Kippenberg’s daughters established an independent foundation for the collection in Düsseldorf. The foundation is named after Kippenberg and his wife Katharina.

No other building in Düsseldorf could be so suited to house the Anton and Katharina Kippenberg Foundation than “Schloß Jägerhof”, situated on the east side of the “Hofgarten”, the park in the heart of the modern city. The building is based on plans dating from 1748. The commission was given to the master builder Johann Josef Couven in Aachen by Palatinate Elector Carl Theodor, who probably had revised the plans to his architect. Designed in the year before Goethe was born, the building was not completed until 1772. Though Goethe did not mention it, he must have seen it 1774 during his first stay in Düsseldorf; he visited the Jacobi family in their country residence “Pempelfort”, which was at that time only a few metres away on the other side of the garden. In November 1792, when Goethe came to Pempelfort for a four- week-stay upon his return from his first campaign against the French Revolutionary Army, he made no explicit remark about “Schloß Jägerhof”, but he did praise the “neighbourhood of spacious and well-kept gardens”. Four years later, in 1796, the “Jägerhof” was plundered and wrecked by revolutionary troops; it was restored only in 1811 on the occasion of Napoleon’s visit to Düsseldorf. Adolf von Vagedes drew up the plans and supervised the reconstruction.

Apart from Goethe’s relationship with the Jacobi family there are many connections between Goethe and personalities who were either born in Düsseldorf or nearby or who lived there for a particular time, such as Wilhelm Heinse, Johann Peter Melchior, Johan Heinrich Lips, Friedrich Bury, Peter Cornelius, Heinrich Kolbe, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Ferdinand Hiller and Heinrich Heine. In view of the impressive litany, Düsseldorf certainly deserves to be mentioned - thanks to the Anton and Katharina Kippenberg Foundation - among Frankfurt and Weimar as the third place in Germany where the memory of Goethe’s life and his being is cultivated.

© Goethe Museum
Anton and Katharina Kippenberg Foundation
Schloss Jägerhof, Jacobistraße 2
40211 Düsseldorf, Telephone (0211) 899-6262, Fax: (0211) 8929144

Museum hours: 
Tuesday to Friday and Sunday 11 a. m. to 5 p. n.
Saturday 1 p. m. to 5 p. m.