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Industrialist and collector opens his 14th gallery

Reinhold Würth has converted a church for old masters

Schwabisch Hall

Old Masters assembled by German industrialist Reinhold Würth go on show next month in a deconsecrated 12th-century church in Schwäbisch Hall in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. The new gallery, which will display works by Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder among many others, is the 14th public space to be opened for the display of the Würth Collection. There are three other galleries in Germany, two galleries in Switz­erland, and one each in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Austria and Spain. A further gallery is scheduled to open in Portugal next year.

Reinhold Würth, 73, transformed his father’s wholesale screw business into a global company with a turnover of E4.6 billion in the first half of this year.

He started collecting in the 1960s and now owns about 11,000 works, most of them contemporary. His collection of late medieval art was acquired in 2003 from the Fürstenberg family in Donaue­schingen. It includes several works by Cranach the Elder such as the artist’s famous Familie des Naturmenschen, 1530, and his portraits of Martin Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora, both after 1528, the religious reformer Phillip Melan­chthon, after 1532, and Erasmus, after 1537.

The deconsecrated chapel in the town of Schwäbisch Hall has been restored and adapted as a gallery in a E3m programme by Stuttgart architect Erich Fritz. A new entrance has been attached to the church. ‘‘The gothic barrel roof had to be lifted, but we kept the original wooden beams, partly supported by steel carriers,’’ Mr Fritz said.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 195 October 2008