The title, contents, and arrangement of this selection was stipulated before his death by Hermann Jünger himself – together with Florian Hufnagl, who at that time was the Director of the Collections at the Neue Sammlung in Munich – for his large, monographic one-man-show, which was then shown posthumously in its entirety at the Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum in Munich in 2006. And now, ten years later, the exhibition will be presented in Hanau, where he was born, in an updated, slightly modified, and condensed form appropriate for the rooms of the German Goldsmiths’ House.
Nevertheless, this is not an anniversary celebration for Hermann Jünger, not a birth or death date centennial. But his work is returning to his starting point in a comprehensive retrospect – not accidentally coincidental with the 75th anniversary of the German Goldsmiths’ House and parallel to the 85th anniversary of the Society for Goldsmiths’ Art.
Hermann Jünger is considered to be one of the legendary pioneers and initiators of international art jewelry. To his credit are aesthetic positions and directional standards. As a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, he successfully garnered not only international recognition for his professorial chair and his material, but also to establish it as a center for exchange and education, for artistic discussion on jewelry. Thus, the foundation was laid for continuing decisive developments under his successor, Otto Künzli, and the current professor, Karin Pontoppidan.
Jünger was born in Hanau. His youth at the Staatliche Zeichenakademie and his early experiences during the post-war years characterized his first attempts. Because of a lack of tools and materials, as a student he sought inspiration through contacts with contemporary trends in painting. Herein lay the roots for his pronounced pictorial way of thinking in the composition of jewelry, which never left him, rather was deepened, varied, cultivated, and underlined in the progress of his work, both systematically and programmatically. One could possibly say that Hermann Jünger introduced the picture, the symbol, the painterly gesture into jewelry. In economical but striking statements, he declared jewelry to be an artistic act; he underlined affinities and common qualities of art and jewelry.
Therefore, Jünger’s cosmos also considered the meaning and the aesthetic significance of adjacent factors and fields, such as found items, sketches, and writing. In our exhibition, these aspects can only be granted co-determination in a limited form. However, the found pieces are included. With these in particular, the casually discovered and collected “objets trouvés,” Jünger complemented and completed his arrangements. The self-evidently imbedded, “debased” objects together with highly sensitive and well-balanced jewelry works produce an impressive portrait of a great master. The exhibition came about with the co-operation of Ellen Maurer Zilioli, Anet and Ike Jünger.