Palais Bellevue

Palais Bellevue, photo: Mathias Völzke

One of the few historical structures in the center of Kassel to have survived the devastation of World War II relatively unscathed, the Palais Bellevue was built in the early years of the eighteenth century for Landgrave Karl of Hesse-Kassel. It followed plans designed by the Huguenot refugee Paul du Ry, whose grandson Simon Louis du Ry would go on to build the Fridericianum. The Palais Bellevue was originally conceived as an astronomical observatory but soon after was converted into a royal residence: when a fire destroyed the majority of the city’s palace in 1811, it became the seat of Jérôme Bonaparte during his short-lived reign as the King of Westphalia. During this period, the Palais first opened its doors to Kassel’s famous native son Jacob Grimm, who worked as Jérôme’s librarian in the 1810s. After World War II, when the Neue Galerie across the street still lay in ruins, Palais Bellevue became the repository of the city’s art collection. From 1972 until 2014, it housed the Brüder-Grimm-Museum, before ceding that commemorative role to the new Grimmwelt Kassel.

Memories of violent conflict and related questions of territory shape the constellation of works inside the Palais Bellevue, with much of it confronting issues of trauma rooted in various “disasters of war.” Alternately, the palace’s eponymous beautiful view across the sprawling Auepark below, as well as the resident ghosts of two key figures of the Romantic movement, jointly bend the assembly toward an interrogation of landscape as a political project, to nature as culture.

Posted in Public Exhibition