"Heimatschutz" and "Heimatstil", "Volkskunde" and "Volkskunst" are the key German words for the struggle for the protection of nature, building culture and customs during increasing industrialisation in the 19th and early 20th century.
The term "Heimatschutz" (cultural heritage protection) was a neologism coined by the Berlin music professor Ernst Rudorff (1840-1916). With this catchword, he was the first to capture the demand for: nature conservation, preservation of historical monuments and conservation of national and regional architecture.
The "Volkskunst" (folk art) movement also emerged along with this movement, as a reaction to modernisation and mechanisation. Rediscovered folk art symbolised the bygone "good old days" and denounced their impending loss.
"Heimatstil" (domestic revival) became established in architecture. This is a style of building that picked up on regional building traditions and developed them further.
The architect Franz Zell (1866-1961) was one of the most prominent representatives of Heimatstil. At the same time, he was a protagonist and spokesman of the folk art movement. As a founding member and key player of various associations for the cultivation and preservation of folk art in the context of the Heimatschutz movement, he was a trendsetter.
He was the author and editor of regional and national building magazines and promoted the idea of revitalising regional building traditions and folk art. With his publications, such as "Bauern-Häuser und volksthümliche Hausmalerei im Bayerischen Hochland" (Farmhouses and traditional house painting in the Bavarian highlands), he created works with numerous illustrations that became collections of ideas and models.
Zell organised and arranged cultural objects for the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum and the Deutsches Museum. In Oberammergau, he was responsible for the construction and furnishing of today’s Oberammergau Museum.
Zell is an outstanding leading figure in Heimatstil architecture and folk art. He was a sought-after consultant, supplier and designer for numerous national and regional museums. This virtual exhibition shows the diversity of Franz Zell’s work for the first time.