Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt

A Master Pastry-Maker with a Collecting Pastime


This collection for presentation in the new exhibition "Collectors and Donors of Frankfurt" is not entirely unknown to the Frankfurters of the present. "Prehn's Art Cabinet" already attracted
many interested museum-goers in the 1980s and 1990s. Its new installation is carried out according to the most recent scholarly findings.


Over the course of several decades, the wealthy master confectioner Johann Valentin Prehn of Frankfurt (1749–1821) amassed a universal collection encompassing not only art but also natural objects and ethnographic rarities. Within his holdings, however, centre stage was taken by the "Little Painting Cabinet", comprising more than eight hundred miniature paintings which Prehn arranged artfully in thirty-two hinged crate-like structures called "Laden".


Prehn lived on the Zeil, Frankfurt's most prestigious boulevard at the time, in the vicinity of his friends Johann Ludwig Ernst and Johann Friedrich Morgenstern, collector Johann Friedrich Daems and art critic Heinrich Sebastian Hüsgen. The new exhibition presents eight of the display "Laden" with altogether approximately 160 paintings at any given time, and visitor groups will be able to view the remaining miniatures within the framework of a guided tour. 



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Tableau 6 of the Prehn painting cabinet (c) hmf, photo: U. Seitz-Gray

Tableau 6 of the Prehn painting cabinet (c) hmf, photo: U. Seitz-Gray