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Kalnein, Wend von

    Full Name: Kalnein, Wend von

    Other Names:

    • Karl Wend Graf von Kalnein

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1914

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), French (culture or style), museums (institutions), and sculpture (visual works)

    Career(s): directors (administrators) and museum directors

    Institution(s): Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel


    Art museum director, wrote Pelican History of Art volume on French architecture. Karl Wend Graf von Kalnein was born the son of Karl Erhard von Kalnein (1873-1914) and Erna Countess von der Recke in Wald im Pinzgau (Austria). His father was killed the same year in the First World War and the family subsequently moved to Wald im Pinzgau, Austria, where he was raised. Kalnein attended the Maximiliansgymnasium in Munich beginning in 1929, receiving his abitur in 1932. After initially studying law, he switched to art history and archaeology at Bonn in 1935, graduating in 1939. Kalnein served as an officer in the German army (Wehrmacht) assigned to art protection in France, Russia, Germany and Romania, the latter of which advising the Romanian army. Captured by the Soviet army he spent his POW internment as an administrative advisor to Soviet Georgia overseeing industrialization of the region. In 1949 Kalnein acted as an interpreter for German prisoners for war crimes trials. His knowledge of the Georgian language led to suspicion and eventual arrest as a spy. In 1950 he was released to his native Austria. He returned to Bonn to pursue his doctorate in art history, granted in 1953. He joined the Margravial Badische collections in Salem. Moving to a directorship of the Zähringer Museum in Baden-Baden in 1957. He married Livia von Thielmann in 1959 and later the director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kassel, Germany. In 1964 the city of Düsseldorf appointed new directors to their art facilities, Kalnein to the Städtisches Kunstmuseums, and Werner Schmalenbach as Generaldirektor of the Düsseldorfer Kunstsammlungen. Kalnein remained at Düsseldorf until 1979. His tenure there included co-authoring with Michael Levey the volume in the Pelican History of Art on eighteenth-century French art, published 1973. In 1995 he updated and expanded his portion of the book which was reissued separtely by Yale University Press as Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century. Kalnein retire to Seekirchen in Austria. In 1979 he received an honorary degree in art history at the University of Salzburg. His son, Albrecht (Graf) von Kalnein was an historian at Mainz.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation] Das kurfürstliche Schloss Clemensruhe in Poppelsdorf: Ein Beitr. zu d. deutsch-franz. Beziehungen im 18. Jahrhundert. Bonn, 1953,  published, Düsseldorf:  Schwann, 1956; and Levey, Michael. Art and Architecture of the Eighteenth Century in France. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books 1972; Die Düsseldorfer Malerschule: Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, 13. Mai – 8. Juli 1979.  Mainz: Von Zabern, 1979;  Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995; Georgisches Tagebuch: fünf Jahre kriegsgefangen im Kaukasus. Osnabrück: Fibre, 2003.


    Düsseldorfer Stadtchronik 2.1.1964; Georgisches Tagebuch (see above);  Lehmann, Jürgen M. “Biographien der wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiter am Hessischen Landesmuseum Kassel 1913–1988. Kunst in Hessen und am Mittelrhein 28, 1988, p. 161.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Kalnein, Wend von." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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