The Städelschule dates back to an endowment made by the Frankfurt citizen Johann Friedrich Städel. In his last will and testament he left the Städel Institute of Art his art collection and estate in 1815. Städel provided for lessons “in architecture and those sciences included in the subject of art”. This became possible from 1817 in the form of bursaries coming out of his estate.
The intention was to support young people with an interest in learning art, irrespective of their gender, religion or social background. Johann Friedrich Städel did not limit this education to the Frankfurt area; students were also able to study abroad in order to “be educated to become valuable and useful citizens and artists”.
An initiative of the Städelschule’s Friends’ Association (Förderverein), the publication Städelschule Frankfurt am Main. Aus der Geschichte einer deutschen Kunsthochschule (1982) looks back on and appraises the Städelschule’s eventful past.
Die Städelschule Frankfurt am Main von 1817 bis 1995 by Hubert Salden was published in 1995. It examines the Städelschule’s artistic history.
The recent past of the Städelschule has been shaped by its Rectors: Raimer Jochims, Peter Kubelka, Kasper King, Daniel Birnbaum, Nikolaus Hirsch and Philippe Pirotte.
Under the management of Raimer Jochims, a constitution was formulated in the 1970s that allowed for the involvement of professors, staff and students. It continues to this day.
Peter Kubelka introduced film and cookery classes at the Städelschule, thus establishing a tradition that is maintained to this day in the ‘film kitchen’ run by students and in the Städelschule’s refectory.
Kasper König was the first curator to be appointed to run the school, at the suggestion of Peter Kubelka und Thomas Bayrle. König appointed Christa Näher to be professor of painting. In 1987 he set up Portikus and created a class for interdisciplinary art and the Institute of New Media with Peter Weibel.
Daniel Birnbaum made the Städelschule a firm fixture in international networks of contemporary art. During his time as Rector, Judith Hopf, Simon Starling and Willem de Rooij were appointed professors at the Städelschule.
Nikolaus Hirsch developed long-term strategies to safeguard the Städelschule’s future. He appointed Peter Fischli and Amy Sillman to the faculty.
Philippe Pirotte is maintaining these ideas and firmly positioning the Städelschule in current global discourses, with the students’ future firmly in mind. Haegue Yang was appointed professor at the Städelschule in the winter semester of 2017.