Non-european cultures

„Our art collections represent the tangible outcome of our travels.“
Marianne Langen

Viktor and Marianne Langen not only collected twentieth-century painting and Japanese art; they also acquired objects from numerous non-European cultures. Their collection for instance includes over 100 Buddhist sculptures from India, Cambodia, and Thailand, as well as more than 130 pre-Columbian art objects. This is augmented by smaller groups of Chinese, Korean, African, Oceanic, Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Persian art.

The inspiration to buy objects from foreign cultures came about while Viktor and Marianne Langen were on extended trips overseas, which took them to other countries, often for weeks at a time. Long before tourism had invaded these more remote regions of the world, this married couple from the Rhineland visited Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Peru, Mexico, and China. From the outset, travel took on just as pivotal of a meaning in the life of Viktor and Marianne Langen as art did, and their passion for travel was directly coupled with their passion for collecting. Their art collections – “the tangible outcome of our travels”, as Marianne Langen noted – may be considered an expression of their need to discover and understand the world by way of art.

A selection of 60 sculptures from the collection was exhibited in 2005 in Cologne under the title Buddhisten – Jainas – Hindus (Buddhists – Jainas – Hindus) at Cologne’s Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum for Ethnology. A representative overview of the segments of the collection that originate in non-European cultures was offered by the exhibition Homage to Marianne Langen at the Langen Foundation.