8. January 2020

Obit­u­ary for Prof. Dr. Flo­ri­an Hufnagl

bay­ern design mourns the pass­ing of Flo­ri­an Huf­nagl. Between 1980 and 2014, first as a mem­ber of staff and lat­er as direc­tor, Huf­nagl left his mark on the expan­sion of Die Neue Samm­lung – The Design Muse­um in Munich. As Design Col­lec­tion Direc­tor of Neues Muse­um in Nurem­berg and in oth­er roles, he con­tributed sub­stan­tial­ly to the inter­lac­ing of design, art and the cor­po­rate sec­tor in Bavaria.

A stu­dent of fine arts, clas­si­cal arche­ol­o­gy and ear­ly mod­ern his­to­ry in Munich, Huf­nagl attained his doc­tor­al degree in 1976. His the­sis dealt with the life and work of archi­tect Got­tfried Neureuther. Huf­nagl went on to orga­nize exhi­bi­tions and write pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing on the sub­ject of Leo von Klen­ze. He also worked for the Bavar­i­an State Office for the Preser­va­tion of His­tor­i­cal Monuments.

In 1980, Huf­nagl accept­ed the posi­tion of muse­um cura­tor at Die Neue Samm­lung – The Design Muse­um and in his 34 years there he trans­formed this state-owned muse­um of applied art, one of the world’s old­est and largest design muse­ums, into a lead­ing glob­al insti­tu­tion. Die Neue Samm­lung – The Design Muse­um was estab­lished at Pinakothek der Mod­erne in 2002 after it expand­ed in 2000 to include the field of design with the found­ing of Neues Muse­um. To a large extent, the glob­al accep­tance and pop­u­lar­i­ty of the two hous­es is due to the exhi­bi­tions bear­ing Hufnagl’s signature.

Huf­nagl played a deci­sive role in the design and appoint­ment of Pinakothek der Mod­erne and he shaped the con­struc­tion of Neues Muse­um with com­pe­tence and verve guid­ed by his expert knowledge.

Dur­ing this found­ing peri­od, the Bavar­i­an cen­ter of design com­pe­tence, bay­ern design, also found a per­ma­nent home under the roof of Neues Muse­um. The exhi­bi­tions, col­lec­tions and events staged by the two insti­tu­tions have since been a source of inspi­ra­tion to experts and the gen­er­al pub­lic alike.

With his selec­tion of exhi­bi­tion themes, his par­tic­i­pa­tion in numer­ous juries and diverse part­ner­ships in Ger­many and abroad as far reach­ing as the Asian-Pacif­ic region, Huf­nagl helped strength­en the world­wide net­work of his house, Pinakothek der Mod­erne and Neues Muse­um; he also man­aged to raise and strength­en aware­ness of applied art, crafts­man­ship and design mat­ters in large seg­ments of society.

Huf­nagl was a long-stand­ing mem­ber of the jury for the Bavar­i­an State Prize for Young Design­ers and in 2010 and 2012 he was its chair. He also played an active role on the advi­so­ry pan­el for Munich Cre­ative Busi­ness Week (MCBW), the largest event of its kind in Ger­many, which was first held in 2012.

From 1998 to 2013, Huf­nagl was Pres­i­dent of the Direc­tors’ Con­fer­ence of the State Muse­ums and Col­lec­tions in Bavaria.

In 1980, Huf­nagl became a lec­tur­er on 19th and 20th cen­tu­ry art at the Depart­ment of Art His­to­ry at Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität in Munich and in 1997 he received an hon­orary pro­fes­sor­ship from the Acad­e­my of Fine Arts Munich.

Huf­nagl was hon­ored with the title of Com­man­der of the Order of the Star of Ital­ian Sol­i­dar­i­ty and held a 1st Class Order of Mer­it from the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. On July 13, 2016, Huf­nagl was award­ed the Bavar­i­an Order of Mer­it at the Res­i­denz in Munich by Min­is­ter Pres­i­dent Horst Seehofer.

Flo­ri­an Huf­nagl died at the age of 72.