Obituary for Prof. Dr. Florian Hufnagl
09. January 2020
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.