The Sculpture Park Waldfrieden is situated in the midst of an idyllic forested area in the hills above the Elberfeld and Barmen districts of Wuppertal. Mature deciduous trees line the serpentine road leading to the park, and several works by the British sculptor Tony Cragg can be spotted along the embankments of the entrance approach.
Old deciduous trees such as chestnut, linden, robinia, maple, larch, oak and beech define the character of the park with a contrast being created by the red foliage of copper beeches and purple-leaf plum trees. A giant sequoia stands at the entrance while weeping beeches, Japanese maples and ginkgos surround the villa.
In spring, the star magnolias and tulip magnolias develop their profuse blossoms, followed by cherry and lilac, wisteria and rhododendron. The variety of types of wood inside the villa corresponds to the range of trees and shrubs in the park.
The harmony of house and garden created by Franz Krause still lives on today, e.g. in the dynamic shape of the walls at the side of the villa, which “curl inwards” to form surrounds for the flowerbeds.
The existing network of paths was extended when the park was being re-designed. It now covers the whole grounds, guiding visitors to the numerous locations of the sculptures and passing by groups of shrubs, areas of lawn and the tall trees of the mixed forest. The location’s proximity to the town centre and its characteristic topography are conducive to the development of a park which aims at providing a home for and access to sculpture in all its various forms and potentials.
Perception of art is inseparably embedded into the experience of nature in the sculpture park. The park gets its special character from its location on a slope: due to the steep incline over the Wupper river’s narrow v-shaped valley and the unsuitability of the stony ground for settlement, a considerable amount of inner-city woodland has managed to survive.
The location’s proximity to the town centre and its characteristic topography are conducive to the development of a park which aims at providing a home for and access to sculpture in all its various forms and potentials.
The Cragg Foundation is gradually expanding its collection of important sculpture here. While the focus is on the modern age and the present day, the collection will also continue to develop beyond these periods.
The visitor’s encounter with three dozen sculptures in a natural environment is a challenge to perception. Extremely diverse and consistently complex forms of sculptural thought are already linked by the circular walk today. Apart from sculptures by Tony Cragg, a whole range of important standpoints of the modern age and present day are represented through permanent loans of works by Richard Deacon, Markus Lüpertz, Thomas Schütte, Wilhelm Mundt, Jaume Plensa, and Norbert Kricke among others.
Unlike an enclosed exhibition space, the park confronts the works and observer with transient effects of the course of days and years. An extremely dynamic exhibition setting is generated by the combination of the huge forest umbrella of old deciduous trees with the backdrop of the park. Warmth and cold, wetness and dryness, foliage colour and the reflection of the sun’s seasonal position affect the sculptures and influence their spatial appearance.
Old deciduous trees such as chestnut, linden, robinia, maple, larch, oak and beech define the character of the park with a contrast being created by the red foliage of copper beeches and purple-leaf plum trees. A giant sequoia stands at the entrance while weeping beeches Japanese maples and gingko trees surround the villa. In spring, the star magnolias and tulip magnolias develop their profuse blossoms, followed by cherry and lilac, wisteria and rhododendron.
The existing network of paths was extended to cover the whole grounds and now guides visitors to the numerous locations of the sculptures, past groups of shrubs, areas of lawn and the tall trees of the mixed forest. Partial clearing of old vegetation has resulted in the development of glades with small groves of young plants grouped around larger trees of the same species. Groups of native species such as dogwood, holly, hazelnut, whitethorn, hawthorn and black elderberry enrich the forest family. The sweet gum tree and yews, willows and hornbeams are new additions as are quince, medlar and bird cherry as well as the wild ancestors of apples and pears: crab apples and crab pears. Vegetation grows freely and vigorously in the undisturbed coppices of pioneering plants.
This beautiful natural realm stands out due to the diversity in the shape of its leaves as well as its various decorative blossoms and fruits. It is simultaneously a pasture for bees, a provider of nectar and pollen and a habitat for many small animals.
Owner: Tony Cragg
Management: Cragg Foundation
Adults 10 Euro
Seniors, Groups 8 Euro
Students 6 Euro
Children and pupils have free admission
March – October: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 19:00
November – February: Friday – Sunday: 10:00 -17:00
Open on public holidays
For a group 80 Euro
For a group in Englisch, French or Spanish 150 Euro
External guides (upon request) 40 Euro
Public tours on Saturday at 15:00. Please register in advance. 4 Euro p.p.
Cultural events and exhibitions: www.skulpturenpark-waldfrieden.de
Shop: yes, also online
Visitor centre: yes
Tea-Room/Restaurant: Cafe Podest
Toilets: Visitor centre
Parking: visitor parking, free of charge
Map and information leaflet: with the ticket
Average stay: 1,5 hours
Accessibility: Limited accessibility caused by the hillside location.
How to get there: Major road work in Wuppertal. See website for actual information.