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Guido Dessauer, German paper engineer and art collector, died he was 96

Guido Dessauer was a German physicist, specialized in paper engineering, a business executive, writer, art collector, patron of arts, and academic  died he was 96.. Born into a family of paper industrialists, he worked as an aerospace engineer during World War II and was an executive of the family’s coloured paper factory in Aschaffenburg from 1945. He was an honorary citizen of Austria for saving 300 jobs in Styria in the 1960s. He earned a Ph.D. from the Graz University of Technology in his late 50s and became an honorary professor there. Interested in art, he collected bozzetti (models for sculpture) for 50 years and initiated the career of Horst Janssen as a lithographer.

(7 November 1915 – 13 January 2012)


Guido Dessauer was born in Aschaffenburg
to a family of industrialists who owned the Aschaffenburger
Buntpapierfabrik, a leading coloured-paper factory with a long
tradition.[1][2] His parents were Hans Dessauer and Bertha, née Thywissen. Dessauer’s older brother Hans Dessauer, known as John H. Dessauer. He was a nephew of the scientist Friedrich Dessauer, a member of parliament. Dessauer attended a gymnasium
in Aschaffenburg that taught the Greek and Latin languages. Later in
life he regretted that he had not learned Hebrew, because he would have
liked to read what his Jewish ancestors had written. He studied physics
at the University of Munich,
and was also interested in art and history. During World War II he
worked in aerospace research. Later he was a pioneer in the paper
industry and registered more than 30 patents. In 1945, he entered the
management of the Aschaffenburger Buntpapierfabrik,[1] becoming its technical managing director in 1951.[2] Beginning in 1970 he directed a research department at another paper producer, Feldmühle AG (in German) in Düsseldorf.[1]
In 1985, Dessauer was appointed honorary professor at the Institut
für Papier-, Zellstoff- und Fasertechnik (Institute for Paper, Pulp and
Fibre Technology) of the Graz University of Technology, where he had earned his Ph.D. in 1972.[1]
He was a member of the Rotary Club
from 1957. As a founding member of the Rotary Club of Aschaffenburg in
1958, he was awarded honorary membership of the club on the occasion of
its 50th anniversary.[1] He was also an honorary member of the International Association of Paper Historians.[3]

Gabrielle and Guido Dessauer, 2007

He was married in 1949 to Gabrielle von Keller (20 December 1916 – 22 February 2010), a daughter of the diplomat Friedrich von Keller. They had four children, Irene, Franziska, Friederike and Gabriel Dessauer, who is the Kantor at St. Bonifatius, Wiesbaden. They lived in Tutzing, where he died.[4]


Dessauer collected European sculpture, especially three-dimensional models for sculpture called maquettes or bozzetti.[1] They are of special interest to experts because they show the creative process. The Sammlung Dessauer (Dessauer Collection) of 340 pieces from several periods up to Klassische Moderne is the largest private collection of bozzetti in Germany.[5] A selection of 72 pieces from the Baroque era was shown in 2002 in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, the Alte Galerie (Old Gallery) of the Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz, the Kunstmuseum “Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen” in Magdeburg, and the Augustinermuseum in Freiburg, under the title Kleine Ekstasen – Barocke Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Dessauer (Little ecstasies – Baroque master works from the Dessauer Collection).[6][7] It showed bozzetti from Baroque, Rococo and Classicism by sculptors including Antonio Canova, François Duquesnoy, Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Camillo Rusconi und Philipp Jakob Straub.[8]
In the early 1950s, Dessauer commissioned a portrait of his father-in-law from Horst Janssen, followed by other portraits of family members.[9] Janssen was able to create his first lithographs using the technical equipment of the Aschaffenburger Buntpapierfabrik.[10][11]


In 1964, he was awarded honorary citizenship of Austria for saving 300 jobs as a member of the board of the paper factory in Niklasdorf.[1] He received the Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen des Landes Steiermark (in German) for Verdienste um die steirische Papierindustrie, Kunstförderung (Services to the Styrian paper industry, patronage of the arts).[12][13]
In 2008, Guido Dessauer was awarded the German Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande (Cross of the Order of Merit).[1]



  • Frank Matthias Kammel: Kleine Ekstasen – Barocke Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Dessauer. Beiträge von Saskia Durian-Ress, Annette Scherer, Beatrize Söding, Ulrich Söding. Nürnberg 2001, ISBN 978-3-926982-73-5

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