documenta III
28 June – 6 October 1964
International Exhibition

Artistic Director

Arnold Bode


Museum Fridericianum, Orangerie, Alte Galerie, Staatliche Werkkunstschule






1,860,000 DM

Arnold Bode in front of Henry Moore, Liegende Figur Nr. 5 / Seagram (1963/64)
Carl Eberth © documenta Archiv

Due to in-house problems, the third documenta did not take place as planned four years after the second, but instead five years later—an interval that would become the standard from 1972 onward. Arnold Bode served as art director for the third time in succession, and once again, Werner Haftmann was his adviser on theoretical matters on the multimember committees for painting and sculpture and for drawing. With its focus on the traditional genres of painting, sculpture, and graphic art and its emphasis on abstract art, documenta 3 was—again—further removed from its time than the previous exhibition. In 1964, Pop art was the up-and-coming movement in the U.S., Nouveau Réalisme was in vogue in France, and a new avant-garde led by Fluxus and Capitalist Realism was on the march in Germany. Action art, happenings, concerts, and process art were the new, in some cases radically innovative, categories. The guiding principle of the “Museum of 100 Days,” as it was now described by Bode for the first time, was that “art is what famous artists make”—a concept presumably intended to underscore the autonomy of art. Thus fewer specific currents and trends in contemporary art were explored, while considerable attention was placed on specific artists. Although the Nouveaux Réalistes were represented in the exhibition—by Arman, César, Yves Klein, and Jean Tinguely, for example—they were not presented as a group, but rather in different individual contexts. Joseph Beuys was also represented
at documenta for the first time—not as a Fluxus artist, of course, but instead in the sections devoted to drawings and “Aspects 64,” which featured more recent art—and such artists as Ellsworth Kelly and Morris Louis (as exponents of Color Field painting), as well as Robert Rauschenberg as an early representative of American Pop art (which was totally misunderstood by Haftmann at the time).

Norbert Kricke, Grosse Mannesmann (1958/61)
Photo: Herbert Blochel

Robert Rauschenberg, Axle (1964) © Robert Rauschenberg/VG Bild-Kunst
Photo: Günther Becker

Galerie an der schönen Aussicht/Neue Galerie (1964)
Photo: Günther Becker

Museum Fridericianum:
Otto Piene, Scheibenprojektor (1963), © Otto Piene/VG Bild-Kunst; Heinz Mack, White Light Dynamo (1964); Zéró, Silbermühle (1964), Weiße Lichtmühle © Zéró/VG Bild-Kunst
Photo: Friedemann Singer

Museum Fridericianum:
Jean Robert Ipoustéguy, Crabe et Oiseau (1958), Homme (1963); Jochen Hiltmann, Geplatzte Scilla-Alba (1963), Erdfrucht (1963), Asclepia (1963) © Jochen Hiltmann/VG Bild-Kunst; Al Jensen, The world we live in (1959); Avinash Chandra, Grosse Zeichnung (1963)
Photo: Werner Lengemann

Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Drei Bilder im Raum (1964)
Photo: Günther Becker

Documenta 3 was divided into five sections. Older modernists were presented in individual exhibits on the upper floor of the Alte Galerie (formerly the Gallery of Paintings, later the Neue Galerie). The “Drawings” section occupied a special place on the lower level, as was emphasized repeatedly. The extremely elaborate presentation in showcases featuring multiple passepartouts was a source of irritation in some cases. The “generation of forty- to sixty-year-olds” (as Werner Haftmann described this group in volume one of the catalogue, Painting and Sculpture) was presented on the ground floor of the Fridericianum, the younger generation under “Aspects” on the second floor. This section also included an exhibit entitled “Light and Motion” on the third floor, for which Bode was solely responsible. Presented here were such artists as Harry Kramer, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, Jean Tinguely, Günther Uecker, and the Zero group, which, although not mentioned by Haftmann in his introduction, was definitely one of the most innovative and experimental presentations at this documenta.

The “Painting and Sculpture in Space” section was shown as part of a thematic exhibition in rooms at the Fridericianum and in the ruins of the Orangerie, which, as in previous exhibitions, was reserved for sculptures. Particularly evident in this section was Bode’s love of unconventional presentations, which imbued individual works with a striking aura. “Thus we are striving to create spaces and spatial relationships in which paintings and sculptures can express themselves to the fullest, in which their colors and forms, their moods and radiance, can be intensified and flow outward.” Among the most spectacular examples were the Three Wall Paintings for the Staircase at the Kunsthalle Basel (1956/57) by Sam Francis (presented in an elevated hexagonal wall construction) and Ernst Wilhelm Nay’s monumental Three Paintings in Space (1963), works created specifically for the exhibition, which were hung in a rhythmic, staggered arrangement at an oblique angle under the corner and thus lent the space an almost religious aura as a “ceiling painting.” The presentation of Emilio Vedova’s installation, composed of paintings hung at differing angles to one another in a black-painted room, was probably most closely associated with the new category of environmental art. Sculptures were exhibited in and especially outside the ruins of the Orangerie in an architecture consisting of white walls and translucent ceiling constructions—a modern extension of the remaining architectural ruins that established a unique link between indoor and outdoor space. According to Bode, a “setting consisting of walls, niches, recesses, and elevated elements with structured views and water basins” was needed for a presentation of modern sculpture, whose sensibility might otherwise be lost in “the confrontation with plants, trees, grass, and sky.” Attracting some 200,000 visitors and generally positive international coverage in the press, documenta 3 succeeded in spite of its “outdated artistic concept” (Justin Hoffmann in his essay on documenta 3) in asserting and institutionalizing its leading role in the presentation, documentation, and reception of contemporary art.

Sam Francis, Drei Wandbilder für das Treppenhaus in der Kunsthalle Basel (1956/57)

Participating Artists


  • Adami, Valerio
  • Adams, Robert
  • Aeschbacher, Hans
  • Afro (Basaldella, Afro)
  • Agam, Yaacov (Agam, Jacob Gipstein)
  • Alechinsky, Pierre
  • Antes, Horst
  • Appel, Karel
  • Arman (Armand, Fernandez & Fernandez, Arman &
  • Arman, Fernandez Pierre & Fernandez, Armand Pierre)
  • Armitage, Kenneth
  • Arp, Hans (Arp, Jean)
  • Auberjonois, René Victor
  • Avramidis, Joannis (Avramidis, Johannis)
  • Azuma, Kengiro (Azuma, Ekengiro)


  • Bacon, Francis
  • Barlach, Ernst
  • Bass, Saul
  • Baumeister, Willi
  • Bayer, Herbert
  • Bayrle & Jäger (Bayrle und Jäger)
  • Bazaine, Jean (Bazaine, Jean René)
  • Beckmann, Max
  • Bellmer, Hans
  • Bernhard, Lucian
  • Berrocal, Miguel (Ortiz Berrocal, Miguel)
  • Beuys, Joseph
  • Bill, Max
  • Bissière, Roger
  • Bissier, Julius
  • Blase, Karl Oskar
  • Boccioni, Umberto
  • Bojesen, Kay
  • Bonnard, Pierre
  • Bontecou, Lee
  • Brâncuşi, Constantin (Brâncuşi, C. & Brincusi, Constantin)
  • Braque, Georges
  • Bresdin, Rodolphe
  • Brun, Donald
  • Brüning, Peter
  • Burkhardt, Klaus
  • Burri, Alberto
  • Bury, Pol


  • Calder, Alexander
  • Carlu, Jean
  • Caro, Anthony (Caro, Alfred)
  • Carrà, Carlo DalmazzoCarrà, Carlo
  • Cassandre, A.M. (Mouron, Adolphe Jean-Marie)
  • César (Baldaccini, César)
  • Cézanne, Paul
  • Chadwick, Lynn
  • Chagall, Marc
  • Chandra, Avinash
  • Chillida, Eduardo
  • Cieslewicz, Roman
  • Cimiotti, Emil
  • Clavé, Antoni
  • Cocteau, Jean
  • Cohen, Bernard (Cohen, Bernhard)
  • Cohen, Harold
  • Colin, Paul
  • Consagra, Pietro
  • Constant (Nieuwenhuys, Constant A.)
  • Corinth, Lovis
  • Corneille (Beverloo, Cornelis Guillaume van)
  • Crouwel, Wim (Crouwel, Willem Hendrik)


  • Dado (Djuric, Miodrag)
  • Dalí, Salvador
  • Damnjan, Radomir (Damnjanovic, Radomir)
  • David, Jean
  • Davie, Alan
  • De Chirico, Giorgio (Chirico, Giorgio de)
  • Denny, Robyn
  • De Pisis, Filippo (Pisis, Filippo de)
  • Derain, André
  • Despiau, Charles
  • Dix, Otto
  • Dodeigne, Eugène
  • Dorazio, Piero
  • Dubuffet, Jean
  • Duchamp, Marcel (Selavy, Rose)
  • Dufy, Raoul
  • Dzamonja, Dusan


  • Eames, Charles
  • Eckersley, Thomas
  • Elffers, Dick (Elffers, Cornelis)
  • Engelman, Martin
  • Engelmann, Michael
  • Ensor, James
  • Erni, Hans
  • Ernst, Max (Ernst, Maximilian)
  • Étienne-Martin (Martin, Étienne & Étienne, Martin)


  • Faßbender, Joseph
  • Fehrenbach, Gerson
  • Feininger, Lyonel
  • Fischer, Lothar
  • Flesche, Klaus
  • Forrester, John
  • Francis, Sam
  • Freundlich, Otto


  • Geiger, Rupprecht
  • Gentils, Vic (Gentils, Victor)
  • Georgiadis, Nicholas
  • Gerstner, Karl
  • Ghermandi, Quinto
  • Giacometti, Alberto
  • Gilles, Werner
  • Goepfert, Hermann
  • Goeschl, Roland
  • Gogh, Vincent van (van Gogh, Vincent)
  • Golub, Leon
  • Gonzalez, Julio (Gonzales, Julio)
  • Gorky, Arshile (Gorki, Arshile)
  • Greis, Otto
  • Grieshaber, HAP (Grieshaber, H.A.P. & Grieshaber, Helmut Andreas Paul)
  • Grignani, Franco
  • Gris, Juan (Gonzalez, José Victoriano)
  • Grosz, George
  • Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel de Paris (GRAV)
  • Grzimek, Waldemar
  • Gugelot, Hans
  • Guys, Constantin


  • Haese, Günter (Haese, Günther)
  • Hajdu, Etienne
  • Hajek, Otto-Herbert
  • Hara, Hiromu
  • Hartung, Hans
  • Hartung, Karl
  • Hauser, Erich
  • Hegenbarth, Josef
  • Heiliger, Bernhard
  • Heyboer, Anton
  • Hillmann, Hans Georg (Hillmann, Hans)
  • Hiltmann, Jochen (Hiltman, Jochen)
  • Hirche, Herbert
  • Hoflehner, Rudolf
  • Hollegha, Wolfgang
  • Huber, Max
  • Hundertwasser, Friedensreich (Stowasser, Friedrich)


  • Ipoustéguy, Jean Robert


  • Jacobsen, Arne
  • Jenkins, Paul
  • Jensen, Al (Jensen, Alfred)
  • Johns, Jasper
  • Jones, Allen
  • Jorn, Asger (Jørgensen, Asger Oluf)


  • Kamekura, Yusaku
  • Kandinsky, Wassily (Kandinsky, Wassily Wassilijewitsch & Kandinski, Vassili & Kandinsky, Vassily & Kandinskij, Vasilij)
  • Kapitzki, Herbert W.
  • Kauffer, Edward McKnight (McKnight-Kauffer, Edward)
  • Kelly, Ellsworth
  • Kemeny, Zoltan
  • Kersting, Walter M. (Kersting, Walther M. & Kersting, Walter Maria)
  • King, Phillip
  • Kirchner, Ernst-Ludwig (Kirchner, Ludwig)
  • Kitaj, R. B. (Kitaj, Ronald Brooks)
  • Klapheck, Konrad
  • Klee, Paul
  • Klein, Yves
  • Klimt, Gustav
  • Kline, Franz (Kline, Franz Josef)
  • Kobzdej, Aleksander (Kobzdej, Alexander)
  • Kock, Hans
  • Koenig, Fritz
  • Kokoschka, Oskar
  • Kono, Takashi
  • Kooning, Willem de (de Kooning, Willem)
  • Kramer, Harry
  • Kricke, Norbert
  • Kröger, Klaus
  • Kubin, Alfred
  • Küchenmeister, Rainer


  • Lam, Wifredo (Lam y Castilla, Wifredo Oscar de la Concepción)
  • Lanskoy, André
  • Lardera, Berto
  • Laurens, Henri
  • Léger, Fernand
  • Lehmbruck, Wilhelm
  • Lenica, Jan
  • Leupin, Herbert
  • Lewitt-Him (Him-LeWitt)
  • Lin, Richard (Lin Show Yu)
  • Lipchitz, Jacques (Lipchitz, Chaim Jacob)
  • Lismonde, Jules-Clément
  • Lissitzky, El (Lisickij, El & Lisickij, El & Lisickij, Lazarʹ M. & Lissitzkuij, Eliezer Markovitch)
  • Loth, Wilhelm
  • Louis, Morris (Bernstein, Morris Louis)
  • Lucebert (Swaanswijk, Lubertus Jacobus & Swaanswyk, Lubertus Jacobus)
  • Luginbühl, Bernhard


  • Macke, August
  • Maillol, Aristide
  • Manessier, Alfred
  • Marc, Franz
  • Marcks, Gerhard
  • Marini, Marino
  • Marquet, Albert (Marquet, Pierre Léopold Albert)
  • Masson, André
  • Masurovsky, Gregory
  • Matisse, Henri
  • Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Brigitte (Denninghoff, Brigitte Matschinsky- & Meier-Denninghoff, Brigitte)
  • Matta, Roberto Sebastian (Matta & Echaurren, Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta)
  • Mavignier, Almir (Silva Mavignier, Almir da & Da Silva Mavignier, Almir)
  • McGarrell, James
  • Messagier, Jean
  • Metcalf, James
  • Mettel, Hans
  • Meyer-Amden, Otto (Amden, Otto Meyer-)
  • Michaux, Henri
  • Michel + Kieser (Gruppe Michel + Kieser & Michel und Kieser)
  • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig (Rohe, Ludwig Mies van der & Van der Rohe, Ludwig Mies & Mies, Ludwig)
  • Mikl, Josef
  • Miró, Joan
  • Modersohn-Becker, Paula (Becker, Paula Modersohn- & Becker-Modersohn, Paula)
  • Modigliani, Amedeo
  • Mondrian, Piet (Mondriaan, Pieter C. & Mondriaan, Piet)
  • Moog, Piet
  • Moore, Henry
  • Morandi, Giorgio
  • Mortensen, Richard
  • Motherwell, Robert
  • Munari, Bruno
  • Munch, Edvard


  • Nagai, Kazumasa
  • Nathan-Garamond, Jaques (Garamond, Jaques Nathan-)
  • Nay, Ernst Wilhelm
  • Nele, E. R. (Nele-Riehle, E. R. & Nele, Eva Renée & Bode, Nele)
  • Nesch, Rolf
  • Nevelson, Louise (Berliawsky, Louise)
  • Nicholson, Ben
  • Nitsche, Erik
  • Nizzoli, Marcello
  • Noël, Georges
  • Noguchi, Isamu
  • Nolde, Emil (Hansen, Emil)
  • Noyes, Eliot


  • Oelze, Richard
  • Okada, Kenzo
  • Orgeix, Christian de
  • Ossorio, Alfonso


  • Paolozzi, Eduardo (Paolozzi, Eduardo Luigi)
  • Pascin, Jules
  • Pasmore, Victor
  • Penalba, Alicia
  • Permeke, Constant
  • Piatti, Celestino
  • Picasso, Pablo (Picasso, Pablo Ruiz)
  • Pierluca (Degli Innocenti, Pierluca & Innocenti, Pierluca degli)
  • Pignon, Edouard
  • Pintori, Giovanni
  • Poliakoff, Serge (Poljakov, Sergej & Poljakow, Sergei)
  • Pollock, Jackson
  • Pomodoro, Gio
  • Pott, Carl
  • Pozzati, Concetto
  • Prem, Heimrad


  • Rams, Dieter
  • Rauschenberg, Robert (Rauschenberg, Milton Ernest)
  • Redon, Odilon
  • Reichert, Josua
  • Réquichot, Bernard
  • Richier, Germaine
  • Rickey, George (Rickey, George Warren)
  • Rietveld, Gerrit Thomas (Rietveld, Gerrit)
  • Riopelle, Jean Paul
  • Ris, Günter Ferdinand (Ris, G. F.)
  • Rivers, Larry
  • Rodin, Auguste
  • Romagnoni, Giuseppe


  • Sandberg, Willem J. H. B.
  • Santomaso, Giuseppe
  • Saura, Antonio
  • Savignac, Raymond (Savignac, Raymond Pierre Guillaume)
  • Schiele, Egon
  • Schlemmer, Oskar
  • Schmidt, Joost
  • Schmidt, Wolfgang
  • Schoeffer, Nicolas (Schöffer, Nicolas & Schoffer, Nicolas)
  • Schuitema, Paul
  • Schultze, Bernard (Schultze, Bernhard)
  • Schumacher, Emil
  • Schwitters, Kurt
  • Scipione, Gino Bonichi
  • Scott, William
  • Seitz, Gustav
  • Seley, Jason
  • Seurat, Georges
  • Severini, Gino
  • Shahn, Ben
  • Signac, Paul
  • Sironi, Mario
  • Smith, David (Smith, David R.)
  • Sonderborg, K.R.H. (Hoffmann, Kurt Rudolf & Hofmann, Kurt Rudolf)
  • Soto, Jésus Raphael
  • Soulages, Pierre
  • Soutine, Chaim
  • Spyropoulos, Jannis
  • Stadler, Toni
  • Staël, Nicolas de (De Staël, Nicolas)
  • Stankowski, Anton
  • Steinbrenner, Hans & Klaus (Steinbrenner, Hans und Klaus)
  • Stephensen, Magnus (Stephensen, Magnus L.)
  • Sugai, Kumi
  • Süssmuth, Richard
  • Sustarsic, Marko (Šuštaršič, Marko)
  • Sutherland, Graham
  • Swierzy, Waldemar
  • Szenes, Árpád
  • Szymanski, Rolf


  • Tabohashi, June
  • Tajiri, Shinkichi
  • Tanaka, Ikko
  • Tàpies, Antoni (Puig, A.T.)
  • Télémaque, Hervé
  • Thieler, Fred
  • Tinguely, Jean
  • Tobey, Mark
  • Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (Lautrec, Henri de Toulouse- & De Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri & Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, Henri Marie Raymond de)
  • Town, Harold
  • Treumann, Otto H.
  • Trier, Hann
  • Trökes, Heinz
  • Tschichold, Jan


  • Uecker, Günther
  • Uhlmann, Hans
  • Urban, Reva
  • Urteil, Andreas


  • Valadon, Suzanne
  • Valenti, Italo
  • Van Hoeydonck, Paul (Hoeydonck, Paul van & Van Hoeydonk, Paul)
  • Vasarely, Victor (Vasarely, Victor de & Vásárhelyi, Gyözö)
  • Vedova, Emilio
  • Velde, Bram van (Velde, Abraham Gerardus van & van Velde, Bram)
  • Vieira da Silva, Marie Hélène (Silva, Vieira da & Silva, Marie Hélène Vieira da & Vieira da Silva, Maria Helena & Vieira da Silva, Maria Elena)
  • Villon, Jacques (Duchamp, Gaston)
  • Voss, Paul (Voss, Peter)
  • Vuillard, Edouard


  • Wagenfeld, Wilhelm
  • Wegner, Hans J.
  • Werkman, Hendrik Nicolaas
  • Whiteley, Brett
  • Wienert, Carl Heinz (Wienert, Karl Heinz)
  • Wind, Gerhard
  • Winter, Fritz
  • Wirkkala, Tapio
  • Wols (Schulze, Wolfgang)
  • Wotruba, Fritz
  • Wunderlich, Paul


  • Yamashiro, Ryuichi
  • Yanagi, Sori


  • Zagorski, Stanislaw
  • Zero (Gruppe Zero & Mack-Piene-Uecker)
  • Zéró (Schleger, Hans)
  • Zwart, Piet

Artistic Director
Arnold Bode (1900–1977)

Born in 1900 in Kassel, died in 1977 in Kassel

1919 – 1924

Studied painting and graphic art at the Kunstakademie Kassel, Kassel

1922 – 1929

Exhibition of modern art in the Orangerie in Kassel


Founded the Kasseler Sezession and the artists’ group die Fünf

from 1926

Independent painter and graphic artist

1929 – 1977

Joined the SPD; member of the SPD


Instructor at the Städtisches Werklehrer-Seminar, Berlin

1931 – 1933

Deputy Director of the Werklehrer-Seminar, Berlin


Removed from office by the National Socialist government; banned from the artist’s profession


Inner immigration in Kassel


Interned as a prisoner of war by the U.S. forces; return to Kassel following his release

from 1945

Developed project plans for a major international art exhibition; founded the Gesellschaft Abendländischer Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts


Re-establishment of the Kunstakademie in Kassel, which had been closed in 1932

1950 – 1955

Freelance work as an interior and furniture designer


Artistic Director of the first documenta in Kassel


Artistic Director of documenta 2, Kassel


Artistic Director of documenta 3, Kassel



Awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany


Awarded the Hessian Culture Prize for his work as Artistic Director of documenta 1-4 (posthumously)