A common mistake is the belief that the “Grassi “in Grassi Museum is the name of the museum.
It’s the name of the building.
Franz Dominic Grassi was born in Leipzig in 1801 as the son of Italian emigrants. His grandfather had moved the family from Lucca to Leipzig and his father Joseph Peter Grassi, a financier and silk trader, had also been born in Leipzig.
After completing his education Franz Dominic Grassi initially established his own business in Leipzig trading with, among other commodities, indigo dye, tropical fruits and Italian delicacies. Following the death of his father in 1847 Franz Dominic Grassi took over his financing and investment portfolios.
Franz Dominic Grassi’s greatest legacy is however – his legacy.
When Franz Dominic Grassi died in 1880 he was a very wealthy bachelor and in his Will left the city of Leipzig over 2000 Marks – equivalent to over 23 million Euros today.
The city used the bequest wisely and created numerous parks and public buildings – including the Neue Gewandhaus, and the “old” Grassi Museum on Wilhelm Leuschner Platz, the building currently occupied by the central library.
The proceeds from the sale of the “old” Grassi Museum, were then used to finance the construction of the “new” Grassi Museum in 1925.
Franz Dominic Grassi is buried in the Alten Johannisfriedhof, just behind the Grassi Museum. And so next time you visit the museum why not pay a visit and thank the man who made the museum, and so much more in Leipzig possible.