Leipzig is a city of a great fair tradition. In the 1920s the former director of the arts and crafts museum Leipzig, Richard Graul, founded a sales fair which later became known as the Grassimesse. Unlike the bigger Leipzig-fair, which offered mass-produced articles, the Grassimesse instisted on high quality.

The former museum administration demanded a rigorous selection procedure of the artists. Therefore the Grassimesse developed to a famous European stage for the craftspeople elite. Up until the last Grassimesse in 1956, more than 1500 craftsmen, designers, companies, art schools and artist’s associations from Germany, Austria and Scandinavia presented their goods to an international audience. Important participants for example artists from Bauhaus and Wiener Werkstätte were representative of the development of the applied arts between the 1920s and the beginning of the 1940s. Taking part in the Grassimesse was like being awarded and of course this also applied to the exposed objects. Many of them became part of the museum's collection as a kind of “archive of Modernity”. Even today, the museum acquires particularly meaningful pieces at the GRASSIMESSEN. They are meant to document a distinctive section of contemporary design for future generations.