Leipzig Art Association

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The Leipziger Kunstverein was an association of Leipzig citizens with the aim of promoting interest and understanding for works of fine art . For this purpose, the creation of a museum was sought and realized with the construction of the museum on Augustusplatz . In addition to a permanent exhibition, exhibitions of contemporary art that are accessible to everyone should take place here.


After preliminary discussions that began in 1836, the first general assembly of the Kunstverein took place on November 9, 1837. Initiators were among others the entrepreneurs Carl Lampe , Wilhelm Ambrosius Barth , Heinrich Brockhaus , Gustav Harkort and Maximilian Freiherr Speck von Sternburg . An attempt to found an art association made by Wilhelm Ambrosius Barth in 1825 - before the Saxon Art Association was founded in Dresden in 1828 - was not confirmed by the Saxon court .

In 1840 the Leipzig Art Friends Association, which Ludwig Puttrich founded in 1828 as the so-called Saturday Society , joined the art association, which was now called the Leipzig Art Association .

In 1847 the association decided to make the sum of 100 thalers available annually to purchase copperplate engravings by contemporary artists. The graphic collection was one of the main fields of activity of the association and was constantly expanded through numerous private donations, for example in 1848 by the Leipzig librarian Linke and in 1849 by Wilhelm Ambrosius Barth with copperplate engravings and woodcuts from the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1858 Emilie Dörrien donated 1295 drawings from the estate of her husband Heinrich Dörrien from the 15th to the beginning of the 19th century, some of which came from the formerly famous Leipzig collection of Gottfried Winckler and were estimated to have a total value of 3,095 thalers.

In 1848 the desired art museum was provisionally opened with around 100 exhibits in the rooms of the 1st Citizens' School on the Moritzbastei . In 1853, Adolf Heinrich Schletter bequeathed his art collection, which comprised 80 paintings and 17 small sculptures, to the city on the condition that a museum for this collection should be built within five years. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of his death, the picture museum on Augustusplatz, financed by a foundation, was inaugurated as an exhibition building for the Leipziger Kunstverein.

From 1859 the association used two thirds of its annual budget to buy works of art and the rest to organize exhibitions and its library. From 1862 onwards, a lecture program with important art historians, critics, connoisseurs and collectors was held annually, including Julius Meier-Graefe , Wilhelm Pinder , August Schmarsow , Bruno Taut and Heinrich Wölfflin .

The Leipziger Kunstverein brought contemporary modernism to Leipzig in exhibitions and presented Max Liebermann (1907), French art (1908), Expressionists (1918), Emil Nolde (1925), Lovis Corinth (1926) and Edvard Munch (1929).

As an adaptation to the new situation which was 1933 DC circuit of the association carried out, which led some board members to resign. In 1945 it was dissolved by the Soviet military administration . De facto, however, the work of the association had already come to a standstill when the museum was destroyed by the air raid on December 4, 1943 .

In 1990 the Neue Leipziger Kunstverein took over.


  • Horst Riedel: Stadtlexikon Leipzig from A to Z. PRO LEIPZIG, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-936508-03-8 , p. 342.
  • Karl-Heinz Mehnert: From Art Association to Museum Building . In: Leipziger Blätter , No. 4, 1984, pp. 74/75.

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