Museum of Art Palace

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West wing, fountain and northern transition of the museum building, in the foreground the bronze sculpture rhinoceros by Johannes Brus , in July 2011
Female nude by Ernst Gottschalk in front of the entrance, July 2011
Location map

The Museum Kunstpalast Foundation , also known as museum kunst palast from 2001 to 2011 (its own name since the end of 2018 KUNSTPALAST), is an art museum in Düsseldorf in the courtyard of honor . From 1925 to 1926 the already existing Kunstpalast was rebuilt from 1902 to designs by the architect Wilhelm Kreis ; then it was unchanged for decades. From 1999 to 2000 it was converted according to plans by Oswald Mathias Ungers .

Until 2001, this institution was run solely by the city of Düsseldorf under the name Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf in the courtyard of honor . Since then, the Museum Kunstpalast has been supported as part of a “ public-private partnership ” by a foundation of the city, the energy company E.ON and the retail group Metro Group. The museum's collection includes paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present day . There are also special collections on arts and crafts , handicrafts and design , graphics and an important glass collection .

In 2007, the Swiss Beat Wismer succeeded the French Jean-Hubert Martin , who was appointed before the opening in 2001, as General Director of the museum . The museum employed 65 people around 2011 and worked with an annual budget of 15 million euros. With an annual grant from the state capital of 7.2 and the company EON of 1.1 million euros, the museum has accumulated debts in the millions; In 2013 it was decided to reduce them with an austerity program. Wismer retired on October 1, 2017. His successor as General Director and Artistic Director of the Museum Kunstpalast Foundation was Felix Krämer .



After his marriage to Princess Anna Maria Luisa de 'Medici, the elector and patron Johann Wilhelm (Jan Wellem) of Pfalz-Neuburg set up one of the first public art galleries in the form of the Gemäldegalerie Düsseldorf in 1709. The collection, which was considerably expanded by the art treasure of his wife and acquisitions by his art agent and court painter Jan Frans van Douven , was based on the art collection of his grandfather Wolfgang Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg and went on after his death and the death of his brother Karl III. Philipp transferred to other lines of the Wittelsbach family . In 1805, in connection with the alliance policy of Maximilian IV of the Electorate of Bavaria and the Berg region, and the Third War of the Coalition , the Düsseldorf collection of the Elector moved largely to Munich, where it formed the basis for the Alte Pinakothek ; only a few paintings remained. Among them were two Rubens paintings, which are difficult to transport and which make up the splendor of the Rubens Gallery in today's museum.


The history of the museum began in 1846 with the establishment of the Association for the Establishment of a Picture Gallery in Düsseldorf , which mainly bought works from the Düsseldorf School of Painting . For a long time, however, no museum of its own was founded. The decision to build a separate museum building for the presentation of art was made on July 1, 1913, later than in the other major cities in the Rhineland. Karl Koetschau from Berlin was employed as the founding director; due to the beginning of the First World War , however, plans for the new building could not be implemented. Koetschau wanted to supplement the collection of old art through acquisitions and planned a modern gallery in order to build up a collection suitable for a museum. In doing so, however, he encountered resistance. Due to the nationalist mood, he was unable to acquire any French works with which he could have included the international art development in the collection. This left the existing stock of works from the Düsseldorf School of Painting, which made up the majority of the city of Düsseldorf's art collection, as the basis. Together with the curator Walter Cohen , Koetschau acquired modern German works, for example from the Young Rhineland group . In addition, in the early years of the museum, the problem of the lack of dedicated rooms remained; it was only able to present its collection in a few rooms in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf .

Own museum building

Former exhibition palace , 1902

The museum got its own building after the GeSoLei , the major exhibition for health care, social welfare and physical exercise that took place in Düsseldorf in 1926. The plans envisaged that after the end of the exhibition the northwest wing of the courtyard complex should serve as a museum building. The premises were therefore adapted accordingly, as far as possible. The last remaining building from 1902 was completely demolished from the former exhibition palace , which was built south of today's Rheinpark Golzheim in the area of ​​today's Ehrenhof and the court garden for the Düsseldorf industrial and commercial exhibition and inaugurated on May 8, 1902. In 1928, the city of Düsseldorf's art museum opened . As a result, the museum's collection was shaped by additions that led to a particularly wide variety of exhibits. The Central-Gewerbe-Verein dissolved the Düsseldorf Trade Museum , which it had founded in 1883 , and the historicism- based concept that works from the past should serve as a model for today's trade was now considered obsolete. The holdings were incorporated into the new central museum. In 1928 the special ceramic collection of the Hetjens Museum was added, which remained part of the museum until 1967. This changed the concept of the museum, which was previously a picture gallery with an attached copper engraving cabinet . This development was further reinforced by Karl Koetschau's purchasing policy. In 1932 the collection of the Düsseldorf Art Academy was given to the museum on a long-term loan agreement.

The time of National Socialism and the Second World War

In 1933 Karl Koetschau left the art museum of the city of Düsseldorf and went to Berlin, where he became head of the picture gallery of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum . The new museum director was the National Socialist Hans Wilhelm Hupp on March 1, 1934 . Although he worked on the centralizing redesign of the Düsseldorf museum landscape, he represented independent artistic views. He sponsored the gallery of modern times , which was realized in the old art gallery . However, it was controversial and had to be closed again shortly after it opened several times in the following years because the works of art exhibited there met with criticism within the NSDAP . Hupp tried to prevent the Reich Chamber of Culture from interfering with the museum with sales from the museum holdings , but in 1937 more than 1000 works were confiscated as Degenerate Art , some of which were presented in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition. In 1938 “Degenerate Art” was shown in an exhibition in the Kunstpalast, along with other works.

In the 1930s, large sums of money were spent purchasing older works of art, particularly in the area of ​​medieval sculpture. The heirs of the previous owners of two works that were acquired in 1935 are demanding restitution or compensation. These are the still life Fruit Basket on an Oak (around 1670) by Abraham Mignon and the work Paris Weekday (1869) by Adolph Menzel . The heirs and the city of Düsseldorf have asked the Limbach Commission for a recommendation on the issues at issue. In February 2015, the Limbach Commission issued a negative recommendation with regard to Menzel's work.

The collection survived the Second World War without damage due to early relocation. Until his death at the end of 1943, Hupp bought large sums of money in the occupied Netherlands and France, which were returned to their countries of origin after the end of the war following a resolution by the Allied administration. Almost 50 of the works acquired in the Netherlands are now in the holdings of the Nederlands Kunstbezit-collectie (NK). The sellers included u. a. the non-Jewish art dealers Schretlen, Hoogendijk, Douwes and de Boer and the Jewish art dealers Goudstikker and Kurt Walter Bachstitz . The painter Fred Kocks succeeded Hupp . He was an active member of the NSDAP and artistic advisor and text writer to the Nazi Gauleiter Friedrich Karl Florian . Kocks had already been the exhibition director under Hupp.

post war period

After the end of the war, the incriminated Kocks was dismissed as director by the British military government and replaced by the politically unaffected art historian Werner Doede , who organized the return of the collection and the first exhibitions. In the undamaged Hetjens Museum in 1946, for example, he showed works in the Living Heritage exhibition that were considered degenerate under National Socialist rule . The exhibition activities again extended to the actual museum building, which was slightly damaged and was partly used by the telegraph administration. On July 19, 1949, the renovated and partially restructured museum was finally reopened. Werner Doede, who resigned at the end of 1953 because of ongoing conflicts with the Düsseldorf cultural administration, began to fill the gap left in the collection by the National Socialists with the persecution of degenerate art . As early as February 1953, the Düsseldorf city administration reinstated the discredited former National Socialist Kocks as custodian of the art collections, which also led to disputes with Doede. Fred Kocks held this position - throughout all directors - continuously until 1964. Meta Patas , who was provisional management of the museum in 1954, as well as her successor Gert Adriani , who also resigned under protest in 1958 and succeeded Patas again, continued this buying policy. One of the reasons for the terminations was that the museum was threatened by the expansion of the adjacent exhibition center and parts of the museum had to be evacuated for trade fairs at times. A new museum building was discussed, but no more detailed plans were made. In 1958 the museum was closed for two years, the exhibited works were stored in the warehouse and the premises were used by the NOWEA trade fair company .


In 1964, Wend von Kalnein, a new full-time director, took over the management of the museum. Kalnein tried to reposition the museum with intensive public relations, scientific work and further expansion of the collection. The showrooms have been renovated. In 1968 the Düsseldorf trade fair was relocated to a different location so that the location of the museum at the Ehrenhof was secured. Wend von Kalnein placed a special focus on art education. The Pedagogical Department was founded in 1970, which cooperated with schools in Düsseldorf. In addition, special child-friendly exhibitions were organized from 1977. In the 1970s, the museum organized its first large-scale, catalog-accompanying special exhibitions. Some of these were perceived internationally, such as an exhibition of works by the Russian avant-garde from the collection of George Costakis , which further strengthened the position of the museum. This led to exhibitions by the museum in Ireland and Finland in the 1970s, and in the United States and Japan in the 1980s .

After Kalnein retired in 1979, Hans Albert Peters took over the post of museum director. Under his direction, the museum work had to be divided between various other buildings, including the Kreuzherrenkirche , as serious construction defects had been discovered in the courtyard , which resulted in the evacuation and closure of the actual museum building in July 1979. The planning and construction phase with the gutting and complete renovation of the building lasted six years until it was reopened in 1985. The renovation did not solve the spatial problems of the museum, so that in 1988 a competition for the use of the art palace opposite was announced. The result would have met the requirements of the museum, but could not be implemented due to a deteriorating economic situation.

As a result of a fire in the museum in 1993, the building was contaminated. The renovation work lasted until December 1994, when the museum reopened. Hans Albert Peters retired early in 1995 for health reasons, in a phase in which the merger of the art museum with the art gallery was being considered and new plans for the art palace existed. Helmut Ricke took over the position of director .

Recent history

In order to bring the art museum and art gallery together , the museum kunst palast foundation was established in 1997 , the founding director of which was Jürgen Harten . It took six years before the reorganization of museums, which had been discussed since 1995, was implemented. The management of the museum was from 1999 to 2006 Jean-Hubert Martin , the former director of the Musée National d'Art Moderne and the Musée national des arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie . The museum kunst palast was opened on September 1st, 2001 after a new building of the art palace had been completed. After six years in office, Martin resigned and raised serious allegations against the private financier for interfering in the programming of the program. From March 2007 to September 2017 the Swiss Beat Wismer , former director of the Aargauer Kunsthaus , headed the museum as general director. From July 2008 to June 2013, Carl Grouwet was the commercial director of the museum kunst palast foundation. In November 2012, the business economist Harry Schmitz was appointed commercial director of the Museum Kunstpalast Foundation. After the reorganization, the Museum Kunstpalast was no longer a purely municipal institution, but is operated by a foundation that was financed by the City of Düsseldorf together with private donors such as E.ON , Metro and Evonik (until 2010). This foundation was the first large public-private partnership in the museum sector in Germany. At the end of 2008, the contract with the energy company E.ON to secure operating costs was extended by a further five years. Since 2006, the partner E.ON no longer sponsored the exhibition activities in general, but only selected exhibitions. At the instigation of E.ON, management consultants from the “Boston Consulting Group” examined the museum for potential savings in 2012, with the result that the museum was operating inefficiently.

Since 2011 the house has been called Museum Kunstpalast . In May 2011, after more than two years of closure due to renovation work on the collection wing, the Museum Kunstpalast collection was reopened and presented in a new hanging.

After earlier water damage, the city assumed in June 2012 that parts of the collection wing of the Kunstpalast might remain closed for years due to the judicial preservation of evidence. The plans for a café in the north wing, the part between the two exhibition wings with Arno Breker's “Aurora” on the roof, have been postponed indefinitely. Due to established statics deficiencies, only light exhibits can be shown there for the time being.

Felix Krämer (* 1971 in Cambridge) has been General Director and Artistic Director of the Museum Kunstpalast Foundation and chairman of the board since October 1, 2017 . He came from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, where he was head of the collection in the field of modern art from 2008 to 2017.

In 2020, the NRW-Forum will be incorporated into the museum as a subsidiary .


Palace of Art, 1902
Facade of the museum
Central entrance hall with staircase and lead-glazed window painting Jan Thorn Prikkers (right), 1926
Mosaic "The Day" by Jan Thorn Prikker, 1926

The Museum Kunstpalast is located between the Rhine and the Hofgarten, north of Düsseldorf's old town. It is located on the area that Wilhelm Kreis expanded into a cultural center for the large GeSoLei exhibition in 1926 , which is separated from the old town by the driveway to the Rhine bridge to Oberkassel . The site is outside the city center, but still central.

Before the expansion, there was only the neo-baroque art palace built parallel to the river in 1902 . Kreis had a new facade installed for this building and integrated it into a horseshoe-shaped structure, which is called the courtyard of honor after the reception courtyards of palace complexes . The building appears monumental with the broad structures that rest on bases made of shell limestone . With this, Wilhelm Kreis alluded to a grave and pyramid architecture, which he took back with the windows running around the whole building. This row of windows seems to have been inspired by industrial architecture. Like all permanent buildings of the GeSoLei , the art museum on the Rhine side has a palatial, symmetrical brick facade with extensive ornamentation and elements made of stone. The art museum's motto is affixed in Latin letters to a flat brick strip running horizontally across the facade: ARS AETERNA - VITA BREVIS (art is eternal, life is short) . The art museum, the adjoining Reichsmuseum (today the NRW Forum), the temple gates that accentuate the openings in the Rhine front, and the monumental dome of the planetarium (today the Tonhalle) formulate a festive, sometimes sacred-looking sequence of large buildings with deliberately chosen historical ones Echoes. The monumental design and the orientation towards the Rhine correspond to the efforts of city planners since the beginning of the 20th century to make the banks of the Rhine more attractive in order to underline the symbolic importance of the Rhine as a symbol of the German Empire and the role of Düsseldorf as a major city.

Inside, the building has a functionality and sobriety that is highly modern for the time, which was based on the requirements of the museum educator Alfred Lichtwark and even exceeded them. Simple, brightly plastered exhibition rooms, a flexible floor plan, raised ribbon windows and the first use of the shed roofs borrowed from the factory building are evidence of the innovative architectural concept.

The building initially encloses an inner courtyard. There are other exhibition buildings along the Uferstraße. At the points where cross streets cross the main axis of the exhibition grounds, the complex is flanked by temple-like open pillared halls with mosaics by Heinrich Nauen and Johan Thorn Prikker . The exterior of the museum is decorated with sculptures. On the roof of the museum, above the triumphal gate in the main axis of the Ehrenhof complex, there is the sculpture Aurora by Arno Breker . Two nude figures by Ernst Gottschalk stand in front of the museum entrance . In addition to Gottschalk's work, there were two by Bernhard Sopher , which were melted down by the National Socialists due to Sopher's non-Aryan descent.

The fountain with was also created for the Gesolei by Wilhelm Kreis. It consists of a round basin made of artificial stone and a simple fountain head with a bundle of water jets. The pool edge was renewed in 1957 during a restoration.

With the glass painting by Johan Thorn Prikker , the entrance hall of the museum is reminiscent of a sacred building. The exhibition rooms extend on both sides, to which a double-winged staircase leads to the upper floor. The rooms in which the collection is presented are functional and neutral. Behind the facade is a modern reinforced concrete structure, so that the building survived the bombing raids in World War II relatively unscathed. During the renovation of the museum in the first half of the 1980s, the transition to the Kunstpalast was glazed and the exhibition area was expanded to include a second floor. This renovation was not without problems from the point of view of monument protection . In addition, the originally spacious room structure disappeared and small, angled rooms were created instead. After the decision in 1998 to unite the Kunstpalast and the Kunstmuseum, the former was demolished. In its place, behind the listed facade, a new building was erected, designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers . This offers 3,000 square meters of space for temporary exhibitions, making the museum a total of around 9,000 square meters. Four gallery halls branch off from a foyer, which is spanned by a dome . The reference library and the holdings of the graphic collection, which are accessible to the public in a study room, are located in the old building of the Museum Kunstpalast . Attached to the house is the Robert Schumann Hall, a concert and theater hall with around 800 seats, which was also designed by Ungers and is used for various cultural events.

The motif of neoclassical triumphal arches and temples determines the building of the Museum Kunstpalast: the two exhibition buildings are connected by a “triumphal arch-like gate”. The central risalit "represents a triumphal arch motif reduced to simple geometric forms". There are “temple-like corner pavilions” on the sides. The Rhine facade is monumentally designed; their horizontal stratification with ribbed layers of bricks over inclined ("sloped") plinths made of shell limestone are only interrupted by a vertically accentuated central projection. Under and above the windows there are protruding and recessed red clinker bricks, which are typical of the architecture of the 1920s, but also of the building tradition of the Lower Rhine region . The regular architecture of the building is interrupted by the tall neoclassical portals. The northern passage was designed as a cubically modified triumphal arch .

The neoclassical “temple-like porches” or “temple-like corner pavilions” of the NRW Forum are used again as “motifs in the art museum on one side and in the base of the Rheinhalle on the other”.


The museum's collection of paintings has three focal points, ancient painting, 19th century painting with a particular focus on the Düsseldorf School of Painting and modern painting . The art of the 20th century and contemporary art are brought together in the modern department, where not only paintings, but also sculptures and object art, new media, are collected.

Picture gallery

The roots of the first collection area of ​​the Gemäldegalerie lie in the electoral collection of Johann Wilhelm , who expanded the small collection he found in Düsseldorf with his second wife, Princess Anna Maria Luisa de 'Medici , and through generous patronage of artists and musicians moved to court and made the city a European art metropolis. Their portrait busts, created in early 1700 by Gabriel de Grupello , which originally flanked the entrance to the electoral picture gallery, are now on permanent loan from the Art Academy in the Rubens Gallery.

However, the collection came to Munich through succession in 1805, where it is now part of the Alte Pinakothek . The picture gallery today only has 50 works from the electoral collection. Three of these works belong to the museum's holdings on permanent loan : The Assumption of Mary and Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens and Samson and Delila by Joos van Winghe . As compensation for the loss in 1846, the association for the establishment of a picture gallery in Düsseldorf was awarded 415 paintings, mainly from the Düsseldorf School of Painting, from the holdings of the Royal Museums in Breslau. Today's collection of ancient painting includes The Unequal Couple by Lucas Cranach the Elder , a moralizing genre painting depicting vice. In contrast, the allegory The Kiss of Justice and Peace by an Antwerp master emphasizes virtue. The painting Landscape with Tobias and the Angel by Jan van Scorel is an important work of landscape painting in the museum's collection. Another important work is the painting Man with a Burning Candle , which is attributed to a successor to Godfried Schalcken ; it is a virtuoso example of single-figure portrait and genre painting and shows an extraordinary play of light and shadow. The painting Death of Cleopatra by Jean-Baptiste Regnault is an example of the French painting of the 18th century with the Napoleonic classicism. The

Among the works of painting from the 19th century, for example, the painting The Flight into Egypt by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld is shown. Another painting from this period is the landscape spring evening by Ludwig Richter from 1844, who discovered these motifs for himself quite late. By Caspar David Friedrich , the picture is The Cross in the mountains in the collection as well as works by Adolph Menzel , Max Liebermann and Arnold Böcklin . The Düsseldorf School of Painting is strongly represented in the museum collection. From the works of the artists of this school are the old Academy of Andreas Achenbach , Weather Horn of Johann Wilhelm Schirmer and Workers at the Magistrates of Johann Peter Hasenclever in the museum. Many of these pictures are closely related to the city of Düsseldorf and the Düsseldorf Art Academy .

Modern department

The modern department includes paintings, sculptures, object art and the art of the new media from the entire 20th century to contemporary art. The archive of artistic photography of the Rhenish art scene (AFORK) is affiliated. The main focus of the collection is Expressionism, the Sonderbund, the Young Rhineland, New Objectivity and Bauhaus Art (Constructivism), Informel, the art around the ZERO group, Joseph Beuys and his students and young contemporary art. The collection includes works from the early 20th century such as Breastfeeding Mother by Paula Modersohn-Becker from 1902 and Murnau (Landscape with Tree Trunk) by Wassily Kandinsky from 1909. Works such as Herbstrausch (Bacchanal) by Walter Ophey from 1912, Franz Marc's Die Füchse from 1913 and August Macke's Four Girls from 1912. The collection also includes pictures by Otto Dix , Erich Buchholz , Giorgio de Chirico , Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , as well as the ZERO room Lichtraum. Hommage à Fontana , 1964 and Eurasienstab , 1968, by Joseph Beuys. An example of a work of recent art is Razzia in Kiefernstrasse by Bertram Jesdinsky from 1987.

Ancient sculpture and handicrafts

The collection of sculptures and handicrafts of the museum kunst palast is based on the collection of the old arts and crafts museum . In the further expansion of the collection, a focus was placed on sculpture from the Middle Ages. In 1929, high-ranking medieval sculptures were acquired from the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen collection and further works were purchased in the 1930s. Sculptures such as the Oertel Madonna by an unknown master or Saint Christopher by the master of Ottobeuren come from dissolved private collections , both of which are important works of the southern German late Gothic period . Lower Rhine and Dutch sculptures were also collected. After the Second World War, fewer works were purchased, but there were more donations and loans. With the MJ Binder collection, small sculptures from the late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods entered the museum's collection.

The collection includes important representations of the Madonna , such as the Regensburg Madonna , in which the artistic representation of the human approach and dialogue between Mary and the baby Jesus comes to the fore. The collection also contains a beautiful Madonna from the international Gothic era from the Salzburg court at the end of the 14th century. In addition to these sculptures, the collection also includes works such as the Three Kings Altar from 1516 from the Upper Rhine or the copper tablet Prophet Ezechiel from Hildesheim, which was created between 1160 and 1180. This tablet is an example of the medieval melting technique and is related to works that are shown in St. Petersburg and the Louvre , among others . As is customary in the Romanesque period, the design is strictly formal and tied to the illumination .

The collection of works from the Renaissance includes a larger collection of Italian bronzes such as Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Alessandro Vittoria . The two walnut figures Adam and Eve from southern Germany or the southern Netherlands come from the same epoch and , with their anatomical structure, already question the canon of forms typical of the High Renaissance. The two figures are related to each other with their gestures and gaze direction. The main focus of the baroque collection is the academy collection, which was taken over in 1932 and includes a group of sculptures by the court sculptor Gabriel de Grupello . In addition, works of South German baroque sculpture are shown.

Furniture, crockery and cutlery come from the collection of the old arts and crafts museum . One of the pieces on display is a cabinet from southern Germany from the beginning of the 17th century, which clearly shows the Italian influences north of the Alps. Furthermore, goblets, goblets and tankards made of gold as well as table settings are part of the collection. A particularly outstanding piece is a kiss and pax tablet made of cast silver from Antwerp from the beginning of the 17th century. In contrast to the sufferings of Christ that are otherwise depicted, the Düsseldorf tablet contains the words of Jesus' change at the Lord's Supper.

Graphic collection

The graphic collection comprises 70,000 drawings and prints from the 15th to the 21st century. It contains works from all major European art landscapes. With its inventory of Italian Baroque drawings, it is one of the most important reference collections alongside the Louvre , Albertina , Windsor Castle and Farnesina .

The core of the collection is the 14,000-drawing collection of the Düsseldorf Art Academy , which has been on permanent loan to the museum since 1932. This collection was built up by Lambert Krahe ; In 1778 he sold them to the Bergische Landstands , which transferred them to the academy for study purposes. It offers an overview of the art of drawing in Germany from the 16th to the 18th century. Among them are the Transfiguration of Christ, one of only ten known sheets with scenic content by Hermann tom Ring and works by Christoph Schwartz and Carl Loth . With the drawing Susanna in the bath by Albrecht Altdorfer , the collection contains the only pictorial overall design for one of his paintings. The collection also includes drawings from the 16th and 17th centuries from the Netherlands . Among them is the allegorical woodcut Hercules kills Cacus by Hendrick Goltzius and the genre scene The Curious by Leonaert Bramer , which shows a group of people peering through a keyhole. The French drawings include the most comprehensive group of Gaspard Dughet's landscape drawings, 40 sheets, and a group of chalk drawings by Jean Charles Frontier . Works by the professors of the Art Academy and the artists of the Düsseldorf School of Painting are also part of the collection.

The most significant part of the Art Academy's collection consists of the Italian drawings. They come from Domenico Campagnola , Bartolomeo Passarotti , Andrea del Sarto , Federico Barocci and Luca Cambiaso, as well as well-known artists such as Michelangelo , Paolo Veronese , Perugino , Giorgio Vasari and Raffael . Works in the collection include the portrait of a young man by Lorenzo di Credi . The works of the Roman Baroque are particularly famous, and the museum has several hundred drawings by the artists. For example, some studies and sketches for a figure of Saint Longinus and the drawing of the Grotesque Head by Gian Lorenzo Bernini , and Pietro da Cortona ’s drawing Madonna and Child Enthroned, John the Baptist and Saint Stephen . The collection contains 1000 drawings by Giuseppe Passeri , such as the draft composition for the fresco Jason's return from Colchis .

Another part of the museum's collection comes from the Kunstgewerbemuseum, which was dissolved in 1926. It mainly includes portrait and ornamental prints , but also four etchings by Juste de Juste . These show bizarre pyramids of men and are experimental in character rather than purpose-oriented. This part of the collection was supplemented in 1928 with works from the 1928 Laurenz Heinrich Hetjen collection, which also includes Hendrick Goltzius ' woodcut Clair-obscur , on which one of the Heraclestates can be seen. The collection was also expanded to include works by artists who studied in Düsseldorf in the 19th century. Despite the focus of the collection of drawings from the 19th century at the Düsseldorf School of Painting , drawings by Caspar David Friedrich , Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Adolph Menzel were also acquired.

Drawings from the 20th century have also been collected since the museum was founded, but more than 500 graphic works were lost due to the persecution of degenerate art by the National Socialists. In 1964, the museum inherited Expressionist prints and watercolors from a citizen of Düsseldorf , including those by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky . The collection also includes works of Classical Modernism by Max Ernst , Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee , as well as Max Beckmann's preliminary drawings for the painting Die Nacht . With over 560 lithographs , woodcuts and etchings, the collection owns a large part of Conrad Felixmüller's graphic works , and the museum also owns around 2000 works by Walter Ophey .

Other collections

In addition to European art, the collection has also included a small inventory of Japanese art for many years. In addition to a collection of 88 tsuba from the Georg Oeder (1846–1931) collection and the donation from Hans Lühdorf (1910–1983) a more than 400 sheet Japanese color woodcut collection from the 19th century, mainly by artists of the Utagawa school such as Kunisada and Kuniyoshi , the museum received the extensive Netsuke collection from Bruno Werkelmann (1920–2010) as a gift in 2004 .

The collection of Islamic handicrafts in the Museum Kunstpalast goes back to the first director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum , Heinrich Frauberger (1845–1920), who systematically covered this area in the 1880s and 1890s by acquiring manuscripts , miniatures, Koran covers , textiles, metal and wood - and built ceramic objects .

Hentrich Glass Museum

The glass collection in the Hentrich Glass Museum is the youngest collection of its kind in Europe and the most comprehensive alongside that of the Victoria and Albert Museum . The starting point is the glass products in the model collection of the former Düsseldorf Museum of Applied Arts . Between 1928 and 1940, through the purchase of important private collections, this collection was gradually increased to its current global importance, but it was not achieved until 1963 when Helmut Hentrich decided to donate his collection to the museum. Until his death in 2001, the donations and his further collecting activities supplemented the holdings of the collection, which since 1990 has been called the Hentrich Glass Museum in his honor . With the Hentrich collection, the glass collection was particularly strengthened because its focus on antique and Islamic glass art as well as Art Nouveau , Art Deco and Art Nouveau complemented the areas that had previously been poorly represented in the museum. The collection continues to be expanded with significant donations, bequests and permanent loans, such as Italian and Czech glasses from the Steinberg Foundation's holdings , medieval glasses from the Karl Amendt collection and Dutch glasses from the Knecht-Drenth collection . The museum's own purchases since the 1960s have focused on modern and contemporary glass art.

The oldest pieces in the collection date from pre-Roman times. The most important vessel from this period is an Achaemenid bowl with a cut lancet decoration from the late fifth century BC. The glass art of the Roman Empire is represented in the collection with over 300 vessels. Objects of the common vessel types from the Islamic realms of the Middle East are also part of the collection. A bowl from around 1300, which is unique due to its complete state of preservation, dates from the time before the era of forest glass in the Middle Ages. The collection also includes works of Venetian glass art from the 15th century, such as an ornamental vessel in the shape of a Mosque traffic light, which according to current knowledge is a unique piece and shows the influences of Islamic glass production in Europe. There are also courtly glass vessels from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The Art Nouveau -Glaskunst is, among other things with works by Louis Comfort Tiffany as a calyx , and a blade shell presents from the period 1897-1905.

The glass art of the 20th century is also shown in its diversity in the museum. There are works of glass art from the Werkbund movement , Art Deco , Bauhaus, as well as from Northern European countries and Italy. An example of these works is the mosaic bowl by Carlo Scarpa .

The art historian Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk has headed the Glass Museum since August 2008 . He thus succeeded the long-time director Helmut Ricke .

Special exhibitions

The big one in 2018

The first large-scale, catalog-accompanying special exhibitions in the art museum were organized in the 1970s. It started with the exhibition European Baroque Sculpture on the Lower Rhine, conceived by Christian Theuerkauff in 1971 - Grupello and his time . As a result, the exhibitions concentrated on classical and contemporary modernism. The exhibition of works of the Russian avant-garde from the collection of George Costakis , in which works by Marc Chagall and Wassily Kandinsky , among others , were shown, received international attention . Exhibitions on the Düsseldorf School of Painting , which emphasized specific aspects such as their influence on Scandinavian and American art or dealt with the school itself more comprehensively, as well as on the history of glass art, also attracted attention.

When the museum reopened in December 1994, the most lavish special exhibition to date was shown with works by important modern artists from the collection of the Parisian art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler . This exhibition attracted over 160,000 visitors. Exhibitions on glass art, contemporary design and Japanese woodblock prints also met with a great response . In the summer of 2006 Spencer Tunick realized his first body installations from naked people in Germany in and around the museum kunst palast . The resulting photographs and video installations were presented in a special exhibition in the museum in autumn of the same year. From September 15, 2007 to January 6, 2008 the exhibition Bonjour Russia took place, in which works from the collections of the Hermitage Saint Petersburg , the Russian Museum , the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery are shown, including pictures by Claude Monet , Pierre-Auguste Renoir , Paul Cézanne , Kandinsky, Chagall, Henri Matisse and Kasimir Severinovich Malevich . A total of around 256,000 visitors came to this exhibition, making it one of the most successful shows in the house.

The museum continued to have a strategy of hosting blockbuster exhibitions. In 2012 the museum showed the first major exhibition on El Greco in Germany for 100 years with the exhibition El Greco and Modernism . She juxtaposed the works of the Spanish painter with those of modern artists and tried in this way to demonstrate his influence on modernism. The show received critical reviews. So the selection of meaningless works by modern artists was problematized. The museum had shown sculptures by Wilhelm Lehmbruck , although there was no evidence of El Greco's reception; Instead of a meaningful drawing by August Macke , paintings by him were exhibited in which a reference to El Greco was not clearly recognizable. It was also criticized that the attributions to El Greco were quite generous for some works and that two works were in the exhibition through the auction house Christie's , which thus brought about a proximity to the current art market.

In 2011, the Düsseldorf collector Willi Kemp donated his Ingrid and Willi Kemp collection with around 1,200 objects of contemporary art focusing on Informel and Zero to the museum, which has since been exhibiting selected groups of works from the collection, most recently Gotthard Graubner , Karl Otto Götz , Winfred Gaul , Bernard Schultze , Carl Buchheister and Otto Piene .

With a large retrospective by Andreas Gursky (September 23, 2012 to January 13, 2013, extended until February 3, 2013) and an exhibition of 70 works by Candida Höfer (September 14, 2013 to February 9, 2014), all of Candida Höfer's works were presented Kunstmuseum Representative photo exhibitions by two of the most famous Düsseldorf Becher students.

In 2015 the exhibition Wim Wenders : Landscapes, Photographs was shown. A retrospective by the Spaniard Francisco de Zurbarán was also shown in 2015 . From October 2016 to January 2017 a representative themed exhibition entitled “Behind the Curtain” with works from Titian to Christ was shown. From April to July 2017, the museum showed a representative Lucas Cranach exhibition together with works by modern artists referential to Cranach. In spring 2018 the Museum Kunstpalast presented a comprehensive themed exhibition dedicated to the centuries-old tradition of black and white painting. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the artists' association Das Junge Rheinland , the museum organized under the title “TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BE TRUE - Das Junge Rheinland” from 7.2. Until June 2nd, 2019 an exhibition with a representative selection of the pictures shown at the time.

Every month a work from the Kunstpalast's collection is presented by one of the company's academic staff under the motto “Work of the Month”. There is also a brief tour twice a month.

“SPOT ON” was a biannual series of exhibitions in the Kunstpalast, in which works or groups of works are shown in differently staged project rooms, which are to be rediscovered or new. For example, with new acquisitions for the collection, current research results, completion of a restitution process or restoration successes.

Every year, “ Die Grosse ” takes place in the Museum Kunstpalast as a guest event.


  • The collection. Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf. Selected works from the five departments, Sculpture and Applied Art, Picture Gallery, Modern Art, Graphic Collection, Hentrich Glass Museum. With contributions by Beat Wismer, Barbara Til, Bettina Baumgärtel, Kay Heymer, Gunda Luyken, Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk and other authors. Published by Museum Kunstpalast. modo publishing house, Freiburg i. Br. 2011, ISBN 978-3-86833-080-9 (German, also English edition).
  • museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. With contributions by Bettina Baumgärtel, Sonja Brink, Christoph Danelzik-Brüggemann, Jean-Hubert Martin, Helmut Ricke, Dieter Scholz, Barbara Til, Stephan von Wiese. Book series by the BNP Paribas Foundation. Paris 2003, ISBN 2-7118-4673-3 (German, also French and English editions).
  • Bogomir Ecker, Thomas Huber: Art Museum. A new presentation of the collection of the museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. Edited by Jean-Hubert Martin with Barbara Til and Andreas Zeising. Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-9808208-5-8 .

Web links

Commons : Museum Kunstpalast  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Consultant: Kunstpalast not efficient . In: Rheinische Post , October 12, 2012, p. C 7.
  2. EON supports Kunstpalast until 2017 . In: Rheinische Post , 25./26. May 2013, p. C 3.
  3. Felix Krämer takes over the Düsseldorfer Museum Kunstpalast , on WDR Kultur , from June 23, 2017, accessed on July 5, 2017
  4. a b c Information on the collection and its creation at, accessed on October 20, 2014
  5. When Florence was approaching the Rhine with a detailed description of the Gemäldegalerie , accessed on October 20, 2014
  6. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. With contributions by Bettina Baumgärtel, Sonja Brink, Christoph Danelzik-Brüggemann, Jean-Hubert Martin, Helmut Ricke, Dieter Scholz, Barbara Til, Stephan von Wiese. Book series by the BNP Paribas Foundation. Paris 2003. p. 7.
  7. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 9.
  8. SPOT ON: 1937. The 'Degenerate Art' campaign in Düsseldorf - Franz Radziwill. In: December 30, 2019, accessed December 30, 2019 .
  9. History of the Museum Kunstpalast: devastating influences of the National Socialists and profit from the post-war period ( Memento from April 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Notable occurrences in Düsseldorf from October 1937 to September 1938: June 18 - August 7, 1938: Exhibition “Degenerate Art” , in the address book of the city of Düsseldorf, 1939, p. VIII
  11. Düsseldorf wants to call advisory commission . Welt Online , July 4, 2013; Retrieved April 7, 2014
  12. Menzel painting is not a looted art . In: Rheinische Post , February 19, 2015. Behrens decision of the Limbach Commission of February 3, 2015 ( memento of March 25, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), on the press release of the city of Düsseldorf of February 19, 2015: “Paris weekday” remains in the Museum Kunstpalast . (PDF) on criticism from lawyers (who regularly make art restitution claims): Nicholas O'Donnell Gurlitt and the State of Restitution: Triumphalist Moment Looking More Like Premature “Mission Accomplished” . Kahmann / Naumann: Comment on the recommendation of the Advisory Commission in the Behrens case ./. Dusseldorf . (PDF) In: Journal for Unresolved Property Issues , 2015, p. 114
  13., Search, Undirected Search "Hupp", accessed on April 7, 2014 ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  14. ibid.
  15. NK 604a-b, accessed on April 7, 2014 ( Memento from April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ NK 602, accessed on April 7, 2014 ( Memento from April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  17. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 11.
  18. a b c museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 13.
  19. No sex and nothing from New Guinea . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , 16./17. August 2008
  20. Information on Beat Wismer. In: SMKP: Foundation Museum Kunstpalast, archived from the original on December 5, 2008 ; Retrieved August 19, 2008 .
  21. Information on Carl Grouwet. In: SMKP: Foundation Museum Kunstpalast, archived from the original on August 30, 2009 ; Retrieved September 17, 2008 .
  22. Carl Grouwet CV
  23. Consultant: Kunstpalast not efficient . In: Rheinische Post , October 12, 2012, p. C7
  24. Arne Lieb: Problems with the statics. In: Rheinische Post , Düsseldorf, June 20, 2012, p. B 3.
  25. Arne Lieb: Alain Bieber remains director of the NRW forum. In: May 9, 2019, accessed February 17, 2020 .
  26. ^ Paul Ernst Wentz: Architecture Guide Düsseldorf. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1975, object no. 26, ISBN 3-7700-0408-6 .
  27. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 17.
  28. ^ Susan Brooks: The urban planning concept of the Gesolei. In: Jürgen Wiener (Ed.): The Gesolei and the Düsseldorf architecture of the 20s . JB Bachem Verlag, Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-7616-1445-4 , p. 39.
  29. Ute Einhoff: The permanent buildings of Gesolei: Art Museum and Art Palace, Reich Museum for Social and Economic Studies, Rhine Terrace. In: Jürgen Wiener (Ed.): The Gesolei and the Düsseldorf architecture of the 20s. JB Bachem Verlag, Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-7616-1445-4 , p. 55 f.
  30. Hans Maes (ed.), Hatto Küffner, Edmund Spor: Düsseldorf in stone and bronze. Triltsch Verlag, Düsseldorf, 2nd edition 1984, ISBN 3-7998-0018-2 , p. 84.
  31. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 18.
  32. a b c d Roland Kanz, Jürgen Wiener (ed.): Architekturführer Düsseldorf , Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1st edition, Berlin 2001, p. 50, object no. 66.
  33. ^ A b Paul Ernst Wentz: Architecture Guide Düsseldorf. A guide to 95 selected buildings. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1975, No. 30.
  34. Roland Kanz, Jürgen Wiener (ed.): Architectural Guide Düsseldorf. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1st edition, Berlin 2001, p. 50, object no. 66.
  35. The fine arts .; Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  36. ^ Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf. P. 37.
  37. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 43.
  38. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 21.
  39. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 28.
  40. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 4.
  41. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 109.
  42. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 117.
  43. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 123.
  44. a b museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 124.
  45. Article about the new director of the Glass Museum, accessed on August 19, 2008
  46. museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf. P. 14.
  47. Christian Fricke: The crowd puller - The great Düsseldorf show is looking for traces of the Old Master in Classical Modernism. On on May 19, 2012, accessed on October 12, 2012.
  48. Ulrike Knöfel: Centuries too early - exhibition review: A Düsseldorf museum celebrates the old master El Greco . In: Der Spiegel . No. 18 , 2012 ( online ).
  49. He donated his life's work to the museum. In: Rheinische Post. January 24, 2013, p. C3.
  50. Bound by secret violence. In: FAZ , April 23, 2015, p. R 6.

Coordinates: 51 ° 14 ′ 3.6 ″  N , 6 ° 46 ′ 24 ″  E

This article was added to the list of excellent articles on July 18, 2008 in this version .