Kunstpalast Museum, Düsseldorf
Kunstpalast Museum, Düsseldorf ©Stefan Arendt

Kunstpalast Museum in Düsseldorf: the Elector's passion for art

The fact that Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia's region capital, has an art museum of international renown today is thanks to the former Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm II, who began to build an art gallery here in 1710. A generous patron, he was able to bring numerous artists to the court and transformed the city into a European centre for art. Although the Kunstpalast Museum itself was only founded in 1913, it would not be what it is today had the Elector not been such a passionate collector of art.

The museum underwent two major renovations to reach its current form – from 1925 to 1926 to plans by architect Wilhelm Kreis and in 1999/2000 to plans by Oswald Mathias Ungers. The building now provides an exceptional setting for its painting collection, which focuses on Old Masters, paintings of the 19th century and the modern age and paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present day. These works are complemented by arts and crafts, design, graphic art and a renowned glass collection. Among the collection's masterpieces are 'The Ill-matched Pair' by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 'Landscape with Tobias and the Angel' by Jan van Scorel, 'Flight into Egypt' and the famous 'Cross on the Mountain' by Caspar David Friedrich. The section on Modernism features important works from the early 20th century by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Ophey, Franz Marc, August Macke, Otto Dix, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

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