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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Frank Gehry's eye catching warped 'Neuer Zollhof' against the towering backdrop of the Rheinturm is one of the many architectural highlights of a sunset walk (area looks equally stunning at night) through the Mediahafen ( media harbour) district in Dusseldorf. Other eye catching highlights to check out include Claude Vasconi's 'Grand Bateau' which resembles an ocean liner and William Alsop's Colorium. When in the area, combine your walk with a visit to the local Kunst Sammlung Nordrhein Westfalen ( Free if you are under 18, 2.50 for students with ID ) which houses major works by Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso.läs mer »
This is THE PLACE for good coffee in Dusseldorf. The city has a great coffee culture and few brew a better cup of coffee than Tamas Fejer, chief barista and founder of Kaffeeschmeide. For the last 7 years he has been roasting his own coffee beans and supplying local caffeine fiends. A customer summed it up for me nicely- 'There are many places you can drink good coffee but few places where it is made for you to enjoy as an experience.'läs mer »
'Bilk', the student area of Dusseldorf is a great place and a hub of all things cool ( like any student area around the world I guess) One such cool shop to check out for affordable gifts in this neighbourhood is the quirky 'Romantiklabor.' Everything is handcrafted here-Simone decorates clothes, candles, baby rompers and many more fine materials with cool anecdotes and positive words of encouragement. Shop is beautifully laid out- little wonder the place was voted one of the most beautiful shops in Germany by 'Architecture & Living' magazine.läs mer »
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