19th Century

Heilmann Foundation




In 2012, the Christoph Heilmann Foundation, Munich, and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus agreed on a close collaboration framework that includes the long-term loan of around one hundred works held by the foundation to the Lenbachhaus. An initial selection is on display as part of the new presentation of the collection.

After 1800, Munich was unrivaled in Germany as a hub of abundant and unfettered innovations in landscape painting; the city’s artists inspired others throughout Germany and beyond and generated ideas that would eventually contribute to the rise of modernism. The works of Munich landscape artists constitute an important part of the Lenbachhaus’s holdings of earlier paintings. The permanent integration of the Christoph Heilmann Foundation into the Lenbachhaus’s collection adds an important new highlight to the museum. The juxtaposition of the two collection complexes reveals manifold interrelations between them, promoting a deeper understanding of the evolution of nineteenth-century landscape painting as illustrated by eminent works.

In addition to the Munich school, the presentation now also features characteristic examples of the art of the Dresden Romantics and the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools; a particularly important aspect of the new exhibition is that it highlights for the first time the ties between the art produced in Munich and the work of the Barbizon painters in France. The groundbreaking ways in which these artists approached a modern conception of nature drew attention in Munich as early as the mid-century; individual painters soon began traveling to Paris and Barbizon. The international art expositions and world’s fairs held after 1850 likewise raised awareness of modern tendencies in art and helped disseminate inspiring developments across national borders.

Gustave Courbet, for example, who is now represented in the Lenbachhaus’s exhibition with a major work, first showed his art in Munich in 1851. The international art exposition organized by Eduard Schleich the Elder at Munich’s Glass Palace 1869 made history, featuring many of the Barbizon painters; Courbet and Camille Corot received medals in honor of their achievements. Important artists included in the Lenbachhaus’s collection such as Schleich and Carl Spitzweg were profoundly influenced by the Barbizon school. The rich holdings of the Christoph Heilmann Foundation now allow for a comparative perspective on this fascinating instance of artistic exchange.