Franz von Lenbach

The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Municipal Gallery in the Lenbachhaus) was established in the former residence of the artist Franz von Lenbach in 1929. In the late 19th century, Lenbach was a central protagonist in the rise of Munich as an almost mythical center of the arts.

Born to a lower-middle-class family, he was trained at the Academy of Fine Arts; after 1870, he became a celebrated portraitist and honed his image as an urbane artist and virtuoso of his craft.

Between 1887 and 1890, he collaborated with Gabriel von Seidl, then Munich's most renowned architect, to build himself a large studio and residence in the immediate vicinity of Königsplatz square.

Many prominent members of society came to his home to have their portraits painted. His technique was inspired by Old Masters such as Rubens, Titian, and Veronese, but he was not above employing the new medium of photography either. The restored reception rooms convey an impression of the former magnificence of Lenbach's villa.