Foundations

Gabriele Münter
and Johannes Eichner
Foundation

The Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation became operative in 1966, four years after Gabriele Münter's death. Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner (1886 – 1958), the artist's life partner, established the foundation in their wills. Münter had met Eichner, an art historian and philosopher, in Berlin in 1927. He recognized the painter's talent and studied and wrote about her art as well as Kandinsky's. The Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation preserves and manages the artist's large estate, which comprises not only works of art and documents but also her home in Murnau.

Johannes Eichner and Hans Konrad Roethel, who would later become director of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, met in 1952 and became close friends. In 1956, Roethel was first permitted to see the complete collection of Kandinsky's and Münte's paintings, which the artist had stored in the basement of her house in Murnau to protect them from the National Socialists. One year later, in 1957, Münter, on occasion of her eightieth birthday, most generously donated significant parts of this collection to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich.

The Foundation supports research projects designed to promote a deeper understanding of Münter's and Kandinsky's art; the results are presented in publications and exhibitions. Its seat is at the Lenbachhaus; the two institutions have collaborated closely and fruitfully on many scholarly projects and exhibitions. The Foundation has also given works of art from its collection to the Lenbachhaus on permanent loan. One important goal of the Foundation is to prepare a catalogue raisonné of Gabriele Münter's paintings that will document all oil paintings created by the artist with information about their provenance, exhibition history, and the relevant literature.

Gabriele Münter as eighty-year-old, Murnau 1957, photo: Gabriele von Arnim, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung
Alexej Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Andreas Jawlensky and Gabriele Münter on a street in Murnau, ca. 1909, photo: Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung

Münter's House

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In accordance with Münter’s wishes, her house has been made accessible to the public in its entirety as a memorial dedicated to her and Kandinsky’s art. After renovations in 1998 – 99, it now appears as it did between 1909 and 1914. Richly appointed and decorated with paintings, works of graphic art, and reverse glass paintings by Kandinsky and Münter and popular art from their collection as well as the artists’ own hand-painted furniture, the house vividly conveys the atmosphere that prevailed here before World War I.

Münter's house in Murnau 2010

Current Exhibition at the Münter House

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Gabriele Münter and Her Guests. Creative encounters at the Münter House
September 2019—Summer 2021

One hundred and ten years ago, on August 21, 1909, Gabriele Münter bought a home in Murnau in which art history would be written. Now widely known as the Münter House, the comprehensively renovated building was opened to the public as a museum in 1999. To celebrate the double anniversary, we have designed a special exhibition that turns the spotlight on the Münter House as a hub of creative inspiration. The show focuses on the Blue Rider years as well as events in 1934 that exemplify the house's history in the 1930s.

The Münter House in Murnau is famous as one of the birthplaces of modern art. Between 1909 and 1914, Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky stayed at their country home for extended periods of time. It was in Murnau that Münter broke through to a new visual idiom, and the motifs Kandinsky found in the surrounding landscapes guided him toward abstraction. On more than one occasion, the two hosted visiting fellow artists at the Münter House. In the fall of 1911, Kandinsky invited Franz and Maria Marc and August and Elisabeth Macke to Murnau to edit the now famous almanac "The Blue Rider." Having returned from Scandinavia, where she had spent the war years, in 1920, Münter would often come to her home in Murnau for much-needed seclusion, although she did not make it her permanent residence until 1931. A few years later, her partner Johannes Eichner moved in with her.

The exhibition, which takes up the entire building, introduces visitors to the Münter House as a scene of lively gatherings both before the Great War and over the decades that followed. The presentation on the ground floor, which has been completely redesigned for the first time since 1999, includes a selection of photographs. Thirteen new paintings by Münter, eight of which have never been on public display, will be on view in the other rooms. In another first, the Münter House will now also host contemporary art, in the form of a new work by the Munich-based artist Caro Jost: decades after Gabriele Münter's death, the Münter House remains a place of inspiring encounters between creative minds.

Isabelle Jansen and Matthias Mühling

Gabriele Münter, Fräulein Ellen im Gras, 1934, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, photo: Lenbachhaus © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Gabriele Münter, Kopfstudie Ellen (Ellen Brischke), 1934, photo: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Gabriele Münter, Geschwister Wallin Stockholm, 1916, photo: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Gabriele Münter, Ellen gestützt, 1934, photo: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, München, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

KiCo Foundation

The KiCo Foundation was established in December 2009 by a husband and wife who started collecting young contemporary art fifteen years ago and from the outset sought to build lasting collaborative relationships with public museums. Their goal has been to acquire works not in order to store them in a private collection, but to provide them to a museum as a permanent loan and ensure that they will be presented to the public on a regular basis. The collectors have worked closely with the Kunstmuseum Bonn since the mid-1990s; in the late 1990s, they initiated a collaboration with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, as well. The selection of works to be considered and final decisions concerning purchases are made in direct dialogue with the directors and curators of the Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Lenbachhaus and always also with a view to sensible and viable additions to the collections held by both institutions.

In its selection of contemporary positions, the KiCo Collection focuses on art that engages with the dissolution of physical presence into light and color. In addition to purchasing individual works, the Foundation also acquires complete groups of works or conceptions for entire rooms designed to provide in-depth insight into an artist’s oeuvre. In this regard, the collectors' intentions are in concord with the plans both museums have for their collections.

The KiCo Foundation lends crucial support to the Lenbachhaus as well as the Kunstmuseum Bonn that will allow both institutions to pursue their distinctive collection policies in the future.

Olafur Eliasson, Sonne statt Regen, 2003, photo: Lenbachhaus, Ernst Jank, © Olafur Eliasson
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1077, 2003, photo: Lenbachhaus, Simone Gänsheimer, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
Michel Majerus, Olympia 2050, 2001, photo: Lenbachhaus, Simone Gänsheimer, © Michel Majerus Estate, 2018
Isa Genzken, Paravent, 1990, photo: Lenbachhaus, Ernst Jank, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Christoph Heilmann
Foundation

In 2013, the Christoph Heilmann Foundation and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau concluded an agreement that laid the foundation for a long-term collaboration. Over a hundred works from the foundation's collection of early nineteenth-century landscape paintings have joined the museum's own holdings, a perfect complement that rounds out the Lenbachhaus's cherished collection.

Over the past years, an initial presentation in the galleries of the new Lenbachhaus offered a comprehensive survey of the collection, showcasing characteristic exemplars of the art of the Munich school and the Dresden romantics as well as the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools. The exhibition also highlighted an important subset of the foundation's holdings that is unrivaled among private collections in Germany: works of the Barbizon school of artists, who revolutionized landscape painting with the plein-air oil sketches they created in the Forest of Fontainebleau.

Gustave Courbet, Schwarze Felsen am Strand von Trouville, 1865, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Carl Rottmann, Kosmische Sturmlandschaft, 1849, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Johan Christian Dahl, Dänische Küste bei Mondschein, 1828, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Adolph Menzel, Blick aus dem Hoffenster seines Ateliers in der Marienstraße 22, ca. 1862, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich

Exhibition

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The two rooms dedicated to the Christoph Heilmann Foundation in the exhibition Brushstrokes draw on this outstanding treasure, unrivaled among private collections in Germany, to showcase the art of the Barbizon Painters. What started out as a local group in the forest of Fontainebleau soon exerted a powerful influence well beyond the borders of France. With unprecedented resolve, anti-academic rebels set the art of the landscape on a new foundation, moving it from the studio to the great outdoors. Munich was among the first places in which the Barbizon painters' work caught on. Their landscapes were soon included in the exhibitions at the Glaspalast, and the school's two most famous exponents, Gustave Courbet and Camille Corot, were awarded the highest honors of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

The village of Barbizon on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau south of Paris was little more than a string of houses along a country road when the arrival of the railway made it easily accessible from the capital, and after 1840 it became a meeting place for the leading French landscape painters. Sustained by personal friendships, their loose association soon came to be known as the Barbizon School. Formerly a royal hunting preserve, the fabled forest with its age-old trees, archaic rock formations, and wide-open heaths beckoned with unusually varied and unspoiled natural motifs. Gradually abandoning the sterile and static atmosphere of the studios that had been the conventional scene of creative production, the Barbizon painters took advantage of the availability of tube paints and lightweight traveling paint boxes to explore the pathless wilderness. This newfound freedom endowed their work with an utterly novel pictorial quality.

The group's leading protagonist, Théodore Rousseau, for example, braved the eerie gloom of an ancient oak grove and the stinging cold to paint his Forest at Sunset in Winter (after 1846), bathing the scene in a mystical evening light. The southern sceneries suffused with an elegiac mood preferred by earlier landscape artists gave way to the rugged nature of the north. Painting his Black Rocks at Trouville as the year 1865 came to a close, Gustave Courbet was inspired by the natural spectacle before him to venture what he described as a "liberating" creative act in the rendition of the autumnal sky. Jean-François Millet’s Bathing Woman Sitting by the Water witnesses to a new intimate relationship between humans and nature.

Last but not least, these landscapes and others by Camille Corot, Jules Dupré, Charles-François Daubigny, and their colleagues appealed to city-weary Parisians with a longed-for authenticity in the depiction of nature signaled both by the unclassical motifs and by the free and uncontrived brushwork.

Presentation conceived by Dr. Christoph Heilmann

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Der Große Baum (Studie), ca. 1865, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Théodore Roussau, Wald bei Sonnenuntergang im Winter, after 1846, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Jean-François Millet, Junge Frau, sich die langen Haare nach dem Bade hochsteckend, 1845/46, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Charles-François Daubigny, Mündung der Themse, ca. 1870, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich

New Acquisitions

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In keeping with its collection profile, the Christoph Heilmann Foundation has enlarged its holdings of early German, French, and Scandinavian Nineteenth-Century landscape paintings. Over the past two years, ten new works have been acquired for the collection.

These include "Palazzo Donna Anna" (1825) a work of the landscape and genre painter Franz Ludwig Catel (1778–1856) that combines an imposing depiction of the ruined building and a group of fishermen seeking shelter with a faithful rendering of the agitated sea. Three of the new acquisitions enhance the foundation's collection in the field of the Barbizon school. Among its leading members were Théodore Rousseau (1812–1867) and his close friend Jean-François Millet (1814–1875). A major oil study by Rousseau from his 1830 sojourn in Auvergne offers evidence of his keen eye for the particular qualities of daylight conditions and vegetation and his aspiration to verisimilitude. The acquisition of a drawing by his comrade Millet of a peasant girl resting naked and lost in thought on a riverbank served as a preparatory sketch for a painting already in the foundation’s possession, enables an illustration of Millet’s creative process.

The third newly acquired French landscape painting is a small picture of undergrowth in the old forest of Villers-Cotterêts by Paul Huet (1803–1869). In recent years, the foundation has sought to enlarge the collection's foci by adding works from the Scandinavian countries. In this connection, it has acquired a "Südliche Landschaft bei Subjaco" (Southern Landscape near Subiaco, 1847) by Gustaf Wilhelm Palm (1810–1890), a Swedish landscape painter whose significance was not fully appreciated until recently. A study of a gnarly old oak by Anton Eduard Kieldrup (1826–1869) attests to the discovery by landscape painters of the north with its characteristic rough vegetation.

Franz Ludwig Catel, Palazzo Donna Anna, 1825, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Théodore Rousseau, Landschaft in der Auvergne, 1830, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Gustaf Wilhelm Palm, Landschaft bei Subjaco, 1847, Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich
Anton Eduard Kieldrup, Studie eines alten Eichbaumes, n. d., Christoph Heilmann Stiftung, on permanent loan to Lenbachhaus Munich

Research

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Scholarly catalogue of the holdings

The foundation continually works to subject its growing collection to scholarly analysis. Supplements to the existing catalogue of the holdings, titled "Frühe Landschaftsmalerei des 19. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland und Frankreich" (ed. Christoph von Heilmann, Heidelberg: Wunderhorn 2013/2015), that document the newly acquired works are published in intervals of two to three years.

Symposia / Lectures

Lecture series, symposia, and research projects are organized to consider the foundation's collection in broader perspectives and connect the analysis of the works to larger issues in the scholarship on early landscape painting.

For example, the symposium "Mobilität und Naturerfahrung im 19. Jahrhundert" examined the question to which extent landscape artists' travels to destinations near and distant, which came to be seen as obligatory in the nineteenth century, had a crucial influence on their work. To read the article on ArtHist please click here.

The accompanying book "Landschaftsmalerei, eine Reisekunst?—Mobilität und Naturerfahrung im 19. Jahrhundert" presents contributions by renowned international experts that offer an extensive discussion of the particular situation in which traveling landscape painters worked.

In the context of new research perspectives on landscape paining around 1800, two publications have been published with the support of the Christoph Heilmann Foundation:

Barbara Eschenburg: Naturbilder – Weltbilder. Landschaftsmalerei und Naturphilosophie von Jan van Eyck bis Paul Klee, Gebr. Mann Verlag Berlin 2019.

Valenciennes‘ Ratgeber für den reisenden Landschaftsmaler. Zirkulierendes Künstlerwissen um 1800, herausgegeben und kommentiert von Claudia Denk mit einem Vorwort von Christoph Heilmann und Bernhard Maaz, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin, München 2019.

Walter Storms Foundation

Walter Storms, who opened his gallery on Munich's Kaulbachstraße in 1977, helped found the Society of the Friends of the Lenbachhaus and is now the longest-serving member of its board. In recognition of his longstanding close ties to the Lenbachhaus, he established the Walter Storms Foundation.

Its mission is to support the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München's exhibition activities with permanent loans of works from Walter Storms's personal collection. It was created as an unincorporated trust by a city council resolution on December 18, 2013, and is administered by the State Capital of Munich.

Herbert Schuchardt Foundation

In keeping with its act of foundation and charter, this nonprofit foundation's mission is to promote the public benefit. Its particular purpose is to support the arts, and more specifically painting (visual art in two dimensions, including drawings, etchings, prints, collages, etc.), as well as the work of Bruderhilfe e.V.

The net proceeds from the foundation's endowment are spent on supporting the arts in Munich through grants to tax-privileged bodies or legal entities under public law, primarily the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich (especially the Alte and Neue Pinakothek), but also the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, as well as the charitable association Bruderhilfe e.V.

With its continual financial support for two of Munich’s most important museums—whose directors are members of its board of trustees—the Herbert Schuchardt Foundation fully lives up to the benefactor’s intentions. It also supports the nonprofit association Bruderhilfe e.V.'s charitable activities.