MUNICH RE—A contemporary art partnership

In 2014–2017, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, cooperated with the insurance group Munich Re. The partnership produced the exhibition and lecture series "Playtime," followed by "I Got to Have One of Those," a presentation of art from the collections, and, finally, the group show "Favorites III. New Art from Munich."

We at the Lenbachhaus keenly appreciate Munich Re's active commitment to introducing broad audiences in Munich to contemporary art. Curators from both institutions worked together on substantial questions and developed a range of exhibition, education, publication, and event formats at the Lenbachhaus with financial support from Munich Re.

As part of our partnership with Munich Re, we created a new research position. The "Munich Re traineeship for the promotion of young scholars" was a three-year pilot project designed to close the gap between academic education and the demands of professional practice. A graduate with a degree in the humanities received training both at the Lenbachhaus and at the Munich Re Art Collection. She thus enjoyed a unique opportunity to become familiar with the operations of a traditional publicly funded art institution as well as a private corporation and its art collection.

In keeping with the Lenbachhaus's guiding principles and Munich Re's corporate citizenship policy, the cooperation emphasized projects dedicated to the communication of contemporary culture and critical debate on issues of social relevance. The partners believed that the projects to be developed should emphasize novel and stimulating ideas rather than generally accepted ones. We continually communicated our work in an effort to build sustained public engagement and sought to involve visitors in a lively debate.

There are manifold parallels between the Munich Re Art Collection and the Lenbachhaus's own collection with its triple focus on the nineteenth century, classical modernism, and contemporary art. To initiate our cooperation with a visible symbolic gesture, the Lenbachhaus and Munich Re exchanged works of art on mutual loan.

The Lenbachhaus received Rudolf Belling's bronze sculpture "Triad" (1919; cast in 1969/70) from the Munich Re Art Collection. In "Triad," Belling created the first nonfigurative and abstract sculpture in the German-speaking cultural sphere, a groundbreaking work of avant-garde art. The loan complements our holdings of figurative art by Belling. To the Lenbachhaus, an institution committed to the path of abstraction charted by Kandinsky, the arrival of this pioneering work of abstract sculpture was a major boon.

The Munich Re Art Collection conversely received Joseph Beuys's "Capri Battery" on loan. As a multiple, the work is the vehicle of an idea and an object whose serial quality allows it to speak to large audiences, representing the flow of energies.

Munich Re and the Lenbachhaus will continue to cooperate on "STARTUPART," an exhibition series initiated in 2016.


Public guided tours
several times a day
Alexej von Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin

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