The art collection held by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus currently comprises ca. 25,000 works of art. It is organized in several divisions and documented in a number of inventories.
The gallery’s core holdings (inventory G) currently contain ca. 19,000 inventoried art works. The collection’s emphases are on nineteenth-century Munich painting; the “Blue Rider” collection with works by Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, Alexej Jawlensky, August Macke, Paul Klee, and others; works of the New Objectivity; and the collection of international contemporary art, with works by Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Angela Bulloch, Wolfgang Tillmans, Erwin Wurm, and others.

Numerous famous chief works of the extensive “Blue Rider” collection held by the Lenbachhaus were donated to the museum by Gabriele Münter in 1957. This endowment is documented in a separate inventory (inventory GMS), which contains 1885 items.

The Lenbachhaus also preserves the formerly private collection of art objects, furniture, tapestries, vases, and other objects with which Franz von Lenbach decorated his villa, as well as numerous paintings and studies by the artist’s hand. Given to the newly established Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus by his widow Lolo von Lenbach in 1925, these objects are likewise documented in a dedicated inventory (inventory L), which contains ca. 800 items. In addition, the museum houses the collection of ca. 6000 original photonegative plates by Franz von Lenbach.

The Lenbachhaus moreover owns 2589 drawings of the estate of Thomas Theodor Heine, documented in an own inventory (H-inventory).

The Kubin Archive (see below) comprises extensive documentary material as well as a total of 677 inventoried works of art by Alfred Kubin.

The extensive so-called inventory K, which currently contains ca. 20,500 items, lists our holdings of all works of art acquired by the city of Munich and its various agencies. It is administered and kept by the Städtische Galerie.

Moreover, the Lenbachhaus has a large number of works in its care that are on permanent loan from several foundations:
Important contributions to the collection have been made by the Förderverein Lenbachhaus e.V., the Society of the Friends of the Lenbachhaus, which was founded in 1993; one of the many ways in which it supports the museum’s work is its financial assistance for additions to the collection. The acquisitions of the Förderverein, largely works of post-1945 art, are listed and documented in another dedicated inventory (inventory FVL).

Another foundation, the Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation, has already supported more than 100 purchases enriching the Lenbachhaus’s “Blue Rider” and contemporary art collections (inventory AK).

The KiCo Foundation was established in December 2009 by a husband and wife who started collecting young contemporary art directly related to the existing collection of the Lenbachhaus fifteen years ago. These works were assigned to the foundation and are now on permanent loan to the Lenbachhaus (inventory KiCo). The KiCo Foundation lends crucial support to the Lenbachhaus’s efforts to continue its collection-building program in the years ahead.

In 2012, the Christoph Heilmann Foundation, Munich, and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement. The foundation has given more than a hundred works from its holdings to the Lenbachhaus (inventory CHS); a first selection is on display as part of the new collections presentation. The great majority of these works are nineteenth-century paintings, by the artists of the French Barbizon school as well as the Dresden Romantics and the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools.

The Lenbachhaus has also been entrusted with the care of currently ca. 300 paintings and sculptures from the collection of the Verein bildender Künstler, Münchens Secession e.V., which are on permanent loan to the museum, and the estate of Johann Georg von Dillis, which is owned by the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern and comprises ca. 8900 items.

The collections archive inventories the holdings and collects documentation concerning the works of art as well as the history of the museum from its establishment in 1925 and the opening of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in May 1929 to the present. The inventories and documentation about individual works of art are stored in electronic databases that aggregate the information about objects in individual records, provide centralized access, and allow for targeted search requests, as well as older record-keeping formats such as inventory books, filing cards, and painting files.


Kubin archive

The Kubin Archive, a collection of materials around the Austrian draughtsman Alfred Kubin (1877–1959) and an important complement to the Lenbachhaus’s “Blue Rider” collection, was acquired from Dr. Kurt Otte, Hamburg, in 1971; the transfer to the museum was completed in 1983. Otte, a pharmacist and art collector, started to build the archive in close collaboration with the artist in the early 1920s, and by the time he concluded his collecting activities, he had compiled the single largest archive on a visual artist of Kubin’s generation. It includes ca. 385 ink and pencil drawings and watercolors; Kubin’s complete lithographic oeuvre comprising 180 sheets; all 34 portfolios created by the artist; 24 sketchbooks; and 31 handwritten diaries, as well as ca. 8,000 letters and postcards from friends, fellow artists, and other public figures, most of which remain unpublished, and ca. 3,000 handwritten letters from Kubin to his correspondents.
The Kubin Archive library includes all books Kubin illustrated between 1903 and 1957, a total of ca. 800 volumes; first editions of all of Kubin’s own writings; and a virtually complete collection of the secondary literature on Kubin (ca. 5,000 items: books, essays, monographic exhibition catalogues, group exhibition catalogues, small printed matter, editions of letters). The library is supplemented by an extensive historical press archive spanning the years 1901–1977. Finally, the archive contains ca. 800 personal photographs by Kubin, ca. 150 graphic works by other artists, and sizable sets of personal documents from Kubin’s life, among them 34 films and audiotapes made between 1937 and 1977.


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