Painting, Sculpture, Media Art

The Collection
Museum Folkwang contains an internationally significant collection of 19th-century German and French painting and sculpture. One focal point of the collection is German Romanticism, with Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Gustav Carus and Johan Christian Dahl, and ‘heroic’ landscape art from the Late Classicist period, for example by Philipp Hackert or Carl Rottmann. Also key are works by Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, representing French Classicism and Realism. Masterpieces by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Camille Pissarro illustrate the dawn of the Modern Age, initiated by Impressionism and Late Impressionism.

Alongside Modernist forerunners, representatives of the French Fauvists and German Expressionists found their place in the collection early on (see The History of the Museum, Chronicle). Today the diverse facets of the early 20th-century avant-garde are visible in the works of the following artists: the Fauves, with Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, the Cubists with Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Robert Delaunay, and the German Expressionists with artists from the groups Der Blaue Reiter, Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, and Die Brücke, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

Moreover, artist personalities such as Ferdinand Hodler and Edvard Munch as well as the Bauhaus masters Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy are featured in the collection, as are Surrealists Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, André Masson, Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy and independent minds Oskar Kokoschka and Max Beckmann.

In addition to paintings, the Collection features sculptural works by Auguste Rodin, George Minne, Constantin Meunier, Aristide Maillol and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Following the Second World War, the Museum’s directors adopted an intelligent and far-sighted acquisition policy to gradually close the gaps created by the 1937 seizures.

As of the 1950s, the Museum was able to build on its reputation, acquired before 1937, as a centre of modern and contemporary art. Works by American artists Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Franz Kline, Morris Louis and Frank Stella as well as pieces by Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and the founders of the Zero group (Günter Uecker, Otto Piene and Heinz Mack) represent the fresh start in the visual arts. Finally, works by artists such as Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, A.R. Penck, Peter Halley, Roni Horn and Thomas Schütte as well as room installations by Martin Kippenberger, Lothar Baumgarten, Atelier van Lieshout and Simon Starling mark the transition to the 21st century.

In contrast to the art of the 19th century and of Classical Modernism, we are not presenting post-War and contemporary art as a permanent exhibition.
Rather, here alternating thematic and monographic accrochages highlight the diversity and dynamism of modern and contemporary trends.

Image requests
Digital photographs or transparencies can be ordered here:

Curator 19th and 20th century
Dr. Nadine Engel
T +49 201 8845 101

Curator Contemporary Art
Dr. Anna Fricke
T +49 201 88 45 342

Pierre Auguste Renoir
Lise with a Parasol, 1867
Museum Folkwang, Essen

Auguste Rodin
La femme accroupie, um 1882

Vincent van Gogh
Portrait d'Armand Roulin, 1888

Claude Monet
Le bassin aux nymphéas, um 1916

Paul Klee
Feuer bei Vollmond, 1933