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, Paul Thek, Lothar Baumgarten, Atelier van Lieshout and Simon Starling mark the transition to the 21st century.

The new presentation
In future, contemporary artists displaying great skill and superior quality will accentuate the permanent collections with their works. To start, we are showing in the new wing dedicated to post-1945 art, alongside expansive works by Martin Kippenberger and Paul Thek and an exquisite selection of works by the Zero group (Günther Uecker, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein and Jan Schoonhoven) 20th and 21st-century sculpture, painting, installation art and photography by Michael Heizer, Taryn Simon and Douglas Gordon.

The result is that works by, for instance, American Abstract Expressionists (Sam Francis, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Franz Kline and Frank Stella) will once again, as in the late 1970s, enter into dialogue with 19th-century and Classical Modernist art in the museum’s old wing. The Collection’s new presentation concept includes the display of works, in storage for quite some time now, by Alexander Kanoldt, Otto Dix and Franz Radziwill in the context of the Bauhaus masters Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy and Lyonel Feininger. Moreover, Willi Baumeister is presented separately and Ernst Wilhelm Nay enters into a surprising dialogue with Max Beckmann.

Artists’ spaces
Museum Folkwang intends to enter into longer-term collaborative ventures with artists in order to enable the creation of new artworks. In so doing it hopes to revive a tradition that stretches far back in the history of the museum, beginning in the late 1920s with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Oskar Schlemmer, who designed key spaces for Museum Folkwang.

Current artists’ spaces
Paul Thek (More information here...)

Video Studio
From 1973 until 1988 Museum Folkwang maintained a fully equipped studio, which was made available to video artists for their work. A number of key works were produced during this time, which were presented to visitors together with new media art acquisitions in temporary shows in the rooms of the Video Studio.
Video Studio I (More information here...)
Video Studio II (More information here...)
Video Studio III (More information here...)
Video Studio IV: Video Rebels (More Information here...)
Video Studio V: The Rythm Is… (More Information here...)

Image requests
Digital photographs or transparencies can be ordered here:

Curator 19th and 20th century
Dr. Mario-Andreas von Lüttichau
T +49 201 88 45 101

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

Max Liebermann
Der Papageienmann, 1902
The Parrot Man
© Museum Folkwang, Essen

Robert Delaunay
Formes Circulaires, Soleil, 1912/13
Circular Forms, Sun
© Museum Folkwang, Essen

Gerhard Richter
Clouds, No. 265
, 1970
Museum Folkwang, Essen
© Gerhard Richter