The Lenbachhaus was built as a Florentine-style villa for the painter Franz von Lenbach between 1887 and 1891 by Gabriel von Seidl and was expanded 1927-1929 by Hans Grässel and again 1969-1972 by Heinrich Volbehr and Rudolf Thönessen. Some of the rooms have kept their original design.
The city of Munich acquired the building in 1924 and opened a museum there in 1929. The latest wing was closed to the public in 2009 to allow the expansion and restoration of the Lenbachhaus by Norman Foster; the 1972 extension was demolished to make way for the new building. The museum reopened in May 2013. The architect placed the new main entrance on Museumsplatz in front of the Propylaea. The new facade, clad in metal tubes made of an alloy of copper and aluminum, will weather with time.
The gallery contains a variety of works by Munich painters and contemporary artists, in styles such as The Blue Rider and New Objectivity.
The gallery displays masterpieces by Munich artists such as Jan Polack, Christoph Schwarz, Georges Desmarees ("Countess Holstein" 1754), Wilhelm von Kobell, Georg von Dillis, Carl Rottmann ("Cosmic stormlandscape" 1849), Carl Spitzweg ("Childhood Friends", ca. 1860), Eduard Schleich, Carl Theodor von Piloty, Franz von Stuck ("Salome" 1906), Franz von Lenbach ("Self Portrait with His Wife and Daughters" 1903), Friedrich August von Kaulbach, Wilhelm Leibl ("Veterinarian Reindl in the Arbor" ca. 1890), Wilhelm Trübner and Hans Thoma.
Works by members of the Munich Secession are also on display. The group was founded in 1892, and includes artists such as the impressionist painters Lovis Corinth ("Self-portrait with skeleton" 1896), Max Slevogt ("Danae" 1895) and Fritz von Uhde.
The Blue Rider
The Lenbachhaus is most famous for the large collection of paintings by Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of expressionist artists established in Munich in 1911 which included, among others, the painters Wassily Kandinsky ("Impression III (Concert)" 1911), Gabriele Münter ("Still Life with St. George" 1911), Franz Marc ("Blue Horse I" 1911), August Macke ("Promenade" 1913), Marianne von Werefkin ("Self Portrait I" ca. 1910), Alexej Jawlensky ("Portrait of the Dancer Alexander Sacharoff" 1909), Alfred Kubin ("The Male Sphinx" ca. 1903) and Paul Klee ("Föhn Wind in Franz Marc's Garden" 1915). Münter donated 1,000 “Blue Rider” works to the museum on her 80th birthday.
The museum gives a very profound view of international contemporary art with works by Franz Ackermann, Dennis Adams, Christian Boltanski, James Coleman, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Valie Export, Dan Flavin, Günther Förg, Günter Fruhtrunk, Rupprecht Geiger, Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, Katharina Grosse, Michael Heizer, Andy Hope 1930 (Andreas Hofer), Jenny Holzer, Stefan Huber, Asger Jorn, Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Michaela Melian, Gerhard Merz, Maurizio Nannucci, Roman Opałka, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer, Gerhard Richter, Michael Sailstorfer, Richard Serra, Katharina Sieverding, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner, Martin Wöhrl as well as artists of the Viennese Actionism. The Lenbachhaus strengthened its investment especially in the oeuvre of Joseph Beuys considerably by acquiring numerous works of art, such as ("Zeige deine Wunde (show your wound)" 1974/75).
Young artists are promoted in exhibitions in the affiliated Kunstbau above the Subway Station Königsplatz.
Stephanie Weber curated a solo show of Mark Boulos and film series of Charles Simonds and Christoph Schlingensief, all the while commissioning performances by Tom Thayer and C. Spencer Yeh and adding to the collection works by Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT and Martha Rosler. Since starting at Munich's Lenbachhaus in September, she's been hard at work on a retrospective of Polish-born feminist artist Lea Lublin that opens this summer.
On July 26th, 2017 a Paul Klee Painting titled "Swamp Legend" (1919), seized by Nazis as "degenerate" art in the 1930s, has reached a settlement. The city of Munich, where the work is on view at The Lenbachhaus museum, will keep the painting, but the heirs of the original owner will be reimbursed for the value of the masterpiece, estimated between 2-4 million ($2.33-4.65 million). (Artnetnews, Sarah Cascone)
- Catherine Hickley (May 8, 2013), Norman Foster Turns Munich Villa Into Home for Kandinskys Bloomberg.
- "25 Women Curators On the Rise - artnet News". Retrieved 2015-09-12.
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