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The Museum Kunst Palast was founded as Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, a typical communal arts collection in Germany. The first exhibits were given by the popular regent Jan Wellem, Duke of Palatinate, and his wife Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici and some rich citizens of Düsseldorf. The number of exhibits was expanded in the 19th century by the collection of Lambert Krahe, formerly a collection for educational reasons of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The Düsseldorfer Gallerieverein, founded in the 19th century, collected many drawings of the Düsseldorfer Malerschule, later given to that collection. The museum for advanced arts, whose opening was in 1883, merged with that museum later. The Kunstmuseum in its actual form opened in 1913, it became a foundation (in private-public partnership) called: "Stiftung museum kunst palast" in 2000.
The Ehrenhof was built in 1925 for the exhibition "GeSoLei" (short „GESOLEI“, germ.: "health, social care and sports"). Construction plans of the building are made by the architect Wilhelm Kreis. The Communal Arts Collection and the Hetjens-Museum for ceramics moved into the Ehrenhof building in 1928. In 1969 the ceramis moved to the Palais Nesselrode at the Schulstraße in Düsseldorf-Carlstadt. There is also the NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft (forum for culture and economy of North Rhine-Westphalia) in the same building complex.
The Museum Kunst Palast includes objects of fine arts from Classical antiquity to the present, including drawings, sculptures, a collection of more than 70,000 graphic exhibits and photographs, applied arts and design and one of Europe's largests glass collections.
- Modern Art
- Sculpture / Applied Art
- Prints and Drawings
- Helmut Hentrich Glass Museum
The graphic collection includes 14,000 Italian baroque graphics. The collection presents several works from Europe, Japan, Persia/Iran, beginning with the 3rd century BC. The art collection also include works from periods such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, the time of Goethe, the 19th century, the 20th century including a large collection of ZERO works, and the present.
- The Archive for artistical photography of the rhenanian artscene (AFORK) is part of the Modern Department and has an extension collection of prints and will be part of a future Research Center for the Arts at the museum.
- The ZERO foundation, founded by the Museum Kunst Palast together with the three ZERO artists Heinz Mack, Günther Uecker und Otto Piene, has temporary offices, with an extensive archive, in the New Harbour, and will be part of a future Research Center for the Arts at the museum.
Among several exhibitions of archival material, the Museum Kunstpalast has already hosted some exhibitions on Old Masters as well, including:
- An exhibition of paintings by Caravaggio (from 2006 to 2007)
- The biggest exhibition of El Greco paintings in Germany since several decades. The exhibition showed their influence on Modern Art. It took place in 2012
- An exhibition of paintings by Spanish baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán (from 2015 to 2016)
- Beat Wismer, museum-kunst-palast.de
- museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf with articles written by Bettina Baumgärtel, Sonja Brink, Christoph Danelzik-Brüggemann, Jean-Hubert Martin, Helmut Ricke, Dieter Scholz, Barbara Til, Stephan von Wiese. Book series of the Fondation BNP Paribas. Paris 2003 ISBN 2-7118-4673-3 (in German, English and French)
- Bogomir Ecker, Thomas Huber: Künstlermuseum. ISBN 3-9808208-5-8
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