Founded in Düsseldorf 50 years ago was a museum which today features a singular selection of 20th and 21st century art. Among the undisputed highlights are key German Expressionist works, paintings by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jackson Pollock, and installations by Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. Found alongside these well-known icons of advanced art are numerous outstanding examples of classical modernism, of American art after 1945, as well as major installations and photographic, filmic, and video works by contemporary artists.
Because of the extraordinary quality of its inventory, the Kunstsammlung has been referred to by critics as a “secret National Gallery.” Over the course of its 50 year history, the museum has earned a reputation which positions it among the major German art collections of Berlin, Bremen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart, but also places it in the company of great museums in Paris, London, and New York.
The spectrum of the Kunstsammlung can be characterized as one of polyphony and contrast. Some works display a sensuous painterly and expressive orientation, one driven at times toward extreme psychic states and even obsession, while others betray more intellectual, literary, or conceptual approaches. While the main emphasis has been on the specific qualities of exceptional works of art, small and mid-sized ensembles of works have come together through the years, and several outstanding artists are represented by extensive groups of works.