The collection, the collections – Five museums under a single roof
The history of the Kunstpalast started with the patronage of artists and the arts by Elector Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz (1658-1716) who founded one of the quasi-public European painting galleries. It transitioned through to a Municipal Art Museum, and from the latter’s foundation through to its incorporation as an entity under private law at the end of the last century. In 2001, the institution re-opened as the first public-private partnership in Germany in the field of museums, the partners being the City of Düsseldorf, E.ON AG (formerly VEBA AG), the Metro Group and Degussa.
The presentation of the collection illustrates over an area of 5,500 m² the variety of the five collections in the Kunstpalast, one of the few institutions in the Rhineland to accommodate important collections of paintings, sculpture, graphic works, glass, crafts and new media under one roof.
The high points of the collection include the Rubens Gallery with the paintings “The Assumption of the Virgin” and “Venus and Adonis” by the gallery’s eponym, as well as other painters active at the court of Elector Jan Wellem, such as Frans van Douven and the aforementioned sculptor Grupello. The Rubens Gallery will be supplemented by a Decoratori Gallery with exhibits from the collection of Baroque oil sketches.
A further strength of the collection is the field of 18th and 19th-century painting which has been extended in recent years with new acquisitions such as the “Portrait of the Improvisation Virtuoso Teresa Bandettini-Landucci of Lucca” by Angelika Kauffmann, which will now being presented here for the first time.
Other highlights will be the artist rooms - designed by the artists themselves - such as Nam June Paik, who attached his multimonitor installation “Fish Flies on Sky” (1983–1985) beneath one of the ceilings, or the room with works by Joseph Beuys, or the ZERO-Lichtraum, set up jointly by Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günter Uecker at the documenta in Kassel in 1964 as a homage to Fontana, and a permanent part of the museum’s collection since the 1970s.
Another unique element of the Museum’s collection are the legendary “Creamcheese” (1967–1977) and Thomas Schütte’s room installation “Furniture for ‘One Man Houses’” (2005), which in 2010 was given to the museum on permanent loan from the collection of the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf.
The newly displayed galleries will also allow the public to see a number of newly acquired and freshly restored works as well as new permanent loans: for example “Large Head with Small Man” (2010) by Stephan Balkenhol recently loaned to the collection.
Explore our current exhibitions: