The largest collection of the Blue Rider movement worldwide can be found in the Lenbachhaus in Munich. Famous works by Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, August Macke and Paul Klee can be admired in the villa of the former Painter Prince, Franz von Lenbach, a place which owes its international fame to these artists. In addition, the Lenbach House also displays paintings by Munich-based artists dating from the 19th century and has made extensive purchases of important works by international, contemporary artists such as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Isa Genzken, Sigmar Polke, Dan Flavin, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Demand, Sol Lewitt and Richard Stella, among others.
The internationally renowned architect, Sir Norman Foster – known to a broad public in Germany for his extraordinary glass-domed design of the Reichstag where the German parliament meets – began the general restoration and expansion of the Künstlervilla (Artists' Villa) of Munich in the spring of 2009. After reconstruction was completed by the Foster + Partners office in 2013, the former private home of Franz von Lenbach, built in the style of villas in the Tuscany region in Italy in the 19th century, now met the requirements of a modern museum. Today it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The historic villa made available for exhibits continues to be the heart of the museum. The new building designed by British master builders shimmers in gold and decorates Munich with an catching architectural jewel of international acclaim.
"I intend to build myself a palace that outshines everything that has been; the powerful centres of great European art shall be connected with the present there." Franz von Lenbach numbers among the most important portrait painters of his time. Born in the Bavarian town of Schrobenhausen in 1836, he had a decisive influence on shaping the legend of Munich as an art centre in the late 19th century. Educated at the Art Academy of Munich, he became known as an urbane, skilful artist. It was not before long that he became one of the notable figures in Munich's society, personalities he liked to depict in his works of art. Here, he used the old masters as his guide: Rubens, Titian and Veronese. And so he painted the portraits of popes, emperors and kings, elegant ladies and important gentlemen from the worlds of commerce and politics.
Despite the modest circumstances in which he grew up, he succeeded in climbing the social ladder, a success that was most clearly expressed through his marriage to Magdalena Countess Moltke and then to Lolo von Hornstein. This made him more than some mere component of public life, instead he also helped to shape its very image. For the demand to be painted by him grew steadily. And so it came to be that the face of Munich's high society was created by Franz von Lenbach's paintbrush. His family as well – especially his daughter – were soon to also become part of high society, thanks to the sophisticated portraits of them created by the artist and which were frequently reproduced, while Lenbach himself ascended to become a Painter Prince.
Tues. 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wed. to Sun. 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
By the Regionalbahn (regional train) to München Hauptbahnhof (Munich's main railway station). From there, you can either take U-Bahnlinie 2 (Underground Line 2) to Königsplatz or walk approx. 10 minutes to the museum.
Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus