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Report about the Museum Ludwig in Cologne (Germany)

The Museum Ludwig houses many important exhibits of 20th century art and contemporary art. The main attraction is the third largest Picasso collection in the world. The house is located in Cologne south of the main railway station between Rhine, Rheingarten and the Cologne Cathedral on the Heinrich-Böll-Platz. Below the square is the concert hall of the Kölner Philharmonie.

Museum Ludwig

Museum History

The museum goes back to two generous and art historically significant donations. In 1946 the lawyer, Josef Haubrich, from Cologne, bequeathed to the city a collection of works by German expressionists and representatives of classical modernism. He has saved the art described as "degenerate" before the national socialists. His collection was first included in the existing Wallraf-Richartz Museum.

In 1976, the city of Cologne was given another gift: the industrial and art collector Peter Ludwig, together with his wife Irene Ludwig, handed over a collection of 350 contemporary works. These included masterpieces of American pop art. In the gift agreement, it was agreed that the city would have to erect its own "Museum Ludwig" .

The city decided to build a new building in which the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, which had meanwhile become too small, was to be placed next to Haubrich's collection. The architects Peter Busman & Godfrid Haberer were commissioned with the design. The construction began in 1977, and the opening ceremony took place in September 1986. Since the museum Ludwig grew by further donations and purchases, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum 2001 from Platzgründen is moved into a newly erected building between the Cologne city hall and the festival hall Gürzenich. From this point onwards, the 8,000 square meters of exhibition space belonged to the Museum Ludwig alone.

The Collections

For chronological reasons, the permanent exhibition of the Haubrich Collection is the first. Here, works by representatives of German expressionism can be admired. These include, in particular, watercolors and paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Erich Heckel, August Macke, Karl Hofer and Heinrich Hoerle.

The largest pop art collection outside the US

The Ludwig couple has already been enthusiastic about American pop art at a time when it was still little known in Germany. This fact is due to the fact that works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselmann can be exhibited today. It is the largest pop art collection outside the US.

The Picasso Collection

Absolute highlight, however, is the Picasso Collection of Ludwigs. In 1994, they donated the work of the artist to the city 90 and 2001 to the reopening after the departure of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. The peculiarity of the collection is not only in its scope, but also in the fact that works from the various creative phases from Picasso's beginnings to the 1970s were brought together here. Printed graphics can be found as well as sculptures, ceramics and paintings. Peter and Irene Ludwig also invested in Russian art, especially in the Russian avant-garde from the time between 1905 and 1935. Over 600 works by Russian artists can be seen.

More special works

The other treasures include works by Max Beckmann, which are mostly from the possession of his friend and sponsor Lilly von Schnitzler. Lilly von Schnitzler sold the paintings to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in 1957. They were later taken over by the Ludwig Museum. In 1958 the Willy Strecker Collection (works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Henri Matisse etc.) was acquired. Between 1976 and 1988, parts of the collection of Günther and Carola Peill (works by Max Ernst, Willi Baumeister, Alexei of Jawlensky, etc.) were added.

The Photography Collection

An important part of the museum is also the "collection photography", which is based on the private ownership of the native Cologne Leo Fritz Gruber. He has organized photokina for many years and collected significant originals (e.g., from Man Ray). Some works were bought by the museum, others were given to the museum of Gruber and his wife. The collection also includes the "Agfa Foto-Historama", which documents the history of photography. The collections of Robert Lebeck and Daniela Mrazkova were purchased and integrated.

The museum stock is continually expanded by donations and new acquisitions. The focus is on contemporary art. The museum is supported by art patrons, sponsoring associations and foundations.

Special Exhibitions and Events

In addition to the permanent exhibitions, regular special exhibitions can be visited that are dedicated to individual themes and artists. Between 2012 and 2016, special exhibitions were held, among others, on Claes Oldenburg, David Hockney, Saul Steinberg, Andrea Fraser, Joe Baer, Oscar Tuacon, Joan Mitchell and Fernand Léger.

Apart from special tours as well as guided tours and workshops for school classes, various events are regularly organized. Worth mentioning here is the lecture series "KunstBewusst", in the context of which artists and critics will also be invited. Thomas Meinecke, Diedrich Diederichsen, Douglas Crimp, Katharina Sieverding and David Hockney were already guests. In "Art in Context", artists and art experts report on current topics.

Opening times and address

Every first Thursday of the month, the museum is open until 10 pm and concerts, performances, readings etc. are offered. For art-loving gourmets, the "Cultural Trio" is conceived: besides a museum tour, it includes a dinner in the restaurant of the museum and finally a visit to a concert at the Kölner Philharmonie. Anyone who wants to work as an artist and test his talent will be given the opportunity to do so in the "Ateliers für Erwachsene".

Address: Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Cologne
Opening times:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Wednesday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Thursday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Friday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Saturday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Sunday: 10: 00-18: 00 hrs.
Phone: 0221 22126165 Clock