Museum der bildenden Künste
The Museum der bildenden Künste (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: "Museum of Fine Arts") is a museum in Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. On 7,000 square meters of display area, 3,500 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and 60,000 graphical works are shown. It covers artworks from the Late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

 to Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...


Museum Foundation and First Museum

The museum dates back to the founding of the "Leipzig Art Association" by Leipzig art collectors and promoters in 1837, and had set itself the goal of creating an art museum. On 10 December 1848, the association was able to open the "Städtische Museum" in the first public school on the Moritzbastei. There were issued approximately hundred gathered and donated works of (at that time) contemporary art.

Through major donations including Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, Alfred Thieme and Adolf Heinrich Schletter the collection grew with time. In 1853, businessman and art collector Adolf Heinrich Schletter donated his collection under the condition that the city build a municipal museum within five years. Shortly before the deadline expired the museum was inaugurated on 18 December 1858. It was located on the Augustusplatz
The Augustusplatz is a square located at the east end of the city centre of Leipzig. It is the city's largest square and one of the largest squares in Germany...

 and was designed by Ludwig Lange in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Today, the Gewandhaus
Gewandhaus is a concert hall in Leipzig, Germany. Today's hall is the third to bear this name; like the second, it is noted for its fine acoustics. The first Gewandhaus was built in 1781 by architect Johann Carl Friedrich Dauthe. The second opened on 11 December 1884, and was destroyed in the...

 is located at its location. From 1880 to 1886 the building had been for the ever-growing collection extended by Hugo Licht. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Fritz von Harck donated a part of his collection to the museum.

In 1937 the Nazis confiscated 394 paintings and prints mainly of Expressionism
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

 in the propaganda campaign Degenerate art
Degenerate art
Degenerate art is the English translation of the German entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were...

. In the night of 4 December 1943, the building was destroyed by a British air raid. Much of the inventory had previously been brought to safety.

Dimitroff Museum and Interim Solutions

After the destruction of the building on Augustusplatz
The Augustusplatz is a square located at the east end of the city centre of Leipzig. It is the city's largest square and one of the largest squares in Germany...

, the museum began a 61-year odyssey through several interim arrangements. After it was taken in 1948 in areas of the former Reichsbank
Former Reichsbank building
The former Reichsbank building is a building in Berlin, Germany, originally built in 1934–38 to house the Reichsbank, and today housing part of the Foreign Office....

 in Petersstraße, it moved in 1952 into the building of the former Reichsgericht
The Reichsgericht was the highest court of the Deutsches Reich. It was established on October 1, 1879 when the Reichsjustizgesetze came into effect, building a widely regarded body of jurisprudence....


After the decision on the relocation of the Federal Administrative Court
Federal Administrative Court of Germany
The Federal Administrative Court is one of the five federal supreme courts of Germany. It is the court of the last resort for generally all cases of administrative law, mainly disputes between citizens and the state...

 in Leipzig in May 1992, the museum had to move again in August 1997 into an interim site in Handelshof. The collection was shown in limited form at the interim sites.

New Building

By the mid-1990s, the city decided to give the museum back their own building. On 4 December 2004, exactly 61 years after the destruction of the "Städtischen Museum" on Augustusplatz, opened the new museum at the former Sachsenplatz (Saxony Square). The rectangular building of the museum cost 74.5 million euros and was designed by the architect Karl Hufnagel, Peter Pütz and Michael Rafaelian.

The Museum of Fine Arts was included in the Blue Book, published in 2001, which includes a list of nationally important cultural institutions in eastern Germany and comprises currently 20 so-called cultural lighthouses. As such, it is a member of the Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen
Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen
The Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen or Conference of National Cultural Institutions is a union of more than twenty cultural organizations in the former East Germany...

. The Blue Book aims to highlight the importance of East German cultural heritage for the cultural heritage of Germany and Europe.


Today's collection includes approximately 3,500 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and 60,000 graphic sheets.OIt includes works from the Late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

 to the present, focusing on Old German
German art
German art has a long and distinguished tradition in the visual arts, from the earliest known work of figurative art to its current output of contemporary art....

 and Early Netherlandish
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

 art of the 15th and 16th Century, Italian art
Art of Italy
The history of Italian art is in many ways also the history of Western art. After Etruscan civilization and especially the Roman Republic and Empire that dominated this part of the world for many centuries, Italy was central to European art during the Renaissance. Italy also saw European artistic...

 from the 15th to 18th Century, Dutch art of the 17th Century, French art
French art of the 19th century
19th-century French art was made in France or by French citizens during the following political regimes: Napoleon Bonaparte's Consulate and Empire , the Restoration under Louis XVIII and Charles X , the July Monarchy under Louis Philippe d'Orléans , the Second Republic , the Second Empire under...

 of the 19th and German art
German art
German art has a long and distinguished tradition in the visual arts, from the earliest known work of figurative art to its current output of contemporary art....

 from the 18th to 20th Century.

Important parts of the collection are works by Dutch and German Old Masters like Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

 and Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

, Romantics
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 like Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning...

, and representatives of the Düsseldorf school of painting such as Andreas Achenbach
Andreas Achenbach
Andreas Achenbach was a German landscape painter.Born at Kassel, he began his art education in 1827 in Düsseldorf under Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow at the Düsseldorf Academy of Painting. He studied at St Petersburg and travelled in Italy, Holland and Scandinavia...

. The highlight of the sculpture collection presents the Beethoven sculpture by Max Klinger
Max Klinger
Max Klinger was a German Symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer.Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel and Goya, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right. He began creating sculptures in the early 1880s...

. For the comprehensive work of Max Klinger and Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann
Max Beckmann was a German painter, draftsman, printmaker, sculptor, and writer. Although he is classified as an Expressionist artist, he rejected both the term and the movement...

 a separate floor is devoted.

In the field of Modern Art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

, the museum is primarily to closed factory look of the Leipzig School by artists such as Werner Tübke
Werner Tübke
Werner Tübke was a German painter, best known for his monumental Peasants' War Panorama located in Bad Frankenhausen.-Early Bourgeois Revolution in Germany:...

, Bernhard Heisig, and Wolfgang Mattheuer or larger stocks of the international currently very popular artists Neo Rauch
Neo Rauch
Neo Rauch is a German artist whose paintings mine the intersection of his personal history with the politics of industrial alienation. His work reflects the influence of socialist realism, and owes a debt to Surrealists Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte, although Rauch hesitates to align...

 and Daniel Richter
Daniel Richter
Daniel Richter is a German artist based in Berlin and Hamburg. He attended Hochschule für bildendende Künste Hamburg from 1991-1995.- Life and work :...


However, large vacancies in this division of this international field are present. These resulted historically from the GDR period and due to the tight financial situation of the city (the purchase of the museum's budget for 2005 amounted to only 75,000 euros) and can not easily made up. The museum tries to address this problem by experimenting with unusual combinations of works from different eras, which aims to provide visitors with new perspectives.

In the future the museum will be dependent on the expansion of its inventory from donations and permanent loans. The 19th Century tradition begun with generous foundations, which itself led only to the founding of the museum, and therefore sits down even in the 21st Century. On the occasion of the opening of the new museum building, in 2004 the art collector couple Dr. Hans-Peter Bühler and Marion Buehler-Brockhaus donated 41 works by French artists, including Jean-Baptiste Corot, Charles-François Daubigny
Charles-François Daubigny
Charles-François Daubigny was one of the painters of the Barbizon school, and is considered an important precursor of Impressionism....

, Jean-François Millet
Jean-François Millet
Jean-François Millet was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France...

, Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

, Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas[p] , born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist...

 and Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

. This shows the development of the art of the 19th Century by the Barbizon School
Barbizon school
The Barbizon school of painters were part of a movement towards realism in art, which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 through 1870...

 to Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

. Recently, the museum received from the BMW, which is culturally engaged since the new Leipzig plant in the city, the photo collection "AutoWerke" (Car Works). For the greatest benetactors a mosaic is dedicated as a token of gift and is on display in the foyer.


  • Leipziger Volkszeitung Journal, Sonderbeilage zur Eröffnung des neuen Bildermuseums vom 3. Dezember 2004.
  • Bode, Peter M.: Das Haus der tausend Räume, in: Art-Magazin 12/2004, S. 19-31.
  • Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig (Hrsg.): Corot bis Monet: Von Barbizon zum Impressionismus, Schenkung Bühler-Brockhaus an das Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig ISBN 3-00-011003-8

External links

Official page
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