Kunst Museum Bonn
|Art museums||Kunst Museum Bonn|
|About the Museum||The Kunstmuseum Bonn evolved from the Villa Obernier City Museum, founded in 1884. In Germany’s museum setting, it plays a specific role. Only here at this location is the history of German art after 1945 comprehensible in such quantitative concentration, a magnificent multi-layered fund of works for which Axel Schultes’ architecture offers an ideal frame. In this highly praised construction that opened its doors in 1992, the Kunstmuseum Bonn formulates its claim to international class. In immediate proximity, the Art and Exhibition Hall of the German Republic, with no permanent collection of its own, puts on international expositions of many different types. To its other side, the History Museum operates its own popular program; its main theme is to portray the development of the Federal Republic of Germany after 1945 – the Bonn Republic. The Kunstmuseum Bonn is incontestably a place of aesthetic experience, a space reserved for the visual arts.
The collections and the dimensions of the museum reflect this orientation. The aim of its collections are: art from 1900 up to tomorrow. The museum is implicitly directed toward the future. The collections have their specific focal points like that of the Rhenish Expressionists, the art of the 50s in the Federal Republic, but above all the 60s, 70s, 80s and the beginning 90s. The museum does concentrate on German art but this does not exclude the fact that – like Robert Delaunay in the section on Macke – international examples of exceptional post-’45 art are also shown, e.g., the Englishman Richard Long in combination with Blinky Palermo, Beuys with Fontana, Kounellis and Merz.
The Kunstmuseum concentrates on focal points that have evolved over the years and were already laid down in Bonn’s cultural politics of the 50s and 60s, namely German art and its international ties. This German art is centered on few names. Whole blocks were collected, work groups assembled, whether from Baselitz, Beuys, Darboven, Kiefer, Knoebel, Laib, Palermo, Penck, Polke, Richter, etc. There is no other place in the world where post-’45 German art can be studied so choicely, so particularly and so concisely as in Bonn. This objective will remain the same in the future. However, it has for many years been complemented by an internationally active Graphic Collection, whose serial works on paper include those of Beuys (as well as his multiples), Max Ernst’s illustrated books and graphic works (Bolliger Collection), etc., as well as the video collection (Oppenheim Collection). For the past two and a half years, these focal points have been expanded to include the art of photography. In just this way our art museum has also grown to become a meeting place for discussions, lectures and entertainment in other media like video, film, music, theater.
|Museum Collections||20th-Century Art The core of the museum’s collection consists of a representative survey of German art since 1945, with an emphasis on works by August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists. The museum began its systematic collecting activities after the Second World War with the work of August Macke, who lived in Bonn from 1900 onwards. The collection was extended with works by the Rhenish Expressionists, H. Campendonk, H. Thuar and the young Max Ernst, whose pictures were shown at an exhibition in Bonn (1913) organised by Macke.
As a result of the museum’s acquisition policy, its holding of German art since 1945 is significant and thus receives pride of place in the museum. Works on view include those by young German artists which the Kunstmuseum collected and exhibited in its early days. When some of these artists gained a world-wide reputation, such as Beuys and his pupils at the Academy of Düsseldorf, the museum changed its collecting strategy and began to concentrate on the work of individual artists, such as Richter, Polke, Knoebel, Palermo, Ruthenbeck, Rückriem and Droese.
One of the museum’s greatest acquisitions is the extensive collection of Beuys’ ‘Multiples’ of 1965-1986. Neo-Expressionist figurative painting is represented by the work of Kiefer, Baselitz and Penck. Thanks to Ingrid Oppenheim, the museum owns an important stock of international art videos on view to the public at the Video Centre Ingrid Oppenheim. Finally the Kunstmuseum’s holdings include a collection of international graphic art of the 20th century.