Permanent Collection - Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig

Painting collection Old Masters
While initially concentrating on contemporary art, in the late 19th century the focus of the Leipzig collectors shifted to the works of Dutch painters of the 17th century. More than 400 paintings display the artistic skills of masters such as Frans Hals, Anton van Dyck and their contemporaries.
Works by old German masters constitute another highlight of the collection. About 60 works introduce the viewer to central ideas and imagery of Renaissance art in Germany. Especially noteworthy are the paintings by Lucas Cranach Snr and Lucas Cranach Jnr.
To a lesser degree, French, Italian and Spanish painters of the 15th - 18th centuries are also represented in the collection.

Painting collection New Masters
More than 750 works allow the visitor to trace the development of German art throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Major artistic schools and movements from Classicism, Romanticism, Impressionism to Symbolism and Expressionism form the art historical structure of the collection. Some of the best-known works of the German Romantic painter, Caspar David Friedrich, were acquired by the museum. Paintings by Max Klinger, an outstanding representative of Symbolism in Germany, form a significant and voluminous part of the collection. A whole room in the gallery is dedicated to the oeuvre of the Expressionist painter Max Beckmann.
In more recent decades the collecting activities of the museum focused on paintings by artists of the former East Germany. ‘Socialist Realism’, the style officially endorsed by the state, informed many of the works created between 1949 and 1989. Experimental works by young non-conformist East German artists were added to the collection primarily in the 1990s.

Sculpture collection
The collection has its origin in a series of plaster casts made from famous sculptures of antiquity and the Renaissance period. In 1912 the decision was taken to replace the plaster casts with contemporary sculptures. Today the Leipzig sculpture collection is, after Berlin and Dresden, the third largest in eastern Germany. In addition to its ca 800 sculptures, it boasts a vast collection of plaques and medals.
Sculptures from the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century occupy a central place in the collection. About 70 sculptures by Max Klinger command particular attention.
In general, the Leipzig collectors seem to have taken a rather conservative approach to emerging modernist trends in sculpture: relatively few works were bought from artists representing truly radical movements within German modernism. After the second world war and the foundation of the German Democratic Republic, primarily sculptures by artists from the main cultural centres Leipzig, Berlin and Dresden were acquired. Works of a politically didactic nature are shown in the collection alongside more experimental and intimate pieces.

Graphic collection
The graphic collection comprises more than 55,000 works. It includes prints and drawings by van Dyck, Hogarth, Chodowiecki, Bause and Beckmann.

Library
With approximately 100,000 tomes, the library of the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest museum libraries in Germany. Having evolved from generous donations of books from Leipzig citizens to the Kunstverein of the city, the library expanded simultaneously with the museum.
The library has extensive literature related to the art collections of the museum. It also has a vast collection of national and foreign literature on the history of European art and culture, with an emphasis on the 17th – 19th centuries. The library is very well-known for its collection of rare art monographs and exhibition catalogues.
The library is open to the public and has a modern reading room equipped with audio-visual facilities. On request, staff give visitors advice on the efficient usage of the library’s various book collections. If you intend to carry out lengthy academic research at the library, please contact the library in advance to ensure quick access to the required literature.



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