Profile - K20 K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

Because of its superior collection, the Kunstsammlung has long enjoyed an outstanding position in the international world of museums. Its focus is on Western European and American modern art. K20 owns excellent individual works from Pablo Picasso to Joseph Beuys, and a large number of Surrealist works. The Kunstsammlung collection includes some 100 works by Paul Klee, and there is a major collection of drawings and works in India ink by Julius Bissier. After World War II the essential focus of the collection is on American art.

European painting, with works by Gerhard Richter, Per Kirkeby und Markus Lüpertz, is another highlight. We should also emphasise the Joseph Beuys collection, with the late major work ‘Palazzo Regale’. The collection is at present complemented by the Günter Ulbricht collection, one of the artist’s last great work-complexes.

K21 features international art from 1980. With large and important works by Marcel Broodthaers und Nam June Paik, it sums up specific points of origin in the 60s and 70s. The first works of contemporary art were acquired during the foundation and opening phase of the new building. These essentially include photographic works by Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth and Jeff Wall, but also a video installation by Eija-Liisa Athila and a sculptural work by Thomas Schütte. In July 2004 the young museum was considerably enlarged, and in a tailor-made fashion, with the acquisition of the Ackermans collection by the region of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Having been assembled since the 80s, the collection now juxtaposes works which give outstanding visual form significant aspects of art since the beginnings of postmodernism. And in its concentration on sculpture and object art on the one hand, and photography on the other, the collection clearly demonstrates the close connection between German and international art during this period. There are well over 100 works, some of them in large formats. At the centre of the collection are works which show a reawakened interest in figuration, narrative, metaphor and a fascination with powerful images.

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