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City Collection

From 1920 onward, as the collection was being built, the initial acquisitions by Ernst Barlach, August Macke, Emil Nolde, Käthe Kollwitz, and Christian Rohlfs became the foundation for a collection of modern art. Special support was afforded to artists whose lives and work were connected to Mülheim, such as Werner Gilles, Werner Graeff, Arthur Kaufmann, Otto Pankok, and Heinrich Siepmann, and many of their extensive groups of works can be seen.
After enduring great losses in World War II, the collection of classic modernists was rebuilt with masterpieces by Max Beckmann, Heinrich Campendonk, Max Ernst, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Paul Klee. In this context, the three paintings by Karl Hofer and Emil Nolde that had been confiscated for being “degenerate” and then sold abroad were repurchased and brought back.
Most recently, this part of the collection has been enhanced by the addition of a painting by Hannah Höch. This acquisition was made possible by the Förderkreis (Friends of the Museum), which has been supporting the Kunstmuseum’s collection efforts since 1979. In conjunction with several exhibitions, works by internationally known artists such as Siegfried Anzinger, Dorothee Golz, Robert Lucander, and Thomas Zipp have been acquired. Since 2019, the Kunstmuseum has owned a group of works by Joseph Beuys, consisting of one hundred posters and briefer writings from the collection of the physician and art historian Axel Hinrich Murken. Along with the gifts and acquisitions from artists’ estates, the collection—including contemporary art—continues to grow.