From Art Nouveau to ZERO, from Claude Monet to Gerhard Richter – the collection of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld now encompasses circa 18,000 works from the Late Middle Ages to the present day and continues to grow.
Since its beginnings around 1900, contemporary art and design currents have always encountered each other afresh from differing perspectives in the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.
The historical heart of the collection is formed by the holdings of objects related to the Reform Movement and Art Nouveau, which brought art and everyday design closer together. Some of the exceptional highlights are the Werkbund collection founded by Karl Ernst Osthaus 1909, the German Museum for Art in Commerce and Industry in addition to numerous works by Peter Behrens, Henry van de Velde and Johan Thorn Prikker.
Examples of classic modern art are included with such important individual works as The Houses of Parliament in London (1904) by Claude Monet and Deluge (1912) by Vasily Kandinsky. Special focus is placed on the extensive groups of works by the Rhenish Expressionists and Constructivist artists like Piet Mondrian.
The composition of the collection after 1945 is closely linked to the progressive exhibition program of contemporary art that brought the relevant artistic movements of the post-war era to Krefeld, at first in Haus Lange since the early 1960s and from 1981 in Haus Esters as well. Alongside major collections of works by Yves Klein and Joseph Beuys, the collection juxtaposes central protagonists from the Rhenish art scene—from Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke to Katharina Fritsch, Thomas Schütte and Andreas Gursky—with international pioneers of contemporary art like Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Jeff Wall, Kiki Smith, Allora & Calzadilla and Elmgreen & Dragset.
Highlights of the 21st century collection can be seen on the second floor of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, including works by Richard Artschwager, matali crasset, Banz & Bowinkel, BLESS, Franck Bragigand, Michael Craig-Martin, Christian Falsnaes, Peter Halley, Tobias Hantmann , Herbert Hamak, Anton Henning, Annette Kelm, raumlaborberlin and David Reed.
On the first floor of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum the new permanent collection presentation Collection in Motion shows works by Arman, Thorvald Bindesböll, Heinrich Campendonk, Max Ernst, Erich Heckel, Alexey Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Klein, Sol LeWitt, among others. Heinrich Nauen, Helmut Macke, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, Auguste Rodin, Richard Serra, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Moritz von Schwind, Carl Spitzweg, Thomas Struth, Jean Tinguely, Andy Warhol and others.
The collection of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld is continuously studied and questioned based on ever-new perspectives by the museum’s staff as well as external scholars.
The objective of conservation work is the care of the precious items in the collection and their preservation of behalf of future generations.