In 2020, the Kunstmuseen Krefeld launched a new concept for the presentation of its collection that introduces the extensive holdings in a dynamic, varied way and with diverse themes. Under the title Collection in Motion, 15 stories line up like a string of pearls in the 15 rooms on the second floor of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum. Again and again, a new room emerges, and sculptures, paintings, and design objects come together to form other surprising stories. With this lively form of permanent presentation of the collection, interdisciplinary connections between art, design, and architecture can emerge and historical holdings can be reactivated under current questions.
An important landscape painting by the German Expressionist and Brücke painter Erich Heckel has entered the Kunstmuseen's collection presentation on permanent loan. Erich Heckel's biography and the history of his work After the Storm, which is on display at the KWM and has been loaned to the Kunstmuseen from private ownership, show close connections to Krefeld and the KWM. The painting was created in 1918, shortly before the end of Heckel's medical service in the First World War in the Belgian coastal town of Ostend. Around 1930, the Krefeld art collector and industrialist Hermann Lange bought the painting. In 1937, the Nazis classified Heckel's painting as "degenerate." Shortly after the end of the Second World War, in the winter of 1946/1947, Nach dem Sturm is shown in the exhibition Expressionism in Painting and Sculpture at the KWM. As part of Sammlung in Bewegung, the painting is now being made accessible to the public for the first time in decades.
Another new space will feature an abundance of a familiar object in a wide variety of shapes and colors: 100 Vases. The vase serves as a vessel for the decorative storage of flowers and bouquets of plants, linking nature with domestic living, the outside and the inside. Its appearance has been influenced by changing styles and fashions for centuries. A total of one hundred of over three hundred vases from the collection of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld will be on display. The selected vases come from several centuries of art and cultural history, from Greek antiquity to Baroque as well as Art Nouveau and Modernism. Some of the oldest vases from antiquity can be dated to around 530-540 BC. The most recent vase is a sculpture by the contemporary artist and sculptor Katharina Fritsch from 1987. The first vases were purchased in 1885 by the Museum Society, which already existed at that time, even before the foundation of the KWM in 1897.
A new room on the first floor of the KWM in cooperation with the Kunsthalle Bremen has been created for Collection in motion under the title Körperansichten (Body Views) on the male as well as female understanding of roles around 1900. Both museums are lending each other top works from their collections on a longer-term basis this year: Parliament, Sunset (1904) by Claude Monet is in Bremen, and in return, one painting each by Paula Modersohn-Becker and by Otto Modersohn are guests in Krefeld. The paintings Self-Portrait against a Green Background with Blue Iris (around 1905) by Paula Modersohn-Becker and Paula Modersohn in a Garden at Night (1902) by Otto Modersohn draw attention to how a young female artist perceived herself around 1900 and how the male gaze on the female body provides information about the understanding of roles at the time. Sculptures by Käthe Kollwitz, Gerhard Marcks, and Auguste Rodin from the collection of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld complement the presentation and deepen the focus on entrenched role images as revealed by views of the body in art around 1900.
Other rooms are thematically dedicated to, among others, the Becher School of Photography, the Deutscher Werkbund, Heinrich Campendonk or Pop Art.