Museum Ludwig

Last updated
Museum Ludwig
Logo Museum Ludwig.svg
Museum Ludwig
Location Cologne, Germany
Collection sizeSammlung Haubrich
Sammlung Ludwig
Director Yilmaz Dziewior  [ de ] [1]
Public transit access 5 16 18 Köln Hbf
Museum Ludwig Museum Ludwig 001.jpg
Museum Ludwig
Museum Ludwig and Cologne cathedral at night Museum Ludwig 002.jpg
Museum Ludwig and Cologne cathedral at night

Museum Ludwig, located in Cologne, Germany, houses a collection of modern art. It includes works from Pop Art, Abstract and Surrealism, and has one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe. It holds many works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.



The museum emerged in 1976 as an independent institution from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. That year the chocolate magnate Peter Ludwig agreed to endow 350 modern artworks—then valued at $45 million [2] —and in return the City of Cologne committed itself to build a dedicated "Museum Ludwig" for works made after the year 1900. The recent building, which was designed by architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer opened in 1986 near the Cologne Cathedral. [3] The new building first became home to both the Wallraf Richartz Museum as well as Museum Ludwig. In 1994, it was decided to separate the two institutions and to place the building on Bischofsgartenstrasse at the sole disposal of Museum Ludwig. In 1999 Steve Keene painted in the museum.

The building is also home to the Kölner Philharmonie. The Heinrich-Böll-Platz, a public square designed by Dani Karavan, is above the concert hall at the north-east of the building. During concerts people are not permitted to walk on the square, as it creates acoustic disturbances for the concert-goers below. [4]

In 2016 the museum joined forces with the Bell Art Center to organize an unofficial retrospective of Anselm Kiefer, which opened at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. The last stop on the tour in China was to be the new Jupiter Museum of Art in Shenzhen, but a delayed museum opening caused the works to be put into storage. At this point the museum lost track of the pieces and began to search for them. In January 2020 they finally located the pieces in a warehouse in Shenzhen and attempted to retrieve the piece. They were stopped, however, by Chinese authorities. Diplomatic action has been undertaken by the German Government, the City of Koblenz, and Kiefer himself, to secure the return of the pieces, which include the monumental work Pasiphae. [5]


The museum essentially incorporates the Sammlung Haubrich, a collection by lawyer Josef Haubrich of art from the years 1914 to 1939 donated to the city of Cologne on 2 May 1946. Directly after World War II, in May 1946, Haubrich presented the city with his Expressionism collection (Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Otto Mueller) and works by other representatives of Classical Modernism (Marc Chagall, Otto Dix). The second integral part of the museum is the Sammlung Ludwig, a collection of art by Picasso, Russian avant-garde and American Pop-art artists. With around 900 works by Picasso, the museum today has the third largest collection of this artist worldwide, after Barcelona and Paris. In addition, Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene later put their collection of the Russian avant-garde on permanent loan to the museum, including 600 works from the period 1905 to 1935 by artists such as Kasimir Malevich, Ljubov Popova, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, and Alexander Rodchenko. Today the museum houses the most comprehensive collection of early Russian avant-garde artworks outside Russia. [6] [7]


Selected works of the collection

Wolfgang Hahn Prize

Since 1994 the Friends of the Museum Ludwig have honoured each year an international artist with the ‘Wolfgang Hahn Prize’, presented during the city's art fair Art Cologne. Both the annual highlight of the Friends' activities and one of the cultural features of Cologne and the Rhineland, this purchase prize is dedicated to the memory of Wolfgang Hahn (1924–1987), chief conservator and painting restorer at Wallraf Richartz Museum / Museum Ludwig and one of Cologne's most far-sighted collectors. The budget for the prize amounts to a maximum of 100,000 euros per annum. The museum also acquires a work from each prizewinner. [8]

An international jury chooses from the nominations submitted by the members. The Wolfgang Hahn Prize has been awarded to the following artists:


Nazi looted art

In 1999 the museum returned the painting Zwei weibliche Halbakte (Two Female Nudes ) (1919) by Otto Mueller to the heirs of Dr. Ismar Littmann. [11] In February 2000 the museum returned La Grappe de Raisins (1920) by Louis Marcoussis (1883–1941) to the family of El Lissitzky and Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers. [11] In 2013 the city of Cologne agreed that the Ludwig Museum should restitute six valuable drawings looted by the Nazis from the Jewish art collector Alfred Flechtheim to his heirs. The drawings are by Karl Hofer, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Ernst Barlach, Aristide Maillol and Wilhelm Morgner. [12] The Ludwig Museum also agreed to restitute five drawings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Georges Kars to the heirs of Curt Glaser. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Kazimir Malevich Ukrainian artist and painter

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Polish-Ukrainian Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist, whose pioneering work and writing had a profound influence on the development of non-objective art in the 20th century. Born in Kyiv to an ethnic Polish family, his concept of Suprematism sought to develop a form of expression that moved as far as possible from the world of natural forms (objectivity) and subject matter in order to access "the supremacy of pure feeling" and spirituality. Malevich is considered to be part of the Ukrainian avant-garde that was shaped by Ukrainian-born artists who worked first in Ukraine and later over a geographical span between Europe and America.

Natalia Goncharova Russian-French artist (1881–1962)

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer. Goncharova's lifelong partner was fellow Russian avant-garde artist Mikhail Larionov. She was a founding member of both the Jack of Diamonds (1909–1911), Moscow's first radical independent exhibiting group, the more radical Donkey's Tail (1912–1913), and with Larionov invented Rayonism (1912–1914). She was also a member of the German-based art movement Der Blaue Reiter. Born in Russia, she moved to Paris in 1921 and lived there until her death.

Wallraf–Richartz Museum Museum in Cologne, Germany

The Wallraf–Richartz Museum is one of the three major museums in Cologne, Germany. It houses an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period to the early twentieth century.

Knave of Diamonds (Russian arts association) Russian artistic group

Knave of Diamonds, also called Jack Of Diamonds, was a circle of avant-garde artists in Russia, heavily influenced by French styles, who sought "to unite the stylistic system of Cezanne with the primitive traditions of folk art, the Russian lubok and tradesman's signs." Named for the eponymous exhibition held in Moscow in 1910, the group's intention was to provoke the art establishment in Russia, challenge "good taste," and shock. The group remained active until December 1917.

Otto Mueller German painter and printmaker

Otto Müller was a German painter and printmaker of the Die Brücke expressionist movement.

Cubo-Futurism Russian art movement

Cubo-Futurism was an art movement that arose in early 20th century Russian Empire, defined by its amalgamation of the artistic elements found in Italian Futurism and French Analytical Cubism. Cubo-Futurism was the main school of painting and sculpture practiced by the Russian Futurists. In 1913, the term ‘Cubo-Futurism’ first came to describe works from members of the poetry group ‘Hylaeans’, as they moved away from poetic Symbolism towards Futurism and zaum, the experimental “visual and sound poetry of Kruchenykh and Khlebninkov”. Later in the same year the concept and style of ‘Cubo-Futurism’ became synonymous with the works of artists within Ukrainian and Russian post-revolutionary avant-garde circles as they interrogated non-representational art through the fragmentation and displacement of traditional forms, lines, viewpoints, colours, and textures within their pieces. The impact of Cubo-Futurism was then felt within performance art societies, with Cubo-Futurist painters and poets collaborating on theatre, cinema, and ballet pieces that aimed to break theatre conventions through the use of nonsensical zaum poetry, emphasis on improvisation, and the encouragement of audience participation.

Mikhail Larionov Russian painter and costume and set designer

Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov was an avant-garde Russian painter who worked with radical exhibitors and pioneered the first approach to abstract Russian art. His lifelong partner was fellow avant-garde artist, Natalia Goncharova.

Nadezhda Udaltsova Russian artist (1886–1961)

Nadezhda Andreevna Udaltsova was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter and teacher.

The "Sonderbund" — as it is normally called; its complete name being Sonderbund westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler, and also known as Sonderbund group — was a "special union" of artists and art lovers, established 1909 in Düsseldorf and dissolved in 1916. In its first years, the Sonderbund mounted some landmark exhibitions, successfully introducing French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern Art to the western parts of Germany.


Mumok is a museum in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, Austria.

Michail Grobman

Michail Grobman is an artist and a poet working in Israel and Russia. He is father to Hollywood producer Lati Grobman and Israeli architect Yasha Jacob Grobman.

Trisha Donnelly is a contemporary artist who is particularly well known as a conceptual artist. Donnelly works with various media including photography, drawing, audio, video, sculpture and performance. Donnelly is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Studio Art at New York University. She currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Melaten cemetery Cemetery in Cologne, Germany

Melaten is the central cemetery of Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, which was first mentioned in 1243. It was developed to a large park, holding the graves of notable residents.

Cologne School of Painting

The term Cologne School of Painting was first applied in the 19th century to describe old German paintings generally. It subsequently came to refer more specifically to painters who had their workshops in medieval Cologne and the lower-Rhine region from about 1300 to 1550.

Lewis Stein

Lewis Stein is an American visual artist living in New York City.

Alexander Vömel, or Voemel, was a German gallery owner and Nazi party member who took over the gallery of the Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim when it was Aryanized in 1933.

Hans Wilhelm Hupp (1896–1943) was a German art historian, author and curator. From 1933 to 1943 he directed the Museum Kunstpalast of the city of Düsseldorf..

<i>Female Half-Length Nude with Hat</i> Painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Female Half-Length Nude with Hat is an oil on canvas painting by German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, executed in 1911. It his held at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.


  1. Ludwig, Museum. "Team". Museum Ludwig, Köln (in German). Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. Wilson, William (July 12, 1987). "A Whiff Of Modernism In Cologne". Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  3. Eric Pace (July 23, 1996), Peter Ludwig, 71, German Art Collector, Dies New York Times .
  4. Hendorf, Matthias (30 November 2018). "Musik in der Philharmonie: Ein Wachdienst für Jahrzehnte am Heinrich-Böll-Platz". Kölnische Rundschau (in German). Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  5. Brown, Kate. "A German Museum Director Tracked Down 6 Missing Works by Anselm Kiefer in a Chinese Warehouse. But China Is Blocking Their Return". Artnet. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  6. Jeevan Vasagar (26 October 2001), Cologne museum to get 774 Picassos The Guardian.
  7. Hickley, Catherine (2020-09-30). "A Museum Puts Its Fakes on Show". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2021-03-30. COLOGNE, Germany — Museums don’t usually advertise fakes in their collections. But the Museum Ludwig here is exposing them to public scrutiny in a taboo-breaking new exhibition. The paintings on show in “Russian Avant-Garde at the Museum Ludwig: Original and Fake” are all ostensibly by artists from that radical movement of the early 20th century. Yet displayed alongside bona fide works by renowned artists like Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and Natalia Goncharova are paintings whose previous attributions museum researchers now reject.
  8. Henrik Olesen: Wolfgang Hahn Prize COLOGNE 2012 Archived 2012-05-10 at the Wayback Machine Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
  9. "John Miller Awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize". Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  10. Palm, Stefan (2011-11-08). "Hauptausschuss fällt wichtige Personalentscheidungen. Abschluss der Verträge für Chefs von Museum Ludwig und Schauspiel beschlossen". Stadt Köln – Amt für Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  11. 1 2 "Museum Ludwig, Köln (Ludwig Museum, Cologne)". Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  12. 1 2 "City of Cologne Will Return Nazi-Looted Art to Heir of Jewish Collector". JTA. Retrieved 2021-04-28.

Further reading

Coordinates: 50°56′27″N6°57′37″E / 50.94083°N 6.96028°E / 50.94083; 6.96028