The Kunstpalast

Civic Museum

The Kunstpalast has a rich tradition to its name, having been an art museum for more than 300 years.

As early as in the mid -19th century, the Verein zur Errichtung einer Gemäldegalerie zu Düsseldorf (society for the establishment of an art gallery in Düsseldorf) was founded. Its members – citizens, entrepreneurs and artists – declared a municipal gallery to be the “ultimate vital issue for Düsseldorf”. The initiative’s success transpired 50 years later: In 1913 the art museum, named Kunstmuseum, became reality. The museum’s first director, Karl Koetschau, aimed to introduce as many Düsseldorf citizens to art as possible. In keeping with its history, the Kunstpalast sees itself as a civic museum addressing and welcoming citizens from all walks of life.


Düsseldorf’s lively art scene thrives on the Academy of Art. The foundation of the Kunstpalast is owed to the successful collaboration between the Academy and Düsseldorf’s art-interested public. Since 1932 the Academy’s collection has been housed at the Ehrenhof. The holdings are composed of the Collection of Prints and Drawings and parts of the Gallery of Paintings of Elector Palatine Jan Wellem founded in 1710. Alongside the Academy of Art, the Museumsverein (museum society) and the artist’s society Künstler-Verein zur Veranstaltung von Kunstausstellungen (society for the realisation of art exhibitions) were involved when, together with E.ON AG, the foundation Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast was estalished in 1998. Its aim was to unite the Kunstmuseum, the Kunstpalast and the Robert Schumann Saal, which was erected in 1946.


View into the collection, Photo: Stefan Arendt, LVR-ZMB


In 1902, on the occasion of a major exhibition of industry, trade and art, the first Kunstpalast was erected at the Ehrenhof, which, encompassing today’s NRW Forum, the Tonhalle and the Rheinterrassen, was redesigned by Wilhelm Kreis in 1926 to form an ensemble of Art Deco buildings aimed at housing an exhibition on health care, social care and physical exercise. In 1928 the Kunstmuseum as well as the city’s arts and crafts museum took up premises at the Kunstpalast. Following extensive reconstruction work by Oswald Mathias Ungers, the museum was re-opened in 2001. Being among the city’s most appealing sights, the Ehrenhof has become a centre of attraction for many locals.


From Rubens and Richter through to razors. Hardly any other museum in Germany matches the wide range of our collection comprising more than 100,000 items. The Kunstpalast unites virtually all artistic genres and a variety of eras. Visitors are invited to embark on a journey through art history, starting with paintings, sculptures as well as prints and drawings from the medieval and modern periods through to Modernist classics and contemporary art. Applied arts and desgin objects as well as a unique glass collection complement the holdings to form a collection of an unparalleled diversity.