One focus of the collection is the abstract art of the 1960s and 1970s, including important works from both Geometrical Abstraction and Informel. Works by such European artists as François Morellet, Richard Paul Lohse and Blinky Palermo can be seen together with outstanding works of American Colour Field Painting by Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella. In addition the museum owns exceptional works from this period by the ZERO group of artists as well as Nouveaux Réalisme from the Cremer collection.
Since 1977 the Skulptur Projekte, the most important international exhibition of art in public spaces, has also been formative in terms of the collection. The LWL-Museum as initiator of the project manages both the sculptures remaining within public spaces and the Skulptur Projekte archive that consists of a large inventory of models, sketches and correspondence.
The Skulptur Projekte and the emblematic installation in the Lichthof led to the collection’s focus on sculpture and installation from the 1980s and 1990s. These include works by Nam June Paik, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Sherrie Levine and Olaf Metzel.
Works by Thomas Ruff, Annette Kelm and Omer Fast have been recently acquired to expand holdings of photography and video art, the newest area of the collection. The collection has also been further developed by purchases from the institution’s own exhibitions; enabling major works by Nina Canell and Katinka Bock from the exhibition “New Alchemy. Contemporary Art after Beuys” to remain in Münster. In addition works from the exhibitions by the winners of the Konrad von Soest Prize and Cremer Prize are regularly acquired for the collection.