Modernism forms one of the most significant cores of the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur’s collection. The artists August Macke and Josef Albers are exemplary of the collection’s wide range, from Expressionism on the one hand to Geometrical Abstraction on the other.
An Expressionist picture entered the collection as early as 1908, the year the museum opened, in the form of the purchase of the painting “Burchard’s Garden” by Emil Nolde. Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) was also represented in the collection from an early date, when Münster born artist Melchior Lechter’s stained glass panels were built into the museum’s Lichthof and whose estate the museum administers. Until the 1920s works were entering the collection by Christian Rohlfs, Wilhelm Morgner and Peter August Böckstiegel together with those of Paula Modersohn-Becker and her Westphalian husband Otto Modersohn, partly as gifts by the Münster born art dealer Alfred Flechtheim.
In 1953 the museum’s then director Walther Greischel founded the “Modern Gallery”, systematically closing gaps in the collection’s range by abandoning the focus on Westphalian artists which had been the case until then. Further modern works were gradually acquired for the institution. Bernhard Pankok should be mentioned in terms of Jugendstil, and Max Slevogt, Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann are representative of German Impressionism. The already existent collection of Westphalian Expressionists was supplemented by painters from the Brücke circle of artists as well as those from Blauer Reiter. The beginnings of Geometrical Abstraction are well documented in the works of Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers, whilst Neue Sachlichkeit is represented by works from Georg Scholz, Franz Radziwill and Otto Dix.
Subsequent to 1945 artists sought to create links with the directions of pre-war Modernism. The Informel painters Emil Schumacher, Karl Otto Goetz and Bernhard Schulze found them in expressive gestures, whilst such artists as Richard Paul Lohse and Blinky Palermo discovered them in further developing Geometrical Abstraction.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German research association) is currently supporting the digitalisation of August Macke’s sketchbooks, which have been in the care of the Landesmuseum since they were left to it as part of the artist’s estate in 1957.