The Museum Ludwig, in the immediate vicinity of the main train station and the Cologne Cathedral, is perhaps Cologne’s most famous museum and enjoys international renown.
It was founded in 1976 with a donation of some 350 works of modern art to the city of Cologne by Peter and Irene Ludwig. Conceived by the Cologne architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer, in 1986 the “double museum” consisting of the Wallraf Richartz Museum and the Museum Ludwig opened. In 1994 it was decided to separate the two institutions. From this point on, the building on Bischofsgartenstraße would be entirely dedicated to the Museum Ludwig.
Today the collection of the Museum Ludwig includes the most important artists of the twentieth century and contemporary art. The Cologne lawyer Dr. Josef Haubrich (1889–1961) laid the foundation of the collection. Immediately after World War II, in May 1946, he donated to the city of Cologne his collection of works of Expressionism (including Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, and Otto Mueller) and other representatives of modernism (Marc Chagall, Otto Dix).
After Barcelona and Paris, the Museum Ludwig is home to the world’s third-largest Picasso collection. The museum also holds Europe’s most extensive Pop Art collection (including paintings, objects, and environments by Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Warhol, and Wesselmann). The museum’s collection of over 600 Russian avant-garde works from 1905 to 1930 is also renowned. Less well known and not represented in the same numbers, but nonetheless important for the museum’s profile, are the works by artists from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
With Gerhard Richter: New Paintings (February 9 – May 1, 2017) and Otto Freundlich: Cosmic Communism (February 18 – May 14, 2017), the Museum Ludwig is presenting important exhibitions. Over the coming year, works from the collection of Wolfgang Hahn as well as the artists Reena Spaulings, Trisha Donnelly, Werner Mantz, and James Rosenquist will be shown.