Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig
art museum in Leipzig



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Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig
art museum in Leipzig
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Katharinenstraße 10

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig may look like an uninspired uniform rectangular building (which it is), but the art that resides in it is nowhere near as boring as its exterior façade.

Not to sounds like a total hater, but this is possibly the most architecturally boring art museum around. As much as I like complaining about it, I should probably tone in down, we're lucky that there's even a permanent building to house this impressive art collection.

This museum has had a bit of a turbulent history: Maximilian Speck von Sternburg was a total art fanatic and with the help of his wife, the two of them amassed a significant collection of 19th century French paintings, which became the basis for this museum's collection. Many other art collectors have generously donated pieces to the collection, but few triggered as much change as Adolf Heinrich Schletter who donated a massive amount of work on the condition that a museum be built to house the collection in the next five years. 

A museum was finally built and all was going well until 1937, when Nazis came in and confiscated 394 paintings and prints from their collection and labeled them degenerate art. Then eleven years later in 1948, the museum was destroyed by a British air raid as a result of WWII. For the next 61 years, the collection became a bit transient as it moved from one location to the other. Finally, probably due how ridiculous that was, Germany finally decided to cough up over $82 million and built the museum that exists today.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Museum der bildenden Künste

The Museum der bildenden Künste (German: "Museum of Fine Arts") is a museum in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. It covers artworks from the Late Middle Ages to Modernity.


Museum Foundation and First Museum

The museum dates back to the founding of the "Leipzig Art Association" by Leipzig art collectors and promoters in 1837, and had set itself the goal of creating an art museum. On 10 December 1848, the association was able to open the "Städtische Museum" in the first public school on the Moritzbastei. There were issued approximately hundred gathered and donated works of (at that time) contemporary art.

Through major donations including Maximilian Speck von Sternburg, Alfred Thieme and Adolf Heinrich Schletter the collection grew with time. In 1853, businessman and art collector Adolf Fer donated his collection under the condition that the city build a municipal museum within five years. Shortly before the deadline expired the museum was inaugurated on 18 December 1858. It was located on the Augustusplatz and was designed by Ludwig Lange in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Today, the Gewandhaus is located at its location. From 1880 to 1886 the building had been for the ever-growing collection extended by Hugo Licht. At the beginning of the 20th century, Fritz von Harck donated a part of his collection to the museum.

In 1937 the Nazis confiscated 394 paintings and prints mainly of Expressionism in the propaganda campaign Degenerate art. In the night of 4 December 1943, the building was destroyed by a British air raid. Much of the inventory had previously been brought to safety.

Dimitroff Museum and Interim Solutions

After the destruction of the building on Augustusplatz, the museum began a 61-year odyssey through several interim arrangements. After it was taken in 1948 in areas of the former Reichsbank in Petersstraße, it moved in 1952 into the building of the former Reichsgericht.

After the decision on the relocation of the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig in May 1992, the museum had to move again in August 1997 into an interim site in Handelshof. The collection was shown in limited form at the interim sites.

New building

In the mid 1990s, the city decided to give the museum back its own building. On 4 December 2004, exactly 61 years after the destruction of the "Städtischen Museum" on Augustusplatz, the new museum opened at the former Sachsenplatz (Saxony Square). The rectangular museum building cost 74.5 million euros and was designed by the architects Karl Hufnagel, Peter Pütz and Michael Rafaelian.

The Museum of Fine Arts was included in the Blue Book, published in 2001, which includes a list of nationally important cultural institutions in eastern Germany and comprises currently 20 so-called cultural lighthouses. As such, it is a member of the Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen. The Blue Book aims to highlight the importance of East German cultural heritage for the cultural heritage of Germany and Europe.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Museum der bildenden Künste.