|Established||20 August 1869|
|Owner||Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg|
|Public transit access||Hauptbahnhof Nord|
The name 'Kunsthalle' indicates the museum's history as an 'art hall' when founded in 1850. Today, the Kunsthalle houses one of the few art collections in Germany that covers seven centuries of European art, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The Kunsthalle's permanent collections focus on North German painting of the 14th century, and paintings by Dutch, Flemish and Italian artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, French and German drawings and paintings of the 19th century, and international modern and contemporary art.
The Kunsthalle has its origins in 1849, when established and opened a year later as 'Städtische Gallerie' (municipal painting gallery) by the Hamburg Kunstverein, which was founded in 1817. The collection grew quickly, and it soon became necessary to provide a building. The original red brick Kunsthalle was built from 1863 to 1869, designed by architects Georg Theodor Schirrmacher and Hermann von der Hude, and financed largely through private donations. The first director became the art historian and educator Alfred Lichtwark (1852-1914). His successor during the interwar period was Gustav Pauli, who also oversaw the completion of the Kuppelsaal (domed-hall) extension, the Kunsthalle's first annex, designed by Fritz Schumacher and erected between 1914 and 1921.
In 1994, one painting of the Kunsthalle was involved in the so-called Frankfurt art theft. While on loan to the Kunsthalle Schirn in Frankfurt, the painting Nebelschwaden by Caspar David Friedrich was stolen. After negotiations with the thieves, a lawyer bought back the painting; when the Kunsthalle refused to pay him the agreed "consideration", he sued and won. In 1997, the Kunsthalle received, the 'Galerie der Gegenwart', a 5,600 square metres (60,000 sq ft) extension, designed by Cologne architect Oswald Mathias Ungers and dedicated to the Kunsthalle's contemporary art collections. The cubic building sits on a monolithic base at a prominent location in close proximity to the Binnenalster.
Since 2014, the Kunsthalle is under a euro 22 million renovation, in which the old main entrance is being re-activated as sole entrance for the entire complex, planned to be reopened in April 2016.
The Kunsthalle is divided into four different sections: the Gallery of Old Masters, the Gallery of 19th-century Art, the Gallery of Classical Modernism and the Gallery of Contemporary Art.
The highlights of the collection include the medieval alters of Master Bertram and Master Francke, 17th-century Dutch paintings, works of early to mid 19th century German Romanticism, and collections of impressionism and classic modernism. The Kunsthalle Museum is also known for its international contemporary art collections and exhibitions, which include post-1950 Pop Art, conceptual art, video art and photography.
The Old Masters Collection shows works by Bartel Beham, Bernardo Bellotto, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Master Francke, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Johann Georg Hinz, Jan Massys, Giambattista Pittoni, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, among others.
The Gallery of 19th-century art shows work by Carl Blechen, Arnold Böcklin, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Anselm Feuerbach, Caspar David Friedrich, Jean-Léon Gerome, Wilhelm Leibl, Max Liebermann, Édouard Manet, Adolph Menzel, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin and Philipp Otto Runge, among others.
C. D. Friedrich:
The Sea of Ice (1824)
Jacob Restaurant (1902)
Breton Boys Bathing (1888)
The Classical Modernism gallery shows works by Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, James Ensor, Max Ernst, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde and Pablo Picasso, among others.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner:
Self-portrait with model (1910)
Revolution of the Viaduct (1937)
The Gallery of contemporary art shows works by Joseph Beuys, Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Rebecca Horn, Ilya Kabakov, On Kawara, Yves Klein, Kitty Kraus, Robert Morris, Hermann Nitsch, George Segal, Richard Serra, Franz Erhard Walther and Andy Warhol, among others.
The Hamburg Kunsthalle continuisly carries out temporary exhibitions on contemporary and historic art, in addition to its constant rotation of temporary exhibitions. Yearly there are on average 20 special exhibitions.