Roy Lichtenstein's M-Maybe, Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes and George Segal's Restaurant Window, all icons of American Pop Art, had all just been completed when in 1969 they arrived as a loan at Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. The works come from Peter and Irene Ludwig, who had put together the largest Pop Art collection outside of the USA. The Museum Ludwig is devoted to modern art from the beginning of the 20th century. On top of the permanent collections, discover quality temporary exhibitions.
A museum linked to chocolate and music
The museum emerged in 1976 as an independent institution from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. That year the chocolate magnate Peter Ludwig agreed to endow 350 modern artworks—then valued at $45 million—and in return the City of Cologne committed itself to build a dedicated "Museum Ludwig" for works made after the year 1900. It was to be the first museum in Cologne to exhibit modern art.The recent building, which was designed by architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer opened in 1986 near the Cologne Cathedral. The new building first became home to both the Wallraf Richartz Museum as well as Museum Ludwig.
In 1994, it was decided to separate the two institutions and to place the building on Bischofsgartenstrasse at the sole disposal of Museum Ludwig. In 1999 Steve Keene painted in the museum.The building is also home to the Kölner Philharmonic. The Heinrich-Böll-Platz, a public square designed by Dani Karavan, is above the concert hall at the north-east of the building. Unfortunately, during concerts people can't walk upon the square as it creates acoustic disturbances for the concert goers below.
The Haubrich collection
The museum essentially incorporates the Sammlung Haubrich, a collection by lawyer Josef Haubrich of art from the years 1914 to 1939 donated to the city of Cologne on 2 May 1946. Directly after World War II, in May 1946, Haubrich presented the city with his Expressionism collection (Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Otto Mueller) and works by other representatives of Classical Modernism (Marc Chagall, Otto Dix). The second integral part of the museum is the Sammlung Ludwig, a collection of art by Picasso, Russian avant-garde and American Pop-art artists.
With around 900 works by Picasso, the museum today has the third largest collection of this artist worldwide, after Barcelona and Paris. In addition, Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene later put their collection of the Russian avant-garde on permanent loan to the museum, including 600 works from the period 1905 to 1935 by artists such as Kasimir Malevich, Ljubov Popova, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, and Alexander Rodchenko. Today the museum houses the most comprehensive collection of early Russian avant-garde artworks outside Russia.