Visit our new exhibition “Not much to look at. Ways of Abstraction 1920 until today” from February 24.
When today's Von der Heydt-Museum opened its doors on 25 October 1902 as the Städtische Museum Elberfeld, the main emphasis was on works of 19th century German landscape painting. The first director of the museum, Friedrich Fries (1865–1954), systematically extended the collection in subsequent years. On the one hand, he contrasted the painting of the 19th century with that of the Netherlands in the 17th century. On the other, he started early on collecting German and French impressionists, thus building a bridge to the present-day. In so doing he was able to count on the support of art connoisseurs among Wuppertal residents. They donated the first impressionist and post-impressionist paintings to the museum, including works by Cézanne, Monet und Signac. Eduard von der Heydt’s foundations further strengthened the collection from the 1950s onward, thus elevating its significance.