LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster
The Museum für Kunst und Kultur is a cultural giant surrounded by others of its kind: Located in the middle of Münster’s beautiful old town, right by the Prinzipalmarkt square with its typical gabled buildings and archways, the historical town hall that was the site of the Peace of Westphalia, and the famous 13th-century St Paul’s Cathedral, it represents the most important art collection in Westphalia.
350,000 objects comprise the museum’s collection, dedicated to a full millennium of Western art and cultural history on 7500 square metres worth of exhibition space. Visitors can learn about medieval sacred art based on the images of saints, passion figures, liturgical vestments, and panel paintings in brightly illuminated rooms. They can lose themselves entirely in Renaissance and Baroque art as they stroll through the spacious exhibition halls, gazing at paintings, graphics, and sculptures created by Westphalian and Dutch masters.
Paintings by the Münster painter family tom Ring, of which the largest complex of works world-wide is found in the LWL Museum, form one highlight here. Following the iconoclasm of the Reformation in the 16th century – with confiscation, damage, and destruction of images of Christ and other saints – they were busy with refurnishing churches and bourgeois parlours. Museum visitors can recognise the status-awareness of the early middle classes and a generation of artists striving for autonomy here today, particularly in the self-portraits of the painters’ family.
Pieces of Classical Modernism and contemporary art are not neglected either in the museum’s presentation. Headquartered on Münster’s Domplatz since 1908, the former “Landesmuseum für die Provinz Westfalen”, renamed LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in 2013, hosts works by Rhenish Expressionist August Macke and Westphalian Expressionists Wilhelm Morgner and Peter August Böckstiegel for lovers of distinctive forms and strong colours. It pays tribute to groups such as the Brücke and the Blaue Reiter and introduces currents like the “Neue Sachlichkeit” with painters including Otto Dix and Georg Scholz. Art from the years after 1945 is honoured with works by Emil Schumacher or Blinky Palermo. Of course, Düsseldorf’s Zero Art with its creative hour zero, light influence, and purist aesthetics is found here, too.
International open-air exhibition
Travellers on a cultural exploration tour of Münster should make sure to check out the sculptures in public spaces following a museum visit. Remnants of the Münster sculpture projects continue to be scattered across the city. The LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur has been co-hosting the international open-air exhibition once a decade since 1977, with a show for which artists from around the world create dedicated works in locations of their own choice. Many works created in this context remain on permanent display and are establishing themselves as fixed attractions in the cityscape.