The magnificent collection of the Museum Ludwig includes works which exemplify the major themes and movements of twentieth century art to the present day. The core collection was amassed by a Cologne lawyer, Dr Josef Haubrich (1889-1961). In May 1946, directly after the Second World War, Dr Haubrich presented the city of Cologne with his collection of European Expressionism and works by the pioneering representatives of classical Modernism. In October 1946, a selection of one hundred paintings was presented to the public in Cologne. Among the visitors was a twenty-one year old art history student, Peter Ludwig. Impressed by the art works on view, Ludwig was inspired by Dr Haubrich’s committment to collecting, and by his generous donation to the city. As someone who was denied the chance to see contemporary art in his youth as a result of the Nazi regime, Ludwig resolved to likewise collect art and make it available to the general public. The first gift from Mr and Mrs Ludwig in 1976 comprised works by the Russian avant-garde from 1905 to 1935, pieces of extraordinary quality and importance. In addition to this came the most extensive American Pop Art collection outside of the USA, including masterpieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the city of Cologne in return committed to building a dedicated ‘Museum Ludwig‘ for the public exhibition of works made after 1900, and in 1986 the Museum Ludwig opened its doors. In 1994, the Ludwigs gave the city of Cologne one of the largest collections of Picassso paintings in private hands, making the museum’s collection of Picasso the third largest in the world.
This remarkable collection of forty art works assembled for this auction perfectly encapsulates the breadth and depth of the Museum Ludwig’s exhibition activities over the past twelve years. In the first place, my heartfelt thanks goes to all the artists concerned for their unsparing support – given the number of similar requests they receive, this support can by no means be taken for granted.
This project could not have been conceived or implemented without Dr. Adelheid Komenda. In addition, our deepest thanks go to all those who have helped to implement this exceptional project: Helge Achenbach and Dr. Felix Ganteführer, for being the “ideas men” and for being involved from the start; Christoph Siekmann, the board of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig - and Dr. Carla Cugini in particular - for their support in all areas; the Museum Ludwig and Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst team; the galleries and studio teams of all the artists involved; and, in particular, Sotheby’s auction house, especially Dr. Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, Bastienne Leuthe and Gallus Pesendorfer.
We would like to thank the art transport companies Tandem and Bourlet for their generous support. I would also like to thank Prof. Georg Quander for his support on the board of the Kunststiftung im Museum Ludwig.
We look forward to your support.
Prof. Dr. h.c. Kasper König
Direktor Museum Ludwig
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