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Modern Art

The Beginnings

Founding director Prof. Dr. Julius Baum (1882–1959) incorporated the municipal painting gallery of contemporary art, which opened mere weeks before he took office at the Schwörhaus, into the museums’ collection. This inventory of contemporary art mainly contained works by artists from Ulm and the surrounding regions as well as from the Munich School and the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. Through acquisitions and loans, Baum actively expanded the collection into a gallery for modern art within the museum. Unfortunately, most of the collection has been lost: When the National Socialists started their campaign against ‘Entartete Kunst’ (‘Degenerate Art’), the works were either confiscated, sold abroad to acquire foreign currency, or destroyed.

Modern Art

Prints and Drawings

After the war, an attempt was made to fill the void left by the forced dispersion by allocating the limited budget to works on paper instead of paintings. The extraordinary collection of prints and drawings now contains approximately 25,000 works, providing an overview of the most important movements and influential artists of the 20th century, including French graphics of the late 19th and the 20th century, a comprehensive group of works by Picasso, exponents of German expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter, Die Brücke and the Bauhaus, and art after 1945. Since 1970, the focus shifted away from singular works by an artist to complete cycles of works and works by groups of artists. Due to the fragility of these works, they can only be shown intermittently, most often as part of special exhibitions.

Modern Art

The Foundation Collection Kurt Fried

Since 1978, the collection of modern art has been significantly enriched: Kurt Fried (1906–1981), a collector, publicist and publisher from Ulm, endowed the museum with his first-rate art collection of approximately 300 works. From 1959 onwards, Kurt Fried regularly exhibited progressive art in his non-commercial gallery ‘studio f’, art that was not yet shown in German museums. He acquired works from most exhibitions and bought works by emerging international artists. His collection developed into a guide to the arts after 1945. The most important American and European art movements from the 1950s until the 1970s are documented by means of paintings, sculptures, objects and portfolios by renowned artists. The collection has later been augmented with works from the 1980s.