Embracing Modernism

Prominent modernist works from the Stadtmuseum Berlin’s collection featured at the Berlinische Galerie


Due to modernisation measures, the Berlinische Galerie will be temporarily closed from 7 February to 25 May 2023.

The Stadtmuseum Berlin owns outstanding paintings by prominent representatives of classical modernism. Twelve highlights from the Stadtmuseum Berlin’s outstanding collection of paintings by prominent representatives of classical modernism have been on loan at the Berlinische Galerie since October 2022.

Berlinische Galerie
Alte Jakobstraße 124 – 128
10969 Berlin

10,00 € / 6,00 € (reduced)
Free admission for under 18 years

Opening hours
Temporary closure: 7.2. – 25.5.23
more info here

With the upcoming renovation of the Märkisches Museum, the Stadtmuseum Berlin wanted to ensure that the treasures of its painting collecting would remain available to the public during the four-year closure of its largest exhibition venue. The Stadtmuseum and the Berlinische Galerie jointly came up with the idea of integrating these works into the permanent exhibition “Art in Berlin 1880-1980”.

The selection of paintings from the Stadtmuseum’s collection enter into dialogue with the works from the Berlinische Galerie’s permanent exhibition, offering new parallels and perspectives.

Renowned artists

The paintings currently on display at the Berlinische Galerie are by Max Beckmann, Theo von Brockhusen, Lovis Corinth, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Walter Leistikow, Max Liebermann, Edvard Munch and Lesser Ury. These artists significantly shaped and enriched the city’s art scene in the early 20th century.

Modernism in Berlin

The highlight of the selection is the haunting portrait of industrialist, art collector and politician Walther Rathenau painted by Edvard Munch in 1907. The Norwegian painter’s arrival in Berlin in 1892 marked the beginning of modernism in the city. His exhibition at the Association of Berlin Artists was closed just a few days after its opening when conservative members of the group protested in the strongest terms against his novel painting. Forward-thinking artists like Max Liebermann and Walter Leistikow had joined forces earlier that same year to form the Vereinigung der XI (Association of the XI) with the goal of bringing the latest trends in German art to the Berlin public. The exhibitions put on by this earlier group of modernist artists were also perceived as an affront to the conservative tastes in art in the time of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Members of the Vereinigung der XI would go on to form the Berlin Secession movement in 1898/99. Munch was one of many who regularly took part in their exhibitions.
Edvard Munch: Portrait Walther Rathenau, 1907
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Reproduktion: Oliver Ziebe
Exhibition Podcast

Thomas Köhler, director of the Berlinische Galerie, talks with Stadtmuseum Director Paul Spies about the idea of shared collections, the challenges of collecting and deaccessioning, and one of his favourite works, now on display at the Berlinische Galerie.

Lovis Corinth: Selbstbildnis, 1900
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Reproduktion: Oliver Ziebe

Portraits and self-portraits

In addition to Munch’s portrait of Walther Rathenau, the selection includes several portraits by Lovis Corinth. Prominent social figures such as the influential journalist Alfred Kerr (1907) posed for him, as did his student and later wife Charlotte Berend (1902). She and her husband were members of the Berlin Secession and regularly took part in its exhibitions. The selection from the Stadtmuseum Berlin’s collection also includes outstanding artist self-portraits. From 1900 at the latest, the year that he moved from Munich to Berlin, Corinth painted a self-portrait every year on his birthday.

Around 1900 Walter Leistikow was one of Berlin’s most sought-after painters. A committed networker, he was a driving force in the city’s avant-garde art scene. His landscape paintings in particular, such as “Abendstimmung am Schlachtensee” (ca. 1895), represented a new, modern approach to art. Like the Impressionists, Leistikow often painted directly in front of his subjects, mostly in the Berlin countryside with its numerous lakes.


Nollendorfplatz was the subject of cityscapes painted by several artists. During the winter months of the years 1910 to 1914, the artist Max Beckmann lived at Nollendorfplatz 6 with his wife Minna Beckmann-Tube. His studio window looked out onto the northwestern end of the square. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s rendition of Nollendorfplatz was painted in 1912. The Expressionist and founding member of the artist group “Brücke” moved from Dresden to Berlin in 1911. His reactions to the metropolis were expressed in numerous street scenes. In contrast to Kirchner’s expressionist work, Lesser Ury’s 1925 “Bahnhof Nollendorfplatz bei Nacht” remains entirely committed to Impressionism. Prior to 1900, Ury was already well known for his atmospheric night scenes.
Max Beckmann: Nollendorfplatz, 1911
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Reproduktion: Oliver Ziebe
Die Künstler
  1. Max Beckmann (1884 Leipzig – 1950 New York)
  2. Theo von Brockhusen (1882 Marggrabowa, now Olecko, Poland – 1919 Berlin)
  3. Lovis Corinth (1858 Tapiau, East Prussia, now Gwardeisk, Russia – 1925 Zandvoort)
  4. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 Aschaffenburg – 1938 Davos)
  5. Walter Leistikow (1865 Bromberg, now Bydgoszcz, Poland – 1908 Berlin)
  6. Max Liebermann (1847 Berlin – 1935 Berlin)
  7. Edvard Munch (1863 Løten – 1944 Oslo)
  8. Lesser Ury (1861 Birnbaum, now Międzychód, Poland – 1931 Berlin)

Info & Service

Opening Hours

Temporary closure: 7.2. – 25.5.23
more info here


Berlinische Galerie
Alte Jakobstraße 124 – 128
10969 Berlin


+49 30-789 02-600
+49 30-789 02-700
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10,00 € / 6,00 € (reduced)