In December 1905, a group of 12 socially committed Duisburg citizens called upon the public to set up a permanent art institution. This marked the beginning of the history of the museum, which has been run as a foundation since the year 2000.
Today, what distinguishes the museum is its collection, unrivaled in Europe, of international modernist sculptures, its unique blend of outstanding museum architecture, its sculpture park and sculpture within the urban context. The museum has been devoted to German sculpture since 1925 and to international sculpture since 1958.
The museum, which is already a listed building, was erected in two phases (1964, 1987), following the plans of Manfred Lehmbruck and those of the Lehmbruck/Hänsch team of architects. With 40 works, many of them location-specific, the sculpture park has been in existence since 1990. Covering an area of 5,000 sq. m., the park, which takes as its point of departure Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s life’s work and the art of his time, is a meeting place for the world of sculpture and the sculpture of the world.
Rooms dedicated to single topics are followed by, and loosely linked to, others pursuing more general themes. They include paintings, works on paper and new media. The primary objective of all activities is to convey a vivid image of the quality and relevance of modern sculpture and of its relationship to other art genres, and to appeal to all kinds of different interests on the part of its visitors.
Now that the commitment of individual citizens has once again become indispensable, the 1905 appeal has taken on a new relevance. Unless we succeed in awakening on the part of our citizens the kind of lasting commitment that led to the establishment of the museum, the Lehmbruck Museum will lose its position as one of the city’s — and the region’s — key institutions. The museum’s luster on the international scene will start to fade.