Since its opening in 1964 the Lehmbruck Museum nearly holds the complete lifework of Wilhelm Lehmbruck in every genre.
In 2009 it has been accomplished to secure the sculptor’s family-owned legacy permanently. Thus, the Lehmbruck Museum lays claim and pursues the goal to represent a leading center of expertise for international sculpture and object art of the 20th and 21st century in Germany. The collection’s main areas result from approximately 900 sculptures, which have been executed by nearly every internationally renowned sculptor and by means of a variety of techniques and materials.
To these belong outstanding examples of primitivism and cubism (André Derain, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Henri Laurens, Jacques Lipchitz, Pablo Picasso), early abstraction (Rudolf Belling, Otto Freundlich, Erich Buchholz, Hans Arp), expressionism in Germany (from Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz to Ewald Mataré) and also constructivism and minimalism (from Constantin Brancusi and László Moholy-Nagy to Georges Vantongerloo, Max Bill, Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo, Erwin Heerich, André Volten, Sol Lewitt and Donald Judd). Its inventory of surrealist sculpture as well as the work groups by Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore are preeminent. Equally excellent are the steel and ferric sculptures by a range of artists including Alexander Calder, Julio González, David Smith, Berto Lardera, Eduardo Chillida, Hans Uhlmann, Norbert Kricke, Georg Uecker, Richard Serra, Heinz-Günter Prager and Ansgar Nierhoff.
Of special substance are its works of object art that have been created after 1945, exemplified by artists such as Christo, Jean Tinguely (2 large mobile Maschinen-Reliefs), Antoni Tàpies, Daniel Spoerri, Nam-June Paik, Paul Thek, Rainer Ruthenbeck, Geoffrey Hendricks and Klaus Rinke. Hyperrealistic and anthropomorphic figuration from the post-war era up to the present day is represented by works of Duane Hanson (WAR) and George Segal, A.D. Christian, Franz Bernhard, A.R. Penck and Magdalena Jetelovà. They accompany the ample collection of Informel with extensive work groups by Bernard Schultze, Germaine Richier, Otto Herbert Hajek, Gerhard Hoehme, Emil Schumacher and Karl Otto Götz. Own rooms are dedicated to Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Richard Long, F.E. Walther, Christian Boltanski and Jannis Kounellis, but also to A.M. Kaufmann, Aernout Mik and Yves Netzhammer.
The museum is girded by a park which harbours about 30 large sculptures (from Wilhelm Lehmbruck to Eduardo Paolozzi, Hans-Peter Feldmann and Stefan Sous).