The contract signed on 5 February 1976 by Mr and Mrs Ludwig covering their donation to the City of Cologne marked the founding of Museum Ludwig. In the contract, Peter and Irene Ludwig agreed to endow 350 modern artworks and in return the City of Cologne committed itself to build a dedicated "Museum Ludwig" for works made after the year 1900. The "twin" museum designed by the architectural team Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer, and opened in 1986, became home to both the Wallraf Richartz Museum as well as Museum Ludwig. In 1994 it was decided to separate the two institutions and to place the building on Bischofsgartenstrasse at the sole disposal of Museum Ludwig.

The collection at Museum Ludwig covers the major currents and approaches in twentieth century and contemporary art. The core collection was amassed by a Cologne lawyer, Dr. Josef Haubrich (1889-1961). Directly after World War 2, in May 1946, he presented the City of Cologne with his Expressionism collection (Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Otto Mueller) and works by other representatives of Classical Modernism (Marc Chagall, Otto Dix). In October 1946 a selection of 100 paintings was presented for the first time in the old University of Cologne.

Among the visitors to this now legendary exhibition was a 21 year-old art history student from Mainz - Peter Ludwig. He was not only impressed by the art, but equally so by the collector and donor Josef Haubrich. As a person who had been denied the chance to see contemporary art in his youth as a result of the Nazi regime, after this encounter he resolved to likewise collect art and make it available to the general public.

The first gift from the Ludwigs in 1976 brought works by the Russian avant-garde from the period 1905 to 1935 (Goncharova, Larionov, Exter, Popova, Malevich, Rodchenko) of singular quality and quantity to the newly founded museum. In addition to this came the most extensive AmericanPop Art Collection outside of the USA (including paintings, objects and environments by Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Warhol and Wesselmann).

Prof. Peter Ludwig, 1994

Prof. Peter Ludwig, 1994

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Tuesday to Sunday (incl. public holidays): 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Every first Thursday of the month 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Closed on Monday

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