The Collection of Paintings contains c. 2500 works of European painting from the fifteenth to the early twentieth centuries – from early Renaissance to Impressionism, with strong emphasis on the Netherlandish and Flemish schools of the seventeenth century, and the Düsseldorf School of 1819 to 1918.
Paintings of the German and Italian Renaissance
Two of the oldest pieces in the collection were educational examples of Italian Renaissance work, acquired from the Academy. They are Cima da Conegliano's Sacra Conversazione of 1495 and G. Bellinis „Pala Priuli“ 1505-1510. Likewise, Lucas Cranach the Elder's Genre picture, The Ill-matched Pair painted c. 1525 was bought for the Academy Collection in 1860.
Flemish and Netherlandish Baroque Painting
Flemish Baroque painting is prominently represented by around 300 works by Rubens, Teniers the Younger, van Winghe, van Douven and others. The two large scale works by Peter Paul Rubens, The Assumption of the Virgin and "Venus and Adonis", from the Elector Palatine’s collection and gave the Rubens Gallery its name.
Dutch masters of the seventeenth century, like J. van Goyen,D. Hals, F. van Mieris the Elder, A. van Ostade, J. I. van Ruisdael and J. van Scorel are represented with major works. A wealth of masterly Still Lifes such as those of A. van Beyeren, J. P. Brueghel, F. Snyders or A. Mignon rounds off the collection.
Italian Baroque and Rococo Paintings
The collection of about 350 oil sketches by Calandrucci, Maratta, Passeri and Krahe, for example, is unique in Germany. The design for the cupola decoration of the Church of Sant' Agnese Agone in the Piazza Navona in Rome by G.B. Gaulli, with its Apotheosis of St Agnes, is a fine example of Roman High Baroque. Oil sketches by the Venetian ‘Decoratori’, A. Bellucci, G. A. Pellegrini and D. Zanetti convey some impression of the partly lost Rococo embellishments of the Electoral castles.
A small but fine collection of Classical painting is constituted by the works of J. P. Hackert, J.-B. Regnault, J. A. Koch and A. Kauffmann. The purchase in 2008 of her Portrait of Virtuoso Improviser Teresa Bandettini-Landucci was our first acquisition of a work by this female artist, who was enjoying international acclaim during her lifetime.
The Düsseldorf School of Painting
The acquisition in 1913 of about 450 works from the former Society for the Establishment of a Gallery of Paintings (Vereins zur Errichtung einer Gemäldegalerie zu Düsseldorf)
formed the kernel of the collection, with its emphasis on the Düsseldorf School. The society had purchased major works, often directly from the studio, including A. Achenbach's Erftmühle, J. P. Hasenclever's Wine Tasting, A. Tidemand's Devotion of the Haugeans, C. F. Lessing's Siege and C. F. Sohn's Tasso and the two Leonoras. Another 150 examples were added from the Schoenfeld Foundation. From 1913 to 1929 purchases by the Museum Society (Museumsverein) followed- the initiative of the museum’s director, K. Koetschau, and his curator, W. Cohen (A. Feuerbach, A. Böcklin, F. Hodler, A. Achenbach, C. Rohlfs).
In 1932 the Academy Collection of 625 works was accepted on permanent loan. It included paintings and oil studies by artists such as Dücker, von Gebhardt, Rollmann and Schirmer. Some of these had come from the collection of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. From the 1960s, it was possible to strengthen the Düsseldorf School collection. – In 1979 the acclaimed exhibition,‘Die Düsseldorfer Malerschule’ took place, and in 2002 the Müller Bequest enabled the acquisition of master works by Hildebrandt, Bendemann, Hübner and Schadow.
The fast-expanding collection of over 1000 paintings and c. 5000 drawings and prints by the Düsseldorfer Malerschule
has become the finest on that field in Germany, and is promoted by extensive research work and publication. (Dokumentationszentrum Düsseldorfer Malerschule, the DDM Düsseldorf School archive).(Dokumentationszentrum Düsseldorfer Malerschule DDM).
German Painting of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries
Beside the paintings of the Düsseldorfer Malerschule the Gallery of Paintings holds important works from the Romantic to the Impressionist schools, representing many different European centres. Famous painters like C. D. Friedrich, C. G. Carus , C. C. Dahl and L. Richter give us a picture of the flowering of Landscape Painting in Dresden.
A wealth of high quality works from the leading Nazarenes, such as P. von Cornelius, F. J. Overbeck and J. Schnorr von Carolsfeld merge seamlessly into the Düsseldorf School collection.
A. Feuerbach's By the Sea provides the gallery with one of this German Neoclassicist's key works. It is one of his three versions of Iphigenia, which, with works by H. von Marées and A. Böcklin represents the idealistic, symbolist painting of the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The Münich School, with paintings by Spitzweg, Trübner, Schider, Schuch and Uhde forms a dialogue with the works of Blechen, Menzel of the Berlin School, and the distinguished paintings of the three Impressionists, Liebermann, Corinth and Slevogt.
The influence the Düsseldorf School had on such places as Karlsruhe, Weimar and Worpswede is revealed in the work of painters like T. Hagen, Graf von Kalckreuth, O. Modersohn, C. Rohlfs and H. Thoma, already heralding the dawning of the era of the Classical Moderns.