Today the Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen dedicates itself especially to national and international contemporary art. It is situated in the rooms of a medieval Premonstratensian monastery. The museum emerged from the National Collection of Sculptures of the former GDR (East Germany), founded in 1976. Right from the beginning, this collection was exhibited together with excellent works of the former Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, which is today the Kulturhistorisches Museum (Cultural History Museum).
The exhibited historic sculptures (focus on late Gothic and Renaissance) provide evidence of the founder’s intention to present a collection of regional artworks, complemented with outstanding works of national and international importance, including some excellent Italian sculptures. Theodor Volbehr (1862-1931) was the first director of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum and co-founder of this idea. Today’s collecting of artworks at the Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen picks this intention up. Until 1989, the focus was mainly on sculptures and sculptor’s drawings from the GDR, including their artistic roots in classic and modern art. A highlight was certainly the opening of the sculpture park in autumn 1989 with approximately 50 large-scale sculptures in the exterior of the museum. In 1990, accordingly the suggestion of the Ministry of Culture, the transfer of the “national” collection (comprising approximately 1200 sculptures and 600 sculptor’s drawings) to the city of Magdeburg took place.
Differently to the lifetime of Theodor Volbehr, the focus today cannot be longer on displaying the entire range of artistic production in one museum. The museum is rather looking for correspondences which explain connections and create more freedom and limitation for the collection of the art museum at the same time.
International artworks from the 1960s are part of the collection since the turn of the millennium. Furthermore, there are also works of national and international artists who are less well-known. Away from the big metropolitan areas, the location in Magdeburg allows to focus on the developments in art. The collection impresses rather by its direct effect than by renowned names. It is not about gathering superlatives like it is already customary in many museums of contemporary art. Our aim is to make visitors understand the individual work, to sharpen the view for the different. With this collection, the focus continues to be on the development of visual and plastic arts. Furthermore, great attention is paid to all forms of fine arts, painting and graphics, but also to installation, photography and the new media, especially the video.