The Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Art Association for the Rhineland and Westphalia) was founded jointly by citizens and artists in 1829. With approximately 4000 members, it remains the largest and oldest art association in Germany.
The focus of the Kunstverein has always been the latest contemporary art. During its 175 years, it has repeatedly been the setting for major exhibition such as large Dada show of 1958 and the early Gerhard Richter retrospective of 1971. In 2001, the Kunstverein was awarded the Jürgen-Ponto-Preis for its up-to-date, consistent, and radical program.
The Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen occupies the same building as the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. In addition to temporary exhibitions, the objective of this institute is to inform the public about the social relevance of contemporary art.
Director: Hans-Jürgen Hafner
Art in Düsseldorf: A special perspective
The Four Caryatids
Standing next to the building of the Kunsthalle and the Kunstverein are four oversized caryatids, female statues which possess a supporting function in architecture. Originally, these four figures adorned the pediment of the old Düsseldorf Kunsthalle, which was inaugurated in 1881 and almost completely destroyed during World War II. With the four caryatids, the sculptor Leo Müsch created the four Muses of the fine arts, each of which holds a symbol in her hands: a lyre, a painter’s palette, a chisel for Sculpture, and a temple pediment as a symbol for Architecture.