MUNICH.- One hundred years ago, on September 18, 1909, the Schack-Galerie opened on Prinzregentenstrasse in Munich. It was commissioned by Emperor Wilhelm II, who also had the adjoining Prussian Embassy built. Designed by Max Littmann, the architect of the Prinzregententheater in Munich, it was based on plans first drawn up by Adolf von Hildebrand.
With its extensive holdings of paintings by Moritz von Schwind, Anselm Feuerbach and Arnold Böcklin, the Sammlung Schack is one of the most important collections of German 19th-century paintings. It was founded by Count Adolf Friedrich von Schack who, apart from Ludwig I, was the most significant collector of contemporary art at that time in Germany. Up until his death in 1894, he acquired some two hundred paintings by German artists and around eighty copies of works by Old Masters. After Count Schacks death, the collection was bequeathed to the German Emperor who had the present gallery erected in 1909. In 1939 it passed into the ownership of the State of Bavaria and has been under the management of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen ever since.
The ground floor of the gallery was renovated last year with a view to the centenary celebrations. The rooms and small cabinets, which previously had light walls, have now been painted in darker colors, providing a more effective backdrop for paintings of the Romantic period. Since then, works by Moritz von Schwind, Carl Rottmann, Friedrich Preller and Carl Spitzweg can be seen against walls painted in a bold blue and red. At the same time, a new method of labeling was introduced with explanations of individual works. This underlines the correlation between painting and literature, between the collector and writer, Count Schack, and the artists and the pictures in his collection. Visitors gain an insight into the pictorial and intellectual world of 19th-century Germany in the Sammlung Schack in Munich, in an intensity that is to be found in virtually no other museum.
Renovation work was continued this year on the first floor, where key works in the collection, which include paintings by Arnold Böcklin and Anselm Feuerbach, as well as Franz von Lenbachs "Young Shepherd", are hung. At the same time, the largest room in the gallery, used for many years for meetings by the neighboring State Chancellery since the end of World War II, has also been remodeled and turned into the new Copy Room. This is where nineteen, mostly large-format copies of Venetian Renaissance painting are shown, which form a focal point within the collection as a whole. Major works such as Giorgiones "Pastoral Concert" in the Louvre, Titians "Pesaro Madonna" in the Frari Basilica and "The Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Accademia" in Venice, as well as the "Portrait of Emperor Karl V" in the Prado, have been grouped together in the Copy Room.
Artists who painted the copies include August Wolf and Ernst von Liphart, as well as Franz von Lenbach in particular, whose copies of Titians works for Count Schack are considered among the best paintings of their kind executed in the 19th-century in Germany. A key part of the collection, from the point of view of its founder, has once again been given the attention it deserves. The remodeling and furnishing of the Copy Room have been made possible thanks to the generosity of private benefactors and are a particular highlight of this anniversary year. Private benefactors have also made it possible for new floodlighting on the façade to be installed that will bathe the building in a new light in the evenings.
The renovation and re-opening of the building have prompted a change in name. From now on, the completely renovated Schack-Galerie will be known as the Sammlung Schack.