Munich Greeter

The “young savages” of the 19th century: The Schack Gallery

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Coming from the Friedensengel monument and crossing the Isar via Luitpoldbrücke, you arrive at the beginning of the Prinzregentenstraße, where on the right side a rather unknown painting collection is housed – the “Schack”-collection.

The building on Prinzregentenstraße No. 9 used to be the adjoining house of the Bavarian state chancellery and is rather impressive. A massive, classical building, at whose gable the former owner and donor, emperor Wilhelm II. is praised. The building originates from 1908 and then had a dual function: it was the home of the Prussian embassy and at the same time housed the unique collection of paintings by German artists of the 19th century, which Wilhelm II. had inherited in 1894 from Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack.

The art-loving count Schack was born in Schwerin in 1815. He was first active as a lawyer and diplomat in the Mecklenburgian government service. However, in 1856 he followed the call of Maximilian II. to Munich, where he belonged to the circle of the scientists and writers, who, according to the king´s intentions, should turn the town into a Weimar of the 19th century. The rich aristocrat from the far north had a lively interest in painting and subsequently knew all the important painters of his period in person, from whom he sometimes bought whole series of paintings. Nevertheless, one must not forget, that artists such as Arnold Böcklin and Moritz von Schwind were considered very avant-garde around the 1860ies and therefore their works were regarded very controversially.

The collection leads a Cinderella-like existence, which is an advantage for visitors – often one can enjoy the paintings accompanied only by a couple of other visitors and the museum guards. Each room is completely painted in red, blue or green. The colored walls give the pictures a very special atmosphere.

Which paintings hang there? As a child I was fascinated by the image of the legendary mountain troll “Rübezahl ” on a record cover. Trudging through a wild wood in a short black dress , bare legs , clogs on the feet . Sullen face , half-hidden under the hood , only the red beard stretches stiffly forward, the hands crossed on the back, holding a long stick. Very eerie. Stimulates the imagination. The original picture hangs in the Schack Gallery, in addition to numerous other paintings by Moritz von Schwind , including ” Des Knaben Wunderhorn “. Apart from Schwind’s legends and fairy-tale characters which are each explained in a short description, you can admire Arnold Böcklin´s dark dreamy paintings, but also the “Shepherd boy ” by Franz von Lenbach . Later, when Lenbach was established as the portrait of the VIP´s of his time , he also portrayed his former patron at the age of 60. The picture also hangs in the Schack Gallery . Somehow, the man reminds me of Johnny Depp.

You can reach the Schack Gallery by bus No. 100 (stop Reitmorstraße/Sammlung Schack) . It is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is open on each first and third Wednesday of the month until 8 p.m.. Admission fee is 4 euros , 1 euro on Sundays.

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