A SURVEY OF SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS OF EUROPEAN ART HISTORY
"[…] it is my wish that […] my existing collection […] shall be preserved, and increased from year to year – improved, when the opportunity arises, by the exchange of inferior or less distinguished pieces for better ones.”
Foundation deed of the Städelsches Kunstinstituts, part of the last will of Johann Friedrich Städel
It was Johann Friedrich Städel’s ambition to illustrate the history of art by means of excellent works of all periods and genres, with the highest possible degree of completeness as well as quality, and to expand the collection continually. Far-sighted as he was, he attached particular importance to including contemporary art.
In accordance with the founder’s wish, the collection has grown continuously, so that seven hundred years of European art history are now represented by 2,900 paintings, 600 sculptures, some 500 photographs and over 100,000 drawings and prints.
"The attraction of the Städelsches Institut lies in the immense energy that is concentrated in a small space. Almost every great stirring of the soul of the peoples of Europe is to be found here, and always in works of outstanding eminence.” (Alfred Lichtwark, Director of the Hamburg Kunsthalle, 1905)
To this day, the Städel Museum has lost none of its special fascination.