Since its foundation in 1902 in Hagen, Germany, the Museum Folkwang has developed into a world-renowned and respected exhibition house for contemporary art. Here, for the first time in Germany, the pioneers of modernism, such as Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Matisse, were on display in a public collection. Its founder, Karl Ernst Osthaus, continued to promote the artistic avant-garde even after the museum moved to Essen, Germany, in 1922. After severe setbacks due to the devastating art policy of the Nazi dictatorship and the destruction of the building during the Second World War, the museum was able to reopen in a new building in 1960. In 2010, the museum then opened a new building, designed by star architect David Chipperfield with 16,000 square metres of floor space.
Today, the Museum Folkwang is home to one of the most important collections of 19th-century German and French painting, classical modernism and post-1945 art. Also under its roof are large graphic and photographic collections and the affiliated German Poster Museum.
All of the originals of these works are on display at the Museum Folkwang.