A Royal Collecting Passion

Wilhelm I of Württemberg
18 July – 26 October 2014

Wilhelm's public commitment to art

Wilhelm I opened the "Museum of Fine Arts," today's State Gallery, in 1843. He increased the museum's holdings through personal purchases as well as gifts from royal property and presented the museum with a painting every year on his birthday on September 27. A selection of these royal gifts is now being presented to the public for the first time in decades.

In addition, the king acquired collections of Italian and old Swabian painting with his private funds. In 1852, for example, Wilhelm purchased the 250-painting "Barbini-Breganze" collection in Venice, whose masterpieces formed the basis for the State Gallery's important collection of Italian Baroque painting.

Wilhelm I as a private collector

Wilhelm's private taste in art, on the other hand, is particularly evident in his Rosenstein and Wilhelma palaces: here the king surrounded himself with a large number of works of art.

He promoted contemporary artists and was enthusiastic about Oriental painting. Accordingly, he had Wilhelma built as an "Alhambra on the Neckar" and collected exclusive paintings with oriental themes. With the end of the monarchy in 1918, this private collection of over 600 objects was scattered all over the world through several auctions. For the exhibition, central works of this royal collection now return to Stuttgart for a short time.

This summer, get to know the King of Württemberg as an enthusiastic art lover and patron!


A catalog has been published for the exhibition "Königliche Sammellust".