In 1843 Wilhelm I opened the Museum of Fine Art, the precursor of today’s Staatsgalerie. He enriched the holdings of new museum with choice acquisitions and gifts from his personal collection and routinely marked his birthday on 27 September with the gift of a painting. The exhibition brings together a selection of these royal gifts, allowing visitors for the first time in decades to catch a glimpse of Wilhelm’s activities as collector and patron.
The king also used his private means to acquire collections of Italian and Early Swabian paintings. In 1852, for example, he bought the Venetian Barbini-Breganze Collection which laid the foundation of the Staatsgalerie’s outstanding holdings of Italian Baroque paintings.
Wilhelm’s personal taste, on the other hand, is particularly evident in the large number of works he bought for the Rosenstein and Wilhelma palaces.
He supported contemporary artists and cultivated a passion for Orientalism. Built in emulation of Moorish architecture and dubbed the ‘Alhambra on the Neckar’, the Wilhelma was home to the kings wide-ranging collection of Orientalist art. The end of the monarchy in 1918 also spelled the end of Wilhelm’s private collection. More than 600 works were dispersed all over the world in a series of auctions. The exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart temporarily reunites key pieces of the former royal collection.
Allow us to introduce you to King Wilhelm I of Württemberg as an art enthusiast and patron!
The catalogue accompanying the exhibition has been published.