Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Cologne)

Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Cologne)

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The Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (German for Museum of Applied Art, abbreviated MAKK) is a decorative arts museum in Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The collections include jewellery, porcelain, furniture, weaponry and architectural exhibits. Until 1987 it was called the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Art Museum).


The city of Cologne decided to found an applied art museum in 1888. The core of the exhibition originally came from the collections of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf (1748–1824) and Matthias Joseph de Noël (1782–1849), and the exhibition was soon expanded through endowments. The museum's original location was a Neo-Gothic building on the Hansaring
Cologne Ring
The Cologne Ring is a semi-circular, some 6 km long urban boulevard in Innenstadt, Cologne and the city's busiest and most prominent street system...

, built in 1900, but this was destroyed by bombs
Bombing of Cologne in World War II
The City of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, including 31 times by the Royal Air Force . Air raid alarms went off in the winter/spring of 1940 as enemy bombers passed overhead. However, the first actual bombing took place on 12 May 1940...

 in 1943.

Since 1989 the museum has had a permanent home in the former building of the Wallraf-Richartz
Wallraf-Richartz Museum
The Wallraf-Richartz-Museum is one of the three major museums in Cologne, Germany. It houses an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period to the early twentieth century...

 and Ludwig Museums at An-der-Rechtschule, built by Rudolf Schwarz
Rudolf Schwarz (architect)
Rudolf Schwarz was a German architect known for his work on Kirche St. Fronleichnam, Aachen. He also played a decisive role in the reconstruction of Cologne after the Second World War. After conducting Cologne's reconstruction authority between 1947 and 1952 he contributed to the rebuilding of the...

 and Josef Bernhard between 1953–57.


The plain, red-brick Schwarz-Bernhard building stands on the site of a former Conventual
Conventual Franciscans
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual , commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.-History:...

 monastery, whose shape is still traced by the ground plan and the square inner courtyard. The late-Gothic Minoritenkirche on the south side still survives. The inner courtyard wall on the north side has been almost entirely glazed, acting as a "shop window" for the museum. A low, modest antechamber leads into the museum's very large entrance hall and central staircase.


The museum has a large collection (over 100,000 items) of European applied art
Applied art
Applied art is the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or...

 from the 10th century to the present. This is arranged chronologically by era, and includes furniture, decorative carpets, small sculptures, dining utensils, luxury items, and decorative objects. For the sake of preservation, the textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 collection is mostly displayed only in short-term special exhibitions.
The museum is particularly known for its collection of modern design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

. An exhibition of 20th century design, created by the Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Design Museum
The Vitra Design Museum is an internationally renowned, privately owned museum for design in Weil am Rhein, Germany.Vitra CEO Rolf Fehlbaum founded the museum in 1989 as an independent private foundation...

 of Weil am Rhein
Weil am Rhein
Weil am Rhein is a German town and commune which is a suburb of the city of Basel in Switzerland. It is situated on the east bank of the River Rhine, and close to the point at which the Swiss, French and German borders meet. It is the most southwesterly town in Germany.-Geography:Weil am Rhein is...

 in 2008, is spread across two floors of one of the wings. It features a thematic and chronological presentation of furniture, lamps, telephones, televisions, cameras, radios and household items, by designers including Ray Eames, Dieter Rams
Dieter Rams
Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.- Life and career :...

, Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

, Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck
Philippe Patrick Starck is a French product designer and probably the best known designer in the New Design style...

, Ettore Sottsass
Ettore Sottsass
Ettore Sottsass was an Italian architect and designer of the late 20th century. His body of designs included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and office machine design.-Early career:...

, and Joe Colombo
Joe Colombo
Joe Colombo may refer to:* Joseph Colombo , American gangster, boss of the Colombo crime family* Joe Cesare Colombo , Italian industrial designer...

. These are exhibited alongside visual artworks by artists including Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely-abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics...

, Victor Vasarely
Victor Vasarely
Victor Vasarely was a Hungarian French artist whose work is generally seen aligned with Op-art.His work entitled Zebra, created by Vasarely in the 1930s, is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Op-art...

, Jesús Rafael Soto
Jesús Rafael Soto
Jesús Rafael Soto was a Venezuelan op and kinetic artist, a sculptor and a painter.He was born in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela. He began his artistic career as a boy painting cinema posters in his native city...

, Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

 and Günther Uecker
Günther Uecker
Günther Uecker, also known as Guenther Uecker, is a German sculptor, op artist and installation artist.- Biography :...

, in order to show the historical relationships between art and design.

Some individual exhibits include:
  • A Woman of the Apocalypse
    Woman of the Apocalypse
    The phrase Woman of the Apocalypse refers to a character from the Book of Revelation 12:1-18:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in...

     by Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider was a German sculptor and woodcarver active in Würzburg from 1483. He was one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance, a master in stone and limewood.- Biography :Tilman Riemenschneider was born between 1459...

  • A tapestry
    Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

    , Allegory of the Region of Africa (pre-1742)
  • A writing cabinet with chinoiserie
    Chinoiserie, a French term, signifying "Chinese-esque", and pronounced ) refers to a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences...

    , from the workshop of David Roentgen (1777–78)
  • Gerrit Rietveld
    Gerrit Rietveld
    Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a Dutch furniture designer and architect. One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for his Red and Blue Chair and for the Rietveld Schröder House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.-Biography:Rietveld was born in...

    : Rood-blauwe Stoel (1918)
  • Piet Mondrian
    Piet Mondrian
    Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

    : Composition III (1920)
  • Marcel Breuer
    Marcel Breuer
    Marcel Lajos Breuer , was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer of Jewish descent. One of the masters of Modernism, Breuer displayed interest in modular construction and simple forms.- Life and work :Known to his friends and associates as Lajkó, Breuer studied and taught at...

    : Liege (1936)
  • Ettore Sottsass
    Ettore Sottsass
    Ettore Sottsass was an Italian architect and designer of the late 20th century. His body of designs included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and office machine design.-Early career:...

     for Memphis
    Memphis Group
    The Memphis Group was an Italian design and architecture group started by Ettore Sottsass that designed Post Modern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects from 1981-1987.-Origins:...

    : Carlton, shelf (1981)
  • Naoto Fukasawa
    Naoto Fukasawa
    is a Japanese industrial designer, born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1956. He graduated from Tama Art University in 1980. After having acted as the head of the American company IDEO's Tokyo office, he established Naoto Fukasawa Design in 2003...

    : CD-Player (1999)

The museum also hosts special temporary exhibitions.

External links