From the 1970s onwards, Udo Brandhorst and his wife Anette (d. 1999) amassed more than 1000 works by seminal artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily paintings, drawings and sculptures and, more recently, photographs, multimedia works and installations.
To start with, the focus was placed on classical avant-garde artists (Kazimir Malevich, Kurt Schwitters, Pablo Picasso) and post-war European Modernists (Joseph Beuys, Palermo, Sigmar Polke, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz) but, in the course of time, their interest became increasingly drawn to American art – with John Chamberlain, Robert Gober, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, Walter de Maria and others being represented by major works.
With many more than 100 exhibits by Andy Warhol (1928–1987), there is virtually no other European collection that has comparable holdings of works by the best-known of all Pop Art artists. The nucleus of more than 170 works by the American artist Cy Twombly (1928–2011) is unique anywhere in the world. The acquisition of works by Damien Hirst, Mike Kelley and Robert Gober testify to how contemporary art increasingly attracted the collectors’ attention, as do mutimedia artworks by Isaac Julien, Anri Sala, Stan Douglas and David Claerbout.
While the Pinakothek der Moderne enables visitors to gain a general picture of developments in 20th and 21st-century art, the focus in the Museum Brandhorst is on an in-depth examination of the work of individual artists.