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As its membership soared and many works of art had already been assembled, the Kunstverein decided to build a museum to display its holdings. The city of Bremen acknowledged this public mission by allocating some land for the construction of a permanent venue, which would also be privately financed by the Kunstverein’s members. The Kunsthalle Bremen opened in 1849. Today the Kunsthalle continues to pride itself in holding on to this singular membershipdriven management system.

The Collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen compiles the first donations made by its founders as well as the later visionary acquisitions made by Gustav Pauli (b. 1866; d. 1938), the Kunsthalle’s first academic director, beginning in 1899.

Max Slevogt
Portrait of Gustav Pauli, 1924
Oil on canvas, 110 x 81 cm
© bpk • Hamburger Kunsthalle • Elke Walford