Museum Brandhorst, Munich

We spent a week in Munich seeing the Ring cycle, and we fell a bit in love with the city, in that kind of "Wow, we could really be happy here" kind of way that demands to be taken seriously. We're planning to stay put for a while, but Munich has definitely moved onto a short list of places we'd like to live.

One of the best things we did while we were there was visit the Museum Brandhorst, a contemporary art museum that opened in 2009. We were lucky enough to be staying with a Munich resident who told us about it; otherwise we probably would have missed it! Munich has several great museums in a big complex, all called Pinakothek this or that, and this lovely museum is tucked away behind them.

The most stunning part of the museum is the exterior.

Can you spot CM in this one?

The interior, in contrast, is very simple, just white walls and light wood. All the art housed here is given plenty of space to breathe. The museum uses all kinds of new "green" technologies to heat and cool it and to filter natural light into the space. It's a peaceful place to be.

It's not a huge collection, but it's deep in certain areas. My favorite was Cy Twombly's Lepanto series, created for the 2001 Venice Biennial. The Brandhorst has the largest collection of Twombly outside of (amazingly enough) The Menil Collection in Houston, and a special room was designed specifically for the Lepanto paintings. It's incredible, the closest thing I've found to the Water Lilies rooms in Paris.

Photo from here

We visit a lot of museums when we travel, and we particularly love museums whose architecture is as much of a draw as the art itself. Which museums do you love to visit?

All photos by LMB except the last one.


  1. Ah, it would have been so lovely to meet you both for a cup of coffee or for a glass of champagne during one of the many Ring breaks while you were in my home town. But alas,you decided to keep your stay here top secret. Well, maybe next time :) I´m glad you like Munich, and yes, the Museum Brandhorst is stunning and beautiful inside and out. I love it, and am happy to have it here. My only complaint is that it was built at such a narrow place, where it was somehow squeezed in. The limited space around it does not allow the building itself to breathe as freely as the art work inside the museum can. But this may be nitpicking. It is a great example of modern archicture anyway.
    I would be so interested in your opinion on the Ring Cycle. Did you like it? I do so only to a very limited degree. Apart from a few exciting scenes this is among the most boring and uninspired Rings a ever saw and heard.

    1. I know exactly what you mean about it being squeezed into its spot, but I kind of liked the sense that it sprang up out of nowhere, with nothing like the architecture anywhere nearby. As for the Ring, it was my first one, and I got a lot of just the experience of it. I'm eager to see more and learn the pieces better, but I was never bored. And Nina Stemme's performance in Götterdämmerung alone would have made the whole 20 hours worthwhile for me. :)


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