Since its foundation, the Städel Museum – which has also accommodated the collection of the Städtische Galerie (municipal gallery) since 1907 – has expanded its holdings continually by pursuing an active acquisition policy. Altogether the collection presently comprises some 2,900 paintings, 600 sculptures, 500 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings and prints. With its rich holdings, the Städel Museum presents an overview of seven hundred years of European art history – beginning with the early fourteenth century and covering the Renaissance, the Baroque, Early Modern and contemporary art. Among the highlights of this comprehensive collection are works by Holbein the Younger, Cranach the Elder, Dürer, Botticelli, Rembrandt and Vermeer, Degas, Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Kirchner, Beckmann and Klee, Bacon, Klein, Serra, Richter, Kippenberger and Tillmans.
In addition to collecting and preserving art, the scholarly study of the artworks as well as the development of exhibitions within the context of those holdings constitute chief focuses of the museum’s work. A further overriding concern is the target-group-oriented mediation of the collection’s contents and of art in general to a diversified public.
The high degree of activity in the areas of research, exhibitions and museum education as well as the outstanding quality of its collection guarantee the Städel a prominent place in the international museum landscape. As Germany’s first civil museum foundation, the Städel is moreover a prime example of the kind of broad-based private patronage that is so essential for the preservation and development of exceptional cultural institutions.
When the Städel Museum reopens its old spaces and opens its new, all of its collections will be presented in new splendour. The departments of "Modern Art" (1800–1945) and "Old Masters" (until 1800) will open their doors in the old building on 17 November and 15 December 2011, respectively. Contemporary art will be presented in a new underground annex constructed especially for that purpose and scheduled to open in February 2012.