Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

Lonely Planet review

Late 19th-century portraitist Franz von Lenbach used his fortune to build a fabulous Tuscan-style home, which his widow later sold to the city for a pittance but with the proviso that it be used as a museum. To get things going, she also threw in a bunch of hubbie's works. Today the gallery fills with fans of the expressionist Blauer Reiter (Blue Rider) group founded by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc in 1911.

Soon joined by August Macke, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky and others, they rebelled against traditional academy art and instead pursued ground-breaking visions and themes. Ironically, Lenbach's portraits seem comparatively staid and retro.

Contemporary art is another focal point. The acquisition of Joseph Beuys installation Show Your Wound nearly caused a riot in the conservative city council, but the collection took off anyway. All the big names are here: Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, Andy Warhol, Dan Flavin, Richard Serra and Jenny Holzer among them.

Works are also shown in the nearby Kunstbau , a 120m-long underground tunnel above the U-Bahn station Königsplatz.

The Lenbachhaus closed in 2009 for a top-to-bottom renovation directed by stellar British architect Lord Norman Foster. By the time you read this the extended and renovated building should have reopened to the public.