I think I’ve found my favourite Bavarian museum. I’d heard a lot about the Buchheim Museum at Lake Starnberg, but I hadn’t bothered to research it further. To me, the name “Buchheim Museum” conjured up a rather stuffy museum, filled with stuff no one really wants to see. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Named after eccentric man of all trades Lothar-Günther Buchheim, the museum opened in 2001, a home for Buchheim’s pretty impressive collection of art and other bits and bobs he collected (such as snow globes and gaudy porcelain).
I’d like to tell you a little more about Buchheim, because his life was pretty incredible. Not only was he a prolific art collector, he was also a very talented artist and writer. The 1981 Oscar-nominated movie Das Boot? That’s based on Buchheim’s 1973 novel of the same name, loosely based on his Second World War experiences. His own diverse art is on display in the museum too – haunting charcoal images of U-boat commanders, and over 100 sixties pop art lithographs.
He collected a lot – Kirchner, Nolde, Chagall, Picasso, Rodin, Kandinsky – and a great deal of African sculptures to boot.
Besides the fantastic paintings from such big names in art, the museum has a hugely fun cafe installation, complete with grotesque figures. The figures are created by Munich artist Angelika Littwin-Pieper, and they are weird and wonderful.
There’s also an exhibition on currently (running until June 19, 2016) titled Klimt and Shunga – explicit, erotic images from Vienna and Japan. The Austrian painter Klimt was hugely influenced by Japanese art, and the exhibition features 26 nude sketches by the man himself alongside a great many shunga (shunga is the Japanese term for erotic art) works from the 17th to the 19th century.
Besides all this, the museum’s architecture is impressively modern, designed by German architect Günter Behnisch (who also designed Munich’s Olympic Park and was coincidentally also a U-boat commander), and its location couldn’t be better – directly on the shore of Lake Starnberg, with deckchairs on the meadow and a pier that leads out into the lake. It’s dreamy – and one of the few museums you’re more than happy to head to on a sweltering hot day.
The one gripe I have is that there’s absolutely no information available in English. The museum’s in such a great location, its architecture so eye-catching and the art so diverse that it’s a great draw for international visitors – and the lack of English information is disappointing.
Opening hours and limited English information on the museum can be found here.