The Neue Pinakothek forms part of an extraordinary concentration of art museums just outside Munich’s old town. Its exterior – a gloomy postmodern mish-mash which has aged poorly – is the least impressive of the three museums bearing the “Pinakothek” tag, but once inside all is forgiven.
The collection is largely 19th century art, with a bit of scope creep into the adjoining centuries, and it was first established by King Ludwig I whose philhellenism made Munich a showcase of neo-classicism. There is an impressive showing of English works – Gainsborough, Turner, Constable – as well as masterpieces of German and French Romanticism. Look out for Carl Spitzweg’s The Poor Poet, an affectionate dig at the Romantic cult of the impoverished, garret-dwelling writer. Many visitors will be delighted by the Impressionist collection, which boasts works by almost all of the movement’s leading lights as well as those who came immediately before or after: Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Gauguin, to name a few.
The Neue Pinakothek lies to the north of Munich’s old town and can be easily reached on foot; otherwise the Theresienstraße underground station serves the ensemble of art institutions of which the Neue Pinakothek is part.