On the history of the Franz Marc Museum

Rudolf Ibach um 1930

The Background

An important meeting preceded the foundation of the Franz Marc Museum. Maria Marc had entrusted Klaus Lankheit with the scholarly appraisal and recording of the œuvre of her husband who fell in 1916 during World War I. Through Lankheit, she was introduced to Etta and Otto Stangl. The couple had opened a gallery in Munich in 1947 dedicated to contemporary abstract painting, but where exhibitions of works by Classical Modernist artists were also held. They were able to draw on the collection of Etta’s father, Rudolf Ibach, that he had assembled over the first few decades of the 20th century and that encompassed the works of the ‘Blauer Reiter’ (Blue Rider) and ‘Brücke’ (Bridge) arstists as well as Paul Klee. The Galerie Stangl was a meeting place for collectors and artists, for those working in museums and for diplomats.


Rudolf Ibach c. 1930; photo: private collection

Etta und Otto Stangl mit Maria Marc, um 1950, Foto: Rosemarie Nohr

A House for Franz Marc

A close friendship evolved between Etta and Otto Stangl and Maria Marc. Otto Stangl became Maria Marc’s advisor for sales and the publication of Franz Marc’s works. Together with Klaus Lankheit he attempted to exhibit Franz Marc’s paintings and drawings in Germany and find homes for them in the long term in German museums. Ultimately, the plan evolved to establish a museum for the artist’s works in the landscape in which Marc had lived and where his major works were created. Otto Stangl and Klaus Lankheit were able to win over the parish of Kochel am See for the project which made a villa high above Lake Kochel available, where the museum was set up and managed by the Franz Marc Foundation. Other lenders of works, benefactors and supporters were the community of heirs of Maria Marc, the Franz Marc Förderkreis that was founded for this purpose, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) and Wilhelm Winterstein who made numerous acquisitions possible.


Etta and Otto Stangl with Maria Marc, c. 1950; photo: Rosemarie Nohr


Charlotte Mittelsten, Scheid Blaues Album, Kochel 2007, Foto: Magrit Auer

The New Museum

When Etta and Otto Stangl died shortly after one another in 1990, their collection – that comprised the Ibach Collection and acquisitions they had made themselves during their time as gallery owners – passed to Etta Stangl’s nieces and nephews. For her sister, Charlotte Mittelsten Scheid (née Ibach), it was of great importance for the collection to be kept together and made accessible to the public. As a result the idea emerged of extending the Franz Marc Museum in Kochel with the aim of showing works by Franz Marc and the ‘Blauer Reiter’ artists in conjunction with those by their contemporaries and successors. Margrit Auer-Ibach and Etta Mittelsten Scheid founded the Etta and Otto Stangl Foundation that, together with the Franz Marc Foundation, is responsible for running the museum.

Charlotte Mittelsten Scheid, Kochel 2007, photo: Magrit Auer