From Early Modernism to Contemporary Art

Willi Baumeister, Ruhe und Bewegung II (auf Blau), 1948

The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection was founded with the purchase of the painting Ruhe und Bewegung II (auf Blau), 1948, by Willi Baumeister, an artist from Stuttgart. Since around 1980, the collection has been continuously expanded with great commitment. Its beginnings were dedicated to early modernism and artists from southern Germany, including professors and students of the Stuttgart Academy such as Adolf Hölzel, Oskar Schlemmer, Jean Arp, Max Bill and Willi Baumeister. Following in the wake of the Bauhaus, these artists all had in common an artistically motivated interest in an interdisciplinary dialogue between fine art, functional product design, architecture, and graphic design. To this day the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has remained true to this orientation towards research-based artistic and innovation-seeking thinking. A way of thinking that is also dedicated to people, their imagination and creativity.

In the mid-1980s, the collection’s range expanded to include international trends in abstraction, pop art, light art and sculpture. Since 2000, it has focused primarily on young global trends in painting and object art, photography and media art. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has developed a clear, art historically based profile through its consistent thematic focus and orientation. It has been directed and curated by Dr Anne Vieth since 2023. Previously, Hans J. Baumgart (until 2000) and Dr Renate Wiehager (until 2023) were responsible for the development of the collection.

Haris Epaminonda, Untitled #06 o/g, 2012

Contemporary art, topical questions and diversity

The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection currently comprises around 3,000 works by over 800 artists. It is constantly being expanded, as only a dynamic collection is considered an active means of promotion of culture. New acquisitions focus mainly on renowned international contemporary art. Through this, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection introduces current issues from the fields of society, aesthetics, design and lifestyle to the company as a subject for discussion and a broadening of perspectives. Diversity plays a decisive role for the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection: its collection practice is consistently geared towards the promotion of international artists and a diversity of cultures, orientations, and views.

Active promotion of emerging artists

The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection attaches great importance to the purchase of young art. It wishes to support contemporary artists and provide them with a platform. This is part of the company’s social commitment. The works of up-and-coming artists are integrated into the collection’s exhibitions and publications and thus presented to a wide audience both inside and outside the company.

In addition, the collection supports contemporary artists through various sponsorship programmes. For example, it has been organising the Mercedes-Benz Art Scope programme together with Mercedes-Benz Japan since 1991 to promote the development of contemporary art and cultural exchange between Japan and Europe. The programme is centred around a three-month artist-in-residence scholarship for Japanese artists in Berlin and for German artists in Tokyo.


Willi Baumeister
Ruhe und Bewegung II (auf Blau), 1948
Oil with synthetic resin on hardboard
Oskar Schlemmer
Wandfries im Haus Mendelsohn Berlin, Wandbildentwurf, 1930
Pastel on cardboard
Max Bill
quinze variations sur un même thème / 15 variations on one theme, 1935
Lithograph, Ed. 200
Jean Arp
Lèvres et glace a main, 1927
Oil on wood, Ed. 1/2



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