Gudrun Spielvogel

Gudrun Spielvogel: a life for art

Munich is shaped by extraordinary women. We would like to introduce a few of them. This time: Gudrun Spielvogel. The gallerist and Board Member of the Initiative of Galleries in Munich has observed Munich’s art scene for decades. Here, she presents women who have shaped Munich’s art scene, who shape it today and who make it possible.

The latecognized:

Gabriele Münter, artist

“When you think of the ‘Blue Rider’ art movement, you immediately think of Franz Marc’s famous painting ‘Blue Horse I.’, the almost iconic picture of a blue horse in front of colourful hills. Or Wassily Kandinsky’s work ‘Impression III’, an abstract rendering of a concert which the painter had attended. Between Marc’s colourful animals and Kandinsky’s shadowy snapshots, there is the work of Gabriele Münter. The Berlin-born artist moved to Munich in 1901 and became part of the famous expressionist artist association. Like Kandinsky and Marc, Münter worked with colour. Her expressionist landscapes, still lifes and portraits are radical reductions with vibrant fields of colour. The essence behind the representations can be seen, but the shape does not break up completely. During her lifetime, Münter was unable to step out of the shadows of Kandinsky, who was her partner. It was only long after her death that she was perceived as an independent artist. You can only take your hat off to Gabriele Münter. She refused to withdraw behind the men of her time and just wash the brushes. She had the self-confidence to paint and design independently – that was not to be taken for granted in those days. Later, she saved Kandinsky’s works from the Nazis. She is a role model to this day.”

Discover Gabriele Münter in Munich: Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus: permanent exhibition ‘The Blue Rider’


The city discoverers:

Eva Huttenlauch und Stephanie Weber, curators

“As a curator at the Lenbachhaus, you can take the easy way out by simply having another Münter exhibition or highlighting another big name which is guaranteed to attract large numbers of visitors. Or you can do what Eva Huttenlauch and Stephanie Weber do: the two curators designed the exhibition series ‘Favourites: New Art from Munich’. The objective of the series is to highlight the contemporary art in the city, to support it and, above all, to make it accessible to a wider public. For the third instalment, ‘Favourites III’, which was presented in the Lenbachhaus in 2016, the two curators selected twelve artists from different generations, a kind of cross-section of the young, local art scene in Munich. Getting such a project on its feet requires a lot of courage and, above all, a wide-ranging knowledge: as well as expertise in art history, social and interdisciplinary knowledge is also required. And, of course, it is necessary to know the young artists of the city, to assess the talents from the academies – and to be prepared to commit oneself. The work of these two women is a declaration of faith in the young generation of artists and not least in Munich.”

Discover Eva Huttenlauch and Stephanie Weber in Munich: Städtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus and Kunstbau: exhibition “I’m A Believer. Pop Art und Gegenwartskunst aus dem Lenbachhaus und der Kico Stiftung“ (‘I’m A Believer. Pop Art and Contemporary Art from the Lenbachhaus and the Kico Foundation’), curated by Eva Huttenlauch and Matthias Mühling


The cheerful one:

Betty Mü, artist and designer

“Last May, at the art fair Artmuc, Betty Mü exhibited her work ‘Bliss’: a composition of objects, sounds and images. A kind of living picture consisting of round plates, mirrors, crystal balls and plants, onto which underwater scenes and ocean scenes were projected, along with mystic digital sounds which responded to the audience. An extraordinary overall experience – a shrine to happiness. In general, we can say that Betty Mü is an artist whose work always radiates a certain gaiety. She says of herself that she wants to focus on beautiful things with her video installations. I find that charming and important in the mind of artists. Betty grew up in the Schwabing district in the 1970s, but moved to New York at a young age, where she studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. This is where she began to experiment with Super 8 cameras. Back in Munich, she made a name for herself with visuals for clubs, such as Harry Klein. Today, she is beaming scenes from the history of the Gärtnerplatz Theatre onto the façade of the building to celebrate its 150th birthday or showcasing pieces of jewellery on a fashion catwalk with oversized macro images. Her installations are always fantastic and light – almost magical.”

Discover Betty Mü in Munich: Sport Schuster: two permanent video installations are being installed in the new second store of the sports goods shop. One work is a version of her popular work „Salon der Vielfältigkeit“  (‘Salon of the Multiplicity’).


The collector:

Ingvild Goetz, art collector and curator

“Ingvild Goetz is one of the most likeable and most intense artistic women that we have in Munich. She is primarily known for her art collection, which is one of the largest in Germany. She gave the state of Bavaria the museum building of the Brandhorst Collection and 375 media works; she made 5000 pieces available to the Haus der Kunst and the Neues Museum Nuremberg as a permanent loan; and she supports a number of charitable organisations. Ingvild Goetz came to Munich in 1973 and opened her gallery ‘art in progress’. As a collector, she was always ahead of her time: to date, her perception for current, young, unknown artists is infallible. It was never her aim to use art to enhance her own status. No, she simply approaches the matter with a great enthusiasm for art per se. That is something that I value highly. I do not know any other woman who has exhibited and collected art and made it accessible to the public again with such boldness. With her Munich shines a little more.”

Discover Ingvild Goetz in Munich: Haus der Kunst: exhibition ‘Nachts. Zwischen Traum und Wirklichkeit’ (‘At night. Between dream and reality’), 12th July 2019 – 6th January 2020 (The Goetz Collection is currently closed due to renovations)


The farsighted:

Sabine Knust, gallerist and publisher

“Sabine Knust has brought the international stars to Munich: in her gallery in Maximilianstrasse, which she opened in 1982, she exhibited John Baldessari, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, amongst others. She also brought German artists such as Eberhard Havekost, Jörg Immendorf, A.R. Penck, Daniel Richter and Katharina Sieverding to Munich. There is no question that Sabine Knust has managed to hold her ground in an industry which was entirely dominated by men until the late 1960s. The law graduate started in the “Heiner Friedrich” gallery. There, she met people such as Georg Baselitz, Blinky Palermo and Dan Flavin – and presumably shook off her awe of the big names. Today, her gallery, which is now in Ludwigstrasse, diagonally opposite Charles Schumann’s bar, is an institution and her art publishing company is one of the most important ones on an international level. She has worked for many years with the younger Matthias Kunz, who will take over the publishing company. This means that she has enough foresight to train a successor and that she is able to work in a team. She has a quality that not many people in this industry have: the ability to share.”

Discover Sabine Knust in Munich: The current exhibitions of Sabine Knust can be found at


Questionnaire: What is unique about Munich, Mrs. Spielvogel?

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Minutes: Sabine Magnet; Photos: Frank Stolle; Illustration: Julia Pfaller


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