The museum opened after sculptor Georg Kolbe‘s death, in 1947, when his former studio was made accessible to the public and his artistic heritage kept there. To fulfill this task, the Georg Kolbe Foundation was founded in 1949, which holds the rights to the artist’s work and is still the bearer of the museum today. In the decades that followed, further pieces and works by other sculptors were added, and, as a consequence, the exhibition programme was extended.
Under the direction of Marc Wellmann, from 2008 on, the focus of the exhibition programme widened, involving an extensive dialogue with contemporary art: since then, solo and group exhibitions dedicated to internationally renowned contemporary sculptors have been regularly organised. Under the current director Julia Wallner the museum has been opened to wider audiences: today, in addition to classical modernism, the museum is dedicated also to contemporary art.