I_1_045_WBM Caracci (Zuschnitt)
Thomas Rowlandson, Der Korse und seine Bluthund

Collection Caricature and Design

Collection Caricature and Design

The foundation of the collection goes back to the early Sixties. Since then it has developed into a recognized institution of study and research that enjoys national and international fame. It now holds more than 50.000 satirical drawings from five centuries, which have come to the Museum as acquisitions, donations or on temporary loan. Added to this, there is a library of important historical and contemporary publications and documents on satirical art.

In the first two decades, acquisition concentrated on 20th century artists: Heinrich Zille (1858-1929), e.o. plauen (i.e. Erich Ohser, 1903-1944), A. Paul Weber (1893-1980), Hanns Erich Köhler (1905-1983), Wigg Siegl (1911-1994), Ernst Maria Lang (1916-2014), Mirko Szewczuk (1919-1957), Raymond Peynet (1908-1999), André François (1915-2005) and others. In the Eighties, a decisive change in the strategy of acquisition was made:  the focus was now to be on historical periods and on important international artists. This was the beginning of the systematic extension of the collection. In 1981, the purchase of 160 coloured etchings by George Cruikshank (17992-1878) made the start. In the following decades, large collections of works by famous English artists like William Hogarth (1679-1764), James Gillray (1757-1815), Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) and others were acquired. Today, British caricature holds a prominent place in the collection.

Since then, donations by artists have added to the remarkable scope of the collection. Following up his exhibition in 1981/82, Tomi Ungerer (*1931) donated 237 drawings, Walter Hänel (*1930) gave 115 drawings to the Museum.

With the donation made in 1988 by Munich-based businessman and patron Rudolf Ensmann, works of high national and international rank came to the Museum. Ensmann donated his entire collection of 783 original drawings, 95 prints and related publications. The Museum now owns such highlights as works by Eduard Thöny (1866-1950), Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948), Chas Adams (1912-1988), Peter Arno (1904-1968), Jean-Jacques Sempé (*1932), Ronald Searle (1920-2011), James Thurber (1894-1961), or Saul Steinberg (1914-1999).

The second focus of collecting is on works by the artists contributing to “Simplicissimus”, among them 75 works by such prominent artists as Ferdinand von Reznicek (1868-1909), Karl Arnold (1883-1953), Rudolf Wilke (1873-1908), and Olaf  Gulbransson (1873-1958). They came as permanent loans from  Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung.

Along with these historical works, the number of caricatures, cartoons and illustrated stories of the second part of the 20th century has been growing. There are now works by Paul Flora (1922-2009), Ironimus (i.e. Gustav Peichl, 1928), Erich Sokol (1933-2003); Ernst Kahl (*1949) and other well-known artists. A considerable number of the “Nick-Knatterton” stories by Manfred Schmidt (1913-1999) found their way into the collection. The adventures of another hero of a popular serial, “Jimmy das Gummipferd”, came in 2014, as part of a donation of the legacy of Roland Kohlsaat (1913-1978).

In the course of time, the importance of the collection, and its own ambition, have been growing, with great success, through the acquisition of several estates. There was the work of Hanns Erich Köhler (1905-1983), with its 6.000 drawings. Then, in 2005/2008, the voluminous estates of Volker Kriegel (1943-2003) and Friedrich Karl Waechter (1937-2005) were purchased and brought their New Frankfurt School fame to the collection.

Two more estates and their outstanding renown raised the importance of the collection even more:

In 2010, the Stiftung Niedersachsen made a permanent loan to the Museum of the eminent artist Ronald Searle's estate, consisting of more than 2.000 works. This was followed up, four years later, by the acquisition of 2.000 drawings from the estate of Marie Marcks, the grand old lady of German caricature. Neither of these acquisitions would have been possible without the financial support given by Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung, Stiftung Niedersachsen and Kulturstiftung der Länder. Great thanks are due to all the donors and patrons of the Museum Wilhelm Busch – Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst.

Sponsors of the Collection


  •   Aareal Bank, Wiesbaden
  •   Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  •   Rudolf Ensmann († 2004), München
  •   Ernst von Siemens-Kunstfonds, München
  •   Fritz-Behrens-Stiftung, Hannover
  •   Hypo-Kulturstiftung, München
  •   Klosterkammer Hannover
  •   Kulturstiftung der Länder, Berlin
  •   Landeshauptstadt Hannover
  •   Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft
        und  Kultur, Hannover
  •   Niedersächsische Lottostiftung, Hannover
  •   Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung, Hannover
  •   Nord/LB Hannover
  •   Sparkasse Hannover
  •   Stiftung Niedersachsen, Hannover
  •   Verein der Förderer des Museums Wilhelm Busch –
      Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst e. V.
  •   as well as numerous other public and private sponsors