Doerner Institut


At the heart of the work undertaken by the Doerner Institut today is the care of the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, whose collections range from fourteenth-century to contemporary art. A further emphasis of our work is technical research and the analysis of historical painting methods and materials as well as the development of physical and chemical methods for examining art objects. The institute is also responsible for preventive conservation related to the museum buildings. Through its combination of practical restoration, day-to-day conservation treatments and internationally recognised scientific research, the Doerner Institut makes an important contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage.

We are currently working on a relaunch of our website. There you will soon find more comprehensive information on our staff, competences, projects and publications.

News: Doerner Institut's guiding principles

The Doerner Institut has established a set of guiding principles (“Leitbild“), that was developed in a series of dialogues with the entire team, professionally supported by Metrum Managementberatung. Click here to discover more about our mission, our goals and what matters to us.


News: research on the œuvre of Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde, Party, 1911, on canvas, 91,5 x 106 cm © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll

I would so much like my work to grow out of the material …
Art-technological research on the œuvre of Emil Nolde

Between 2018 and 2021, a joint project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will be devoted to the painting technique and the materials used by the Expressionist artist Emil Nolde. The partners in this multidisciplinary research project are the Doerner Institut of the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich (co-ordination), the Stiftung Seebüll Ada and Emil Nolde (Nolde Foundation Seebüll), and the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in co-operation with the University of Hamburg and the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Dresden.

Emil Nolde (born Hans Emil Hansen, 1867–1956) is undisputedly one of the best-known and most important representatives of German Expressionism. The Nolde Foundation Seebüll, as the manager of the Nolde estate, looks after the artist's former home and workplace, including an extensive collection of Nolde’s works, as well as an archive of about 25,000 documents and other items. Now, through a technological evaluation of the artist’s archive and the studio contents, as well as extensive imaging, analytical and other technological investigations of around 50 paintings from the collections in Seebüll, Hamburg and Munich, Emil Nolde’s techniques and materials are being explored for the first time. Although the study of painting techniques has successfully led to the clarification of a wide variety of art-historical and cultural-historical questions in numerous artists of the Modern period, the systematic, art-technological recording of large complexes of works is still rare. The project will thus broaden the art-historical research into the ‘invisible’ art-technological perspective on work processes, the choice of paints and chronological developments in the course of Nolde’s long artistic career. In addition to a technical symposium, the project is planned to include a presentation of important research results in a modular form of exhibition.

Discover the project on the website (German)

News: Postprints of Tempera 2018 conference now published!

From the 15 to 17 March 2018, Munich and its ‘Kunstareal’ was the location of exchange and experiment on ‘Tempera Painting between 1800 and 1950’.The Doerner Institut hosted this international conference with over 270 participants from 22 countries, which took place in close cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and the Technical University Munich, Chair of Conservation-Restoration, Art Technology and Conservation Science, as well as museum partners Villa Stuck and the Lenbachhaus. The two days of lectures covered a broad range of questions such as: What were the artists trying to achieve? Which materials did they use and how did they prepare and apply them? How can we examine and understand their techniques? In addition to theoretical disputes, the conference offered a day dedicated to practical workshops and guided gallery tours allowing participants to gain hands-on experience of the making of paints and their application as well as a splendid opportunity to study works of tempera painting preserved in Munich museums. Now, a richly illustrated postprint volume is published by Archetype Publications available either in print form or as free and open access pdf download. The essays explore the revival of tempera painting at the dawn of modernity from the perspectives of art history, technical art history, conservation and scientific analysis. General papers give an overview on topics such as the historical background of tempera painting, its terminologies, commercial production and the reconstruction of historical recipes, fundamentals of rheology, binding medium analyses and its interpretation. Moreover, particular papers focus on the work of Christina Herringham, Frances Hodgkins, Paul Klee, Hermann Prell, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, Joseph Southall, Edward Steichen and Ossawa Tanner. The book thus gives new insights into what artists were trying to achieve, the materials they used and how they prepared and applied them.

Major funding partners: VolkswagenStiftung, EU IPERION CH


The Doerner Institut was founded in 1937 in Munich as an independent ‘Reichsinstitut für Maltechnik’ (Reich Institute of Painting Techniques). Its present name comes from the painter and art analyst Max Doerner (1870–1939), professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, who garnered international acclaim for his work The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting, first published in German in 1921. The institute, its laboratory, and its technical research department, which also carried out restoration work, became affiliated with the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in 1946. The conservation and restoration departments of the Doerner Institut and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen were fully merged in 1977.