The Städel, officially the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, is an art museum in Frankfurt am Main, with one of the most important collections in Germany.
The Städel owns 2,700 paintings (of which 600 are displayed) and a collection of 100,000 drawings and prints as well as 600 sculptures. It has around 4,000 m² of display and a library of 100,000 books and 400 periodicals.
The Städel was founded in 1815 by the Frankfurt banker and merchant Johann Friedrich Städel. In 1878, a new building, designed according to the Gründerzeit style, was erected on Schaumainkai street, presently the major museum district. By the start of the 20th century, the gallery was among the most prominent German collections of classic Pan-European art; the other such collections open to the public were the Dresden Gallery, the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, and the Altes Museum in Berlin. In 1937, 77 paintings and 700 prints were confiscated from the museum when the National Socialists declared them "degenerate art ".
In 1939, the collection was moved out of Frankfurt to protect it from damage in World War II. The collection of the Staedel, officially known as the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie of Frankfurt, was removed from the museum to avoid destruction from the Allied bombings, and the collection was stored in the Schloss Rossbach, a castle owned by the Baron Thüngen near Bad Brückenau in Bavaria. There, the museum’s paintings and library were discovered by Lt. Thomas Carr Howe, USN, of the American Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program. Although the Baron von Thüngen and his wife were uncooperative with the Americans, Frau Dr. Holzinger, a licensed physician and the Swiss wife of the Staedel museum director, was present at the site and assisted with the cataloging and the removal of the items to the Munich Central Collecting Point. Lt. Howe said, “The first room to be inspected was a library adjoining the sitting room in which we had been waiting.
The gallery was substantially damaged by air raids in World War II and it was rebuilt by 1966 following a design by the Frankfurt architect Johannes Krahn. An expansion building for the display of 20th-century work and special exhibits was erected in 1990, designed by Gustav Peichl. Small structural changes and renovations took place from 1997 to 1999.
The Städel has European paintings from seven centuries, beginning with the early 14th century, moving into Late Gothic, the Renaissance, Baroque, and into the 19th and 20th centuries. The large collection of prints and drawings is not on permanent display and occupies the first floor of the museum. Works on paper not on display can be viewed by appointment.
The gallery has a conservation department that performs conservation and restoration work on the collection.The museum also features works by the 20th-century German artist Max Beckmann.