New Gallery serves as the home of modern art, housing both the state and the municipal collections. From 19th-century painting via selected works of the Klassische Moderne era to contemporary art, visitors to the museum will find a fascinating interaction of the schools and periods. Another focus of the collections is documenta pieces: successive works have been acquired since 1982, with funding provided both by the city of Kassel and the State of Hesse.
Among the highlights of 19th-century art are works by Johann Martin von Rohden, the Late Romantic painter Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, and the Willingshäuser group of painters, all of whom are mainly exponents of landscape painting. There are also numerous pieces spanning the years from Biedermeier through Salon painting to Historicism.
The transition into the 20th century is marked by numerous works by the Neo-Impressionists Paul Baum and Curt Herrmann, whose work addresses the achievements of Impressionism and marks the beginnings of abstract art. A large number of paintings by Lovis Corinth including one of his masterpieces, »Walchensee, Landschaft mit Kuh« (1921), and paintings by Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Carl Schuch complement the group of German Impressionists.
Klassische Moderne and contemporary art represent further highlights of the museum, with Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Max Ernst, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter among the major exponents.
A room designed by Joseph Beuys himself on the occasion of the museum's reopening in 1976 merits special attention. The installation comprises »The Pack (Das Rudel)« as well as four vitrines, 29 drawings and seven three-dimensional paintings.
Among the outstanding purchases made at past documenta exhibitons are "Isola", a walkable installation by Mario Merz; Michael Rakowitzʼ »What Dust Will Rise?«; Doris Salcedo's »THOU-LESS«; and four chairs from Ai Weiwei's »Fairytale« project.