The 1910 Exhibition Masterpieces of Muhammedan Art in Munich

From May to October 1910, the largest exhibition of Islamic Art in European history took place at Munich's Exhibition Park on Theresienhöhe. With almost 3,600 loans from international collections, the show displayed the whole spectrum of visual arts from the Muslim world for the first time. Whereas up til then, the presentation of Islamic art in Europe had often been clouded by a propensity for oriental bazars and the Arabian Nights, Munich chose to display the pieces of art objectively for the first time. The objective was to show art from Islamic countries as being on the same level as European pieces of art. In fact, this exhibition characterized the reception of Islamic art in western societies up until the 1950s.

It was Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria who came up with the idea for the Masterpieces exhibition. He had found valuable Persian carpets in the Munich Residence and he wanted to present them to the public as the Wittelsbacher's contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Oktoberfest in 1910. As the owner of the exhibition park, the city of Munich quickly adopted this idea. The second pillar of the 1910 exhibition season consisted of a demanding series of concerts in the Musikfesthalle. Additionally, Berlin's German Theater, under the direction of Max Reinhardt, guested at the Künstlertheater. The amusement park on the southern end of Bavariapark was meant to attract an international audience interested in culture while also catering to all classes of the population.