PAN kunstforum niederrhein

The postermuseum in emmerich – germany

The collection

With its approximately 95,000 posters, the PAN disposes of an inexhaustible supply of works.


It was only after his death that Ernst Müller got the appreciation that he should have had during his lifetime. “We all thank you, Ernst. You were the ambassador of poster art to us”, were the closing words of British artist Paul Peter Piech’s opening speech of the exhibition “25 Jahre Plakatmuseum am Niederrhein – In Memoriam Ernst Müller“ in October 1993. This exhibition was a milestone in the history of the PAN. Many internationally renowned artists like Klaus Staeck, Boris Bucan, H. Feliks Büttner, Michael Matthias Prechtel and Uwe Loesch were present for the occasion – many of which dedicated a tribute to the recently deceased museum founder.

Initially, Ernst Müller wasn’t thinking of high art at all. In 1968, as rector of the Emmericher Martini-Grundschule, the pedagogue just wanted to show the students the enjoyable side of art. He placed movable screens in the lunchroom on which he hung posters of zoos, fairs, post offices and cities. And so the idea of the PAN was born. Soon Ernst Müller discovered the artistic charm of the posters. The PAN presented its first exhibition, the “Kunstausstellung“, with works of Holger Matthies in 1972. Since then history has taken its course, reaching a peak with the opening of the new PAN art forum in July 2003.

Poster messages

A successful poster delivers its message at a single glance. A poster is by far the best medium to immediately open the viewer’s eyes. The core of the message is visualized in an image with the support of no more than a brief explanation. The role of the poster is of indispensable value in postmodern times whose overwhelming flood of images tends to make people confused, as posters concentrate on only essential information. Whether it’s art, theatre, music, politics or any other aspect of human life, the PAN’s inexhaustible inventory of over 95000 works covers any conceivable topic – and all are accessible.

A successful poster never fails to deliver its message. It is not a coincidence, for instance, that the Isreali David Tartakover used posters, among other media, to pursue opposition politics against the conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Nethanyahu. Klaus Staeck, too, provocatively lays his finger on social sore spots because, as Uwe Loesch has said, posters often act as “attacks on the square part in the viewer’s head“.


The concept of the PAN is interdisciplinary, that is, poster art is only the basis, or the “fond“ as Beuys would say, of the activities of the PAN. Therefore, in future, the museum will also present paintings, sculptures, installation art, video art, new media, performances, dance theatre, and so on. In exhibiting all these different genres we aim to promote young artists and as yet unestablished artistic genres. The PAN also sees itself as a forum for innovative artistic impulses.

The PAN’s focus is on cooperation with colleges and universities, as well as building a network with international artists.


The PAN poster museum promotion team was founded in 1994 and has 185 private and corporate members. The goal of the PAN is the management and promotion of the museum. The city of Emmerich o.t. Rhine is exclusively involved in the financial aspects of the PAN’s building. The PAN e. V. has taken over the day-to-day management of the poster museum and is solely responsible for the museum’s finances.

The foundation “PAN – Ernst Müller collection“ was approved by the district government in Düsseldorf on the 23rd of December 1999. The foundation “PAN – Ernst Müller collection“ and the PAN both aim to promote the museum. The foundation “PAN – Ernst Müller collection“ contributes to the running costs of the museum.

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