From 1839, the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern intended to create a uniformly designed "collection of Upper Bavarian architectural and artistic works, especially of historically interesting buildings, which are now demolished" for the purpose of documentation. In 1846, it commissioned the Munich painter Carl August Lebschée (1800-1877) to produce them. He was supposed to paint the necessary motifs from life or from older models (mostly Domenico Quaglio or Johann Georg von Dillis). However, after the first 16 sheets the project had to be abandoned for lack of money.
Consequently, the collection grew mainly by means of donations by the members of the association. These consisted of drawings, of watercolours and suchlike as well as prints. In addition to well-known works by artists, there are numerous works by members of the association which, although of lower quality, are of great documentary significance. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the potential of photography were increasingly used to document interesting motifs.
Since there was no clearly defined concept for the collection, the "Bildersammlung" (collection of graphic art) also contains numerous topographical motifs that are unrelated to Munich or Upper Bavaria.
The collection was arranged in accordance with the following criteria:
- panoramas and general views of the city of Munich
- Munich - streets, squares, buildings, events
- locations from the area of the association (including events)
- other topographical motifs