The Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) are the municipal authority that succeeded the "Centralgemäldegaleriedirektion" (Central Painting Gallery Administration) founded in 1799, because the stock of paintings in the possession of the Wittelsbach family had grown substantially after they had inherited the galleries of Mannheim and Zweibrücken.
Soon after this, the stock was even further extended in the beginning of the nineteenth century due to the secularization and the transfer of the gallery in Düsseldorf. This meant that new locations had to be found. From 1777 to 1782, a new gallery was erected in the Court Garden of the Residence for the paintings that had so far been kept in the Schleissheim New Palace. Subsequently, from 1826 to 1836 the buildings for the Alte Pinakothek (Old Pinacotheca) and starting with 1853 for the Neue Pinakothek (New Pinacotheca) were erected, the latter serving for the "contemporary" art of this period (destroyed in 1944/45). After 1919, the then rather modern paintings of the second half of the nineteenth century were exhibited in an art exhibition complex at Königsplatz, which further on was called "Neue Staatsgalerie" ("The New State Gallery").
After WWII, the west wing of the Haus der Kunst (House of the Arts) was used as a provisional gallery for the masterpieces of all former State Gallery buildings. In 1957, the paintings of the Old Masters were transferred to the restored Alte Pinakothek, and when in 1981 the newly erected Neue Pinakothek opened for paintings of the nineteenth century, the provisional gallery turned into the "Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst" ("State Gallery for Modern Art"), presenting the art of the twentieth century. In 2002, the collection moved into the newly opened Pinakothek der Moderne (Pinacotheca of Modern Times), where it found a permanent home near the Alte and Neue Pinakothek in Munich’s museum quarter under the name of "Sammlung Moderne Kunst" (Modern Arts Collection). In 2009, the Brandhorst Museum opened, exhibiting the Udo and Anette Brandhorst collection, and in the same year the Schack collection, which had been transferred to the gallery building on Prinzregentenstrasse in 1909 and has been part of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen since 1939, celebrated its hundredth anniversary.
The profile of the collections of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen has changed over the years and today the term "painting collections" can hardly be applied any longer. While the stock did indeed exclusively consist of paintings up to the eigtheenth century, the collections of the Neue Pinakothek also exhibit works of sculptural art; as for the collections of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the traditional genres have lost their predominant role, thus complying to a concept of art that has substantially changed: Besides paintings, the Sammlung Moderne Kunst also exhibits items of photography and sculpture and presents video art and spatial installations.
There are branch galleries of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen all over Bavaria. Some of them date back to the early nineteenth century, when after secularization the need arose to find new locations in the whole kingdom for the extensive possessions of artwork the state took over. Some of these galleries (like Bamberg and Augsburg) even predate the Alte Pinakothek. Since their reorganization in the 1960es and 1970es, they present collections of high quality that are relevant for the respective regions or towns.