Gerard Meulensteen, the founder of the Danubiana museum, began to collect modern art in the second half of the 1980s. His first acquisitions included works by artists from the experimental CoBrA group, whose influential figures such as Karel Appel, Constant, Lucebert, or Eugen Brands were Dutch.
Later he met Walasse Ting, the Chinese-American painter, and purchased several of his works. This friendship led him to the work of Sam Francis, the American abstract artist. However, his collecting passion grew immensely after meeting Kiro Urdin, the Macedonian painter who lived in Paris at that time. His subsequent visits to art fairs and modern art exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. resulted in the steady growth of his collection, which he considered as investments in beauty and happiness, especially after meeting artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Christo, Corneille, Pierre Alechinsky, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Paul Jenkins, Hans Van de Bovenkamp and others. His interest in Slovak art was sparked when he met Slovak gallerist, Vincent Polakovič in 1994. Since then he he has become one of the greatest foreign collectors of the art of this region.
Today, the Meulensteen collection forms the core of the Danubiana’s permanent collection. These pieces are on loan to the museum for free for 20 years, while it builds its own collection. Today, the nearly 200 sculptures and paintings of this collection are rotated on a regular basis.