In 1880 the «Permanente Kunstausstellung» was founded in the former brick works. On the occasion of the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Grand Duke Carl Alexander and Grand Duchess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach in 1892 the building was given a glass-roofed room that, in 1897, received a splendid Venetian palace façade. In 1903 it was renamed the Grand Ducal Museum of Art and Decorative Art. Under Harry Graf Kessler, director from 1903 to 1906, highly regarded exhibitions of works by French Impressionists were shown there. At Kessler's initiative, the Deutsche Künstlerbund, an assocation of important proponents of the Secession, was founded in the museum on 15.12.1903.
In 1938 the view of of museum building was disrupted and the Venetian facade very much reduced. In 1955 it was again used for special exhibitions and since 2006 the Harry Graf Kessler Gallery has been operated again by the Stadtmuseum Weimar and the Department of Culure of the City of Weimar.