In the painting cabinet Johann Caspar Goethe presented his art collection. The paintings cover the wall close together like decorative wallpaper. In Poetry and Truth Goethe recounts that all were set in black frames with gold edging and symmetrically arranged.
The collection consisted of genre and architectural pieces, landscapes and still lifes, and some religious and mythological subjects. They were made by artists from Frankfurt and its environs who were contemporaries of the Goethe family. The concentration of contemporary artists distinguished the cabinet from that of other Frankfurt collections, in which the more highly esteemed Italian and Dutch art of the baroque predominated.
My father’s maxim, which he frequently and even passionately expressed, was that one should patronize living masters and spend less on dead ones […]. He had the notion that the situation with paintings is exactly as it is with Rhine wines, which, even though age confers a superior value on them, can be produced just as excellently in every successive year as in the years past. In the course of time the new wine grows old too, and will be just as costly, and perhaps even more palatable.”[...] In accord with these principles, he had kept all the artists in Frankfurt busy for several years
Goethe: From My Life. Poetry and Truth, part 1 , book 1