Heinrich XI Reuss Prince of Obergreiz (1722–1800), who built the Sommerpalais, affectionately called it »Maison de belle retraite«, house of refuge, as the gable inscription added to the coat of arms shows.
Built in the early Classicism period by the House of Reuss Elder line, the Sommerpalais was used as their summer residence until 1918. In February 1921, the collection of copper engravings and the princely library were combined in the »Stiftung der Älteren Linie des Hauses Reuß« (Foundation of the House of Reuss Elder line) and taken into state ownership. The Sommerpalais became its depository and finally, in 1922, it opened as the art museum »Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlug Greiz« (National Collection of Books and Copperplate Engravings in Greiz).
The Satiricum was founded as the national collection of caricatures in the GDR in 1975. In the following years, until 1989, a number of very special GDR-caricatures came together. Since 1990 caricatures of the whole of Germany have been collected. In this way, the collection focuses on historical and contemporary caricatures as well as on books and engravings.
Exhibitions of caricatures, concerts and events take place in the Garden Salon (ground floor), whereas the old collection is presented in the Beletage (first floor). In the mezzanine, the former living quarters, the library, a reading room and the restoration workshop are housed.
The museum and collection are owned by the administrative district of Greiz.