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Friday, January 20, 2012

BERLIN’S 2OTH-CENTURY ART TO GAIN SPACE OF ITS OWN


Berlin’s 20th-century art to gain space of its own
The director of the Nationalgalerie, Udo Kittelmann, gets the green light to rehang Gemäldegalerie with modern masters

By Axel Lapp. Museums, Issue 230, December 2011
Published online: 14 December 2011

Udo Kittelmann, the director of the Nationalgalerie, and Michael Eissenhauer, the director general of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums), announced last month that the Gemäldegalerie, which houses Old Master paintings, could become a museum of 20th-century art “in the next couple of years”.

The capital of Germany should have a prominent gallery dedicated to 20th-century art that does not try to conceal the “painful” gaps in the collection caused by the nation’s traumatic past, says Kittelmann.

The Old Masters currently housed in the Gemäldegalerie in the Kulturforum, which is near the Neue Nationalgalerie, would move to an extension of the Bode Museum created by converting a former garrison across the road. Kittelmann and Eissenhauer spoke of their vision at the opening of “Divided Heaven, The Collection: 1945-68” (until late 2013) at the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Securing space for a 20th-century art museum in Berlin is high on Kittelmann’s agenda. Because the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie is listed and lacks space for a permanent display, art from important historical periods is not regularly on show.

An added impetus to have more space came a year ago when Berlin-based collectors Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch donated 150 works of art, valued at €120m. Their gift was made on the condition that the works by artists including Magritte, Pollock and Ernst are integrated into the collection and that one day they will be on permanent display.


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