• Germany's news in English
 

Fury as masterpieces make way for modern art

Published: 16 Jul 2012 16:55 GMT+02:00

The collection at the Gemäldegalerie museum claims to be one of the world’s finest, and includes masterpieces by artists from every period between the 13th and 18th century. Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens, Dürer, Holbein, Canaletto and Gainsborough are all well represented.

Although the museum was only built in 1998, and its design is widely regarded as comparable with the Louvre in Paris and Madrid’s Prado, it may soon be the scene of - very careful - packing as the priceless paintings are removed.

The plan is for the old masters to make way for a collection of modern art, with an emphasis on surrealism.

Collectors Heiner and Ulla Pietzsch say they will donate their collection to the city – but only if a place is found for it to be displayed intact. Otherwise they will break it up and sell it, they say.

The museum which is currently home to the old masters might make a logical home for the 20th century collection – it is near the skyscrapers of Potsdamer Platz and next to the New National Gallery which is devoted to modern art.

Berlin’s culture minister Bernd Neumann has pledged €10 million for the work needed to turn it into a home for the modern collection.

Instead, the old masters might be more at home on the Unesco world cultural heritage Museum Island which is heaving with antiquities and classic art – and tourists.

Last year fewer than 300,000 people visited the Gemäldegalerie, while around a million went to the Pergamon museum, which contains classical antiquities.

It is often said that Berliners do not even realize what masterpieces they have in the middle of their city, tucked away behind the Philharmonic building.

Compared with the crowds generally found at the entrances to other great galleries around the world at the weekend, this Sunday there was no queue and visitors were more often than not alone in front of even the more famous paintings.

But 4,500 art historians have already signed a letter of protest against the move, while intellectual weekly newspaper Die Zeit has called for the Gemäldegalerie to be rescued.

For there is no dedicated home for the old masters to go to – the plan so far is to put some in the newly restored Bode Museum which houses an extensive sculpture collection. They would stay there while a new gallery was built on the museum island.

The art historians fear that because the €150 million or so that would needed for this has not been found, the process could take many years – time during which many masterpieces would be in storage, unable to be seen.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:07 July 16, 2012 by cheeba
finally a good reason to rebuild the city palace
18:29 July 16, 2012 by Englishted
Put the new ones in the gardens and pretend it is a new building because thats pretty surreal.
22:01 July 16, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
..."art" like "hedgefunds", "derivatives" etc... are just investments for the "crude" there is "intrisic value"...

....but the fact that in any society or culture...95% of the population are "pigs"...

automatically, art is reduced to "whatever the market can bear" i.e...if some twit, with 50,000,000 at his'her disposal...they buy an object...now it's worth, let's say, 50,000,00...it has nothing to do with talent, materials, styles etc...as we know, like in "classical" music....most of the poor SOB's, beside Degas...died in a pauper's grave....later on, the " buyers and sellers" decide what the "worth" is...

what ever the market can bear...most of the French Impressionists died of VD and toomuch red wine for their livers or died in Polynesia, ...
Today's headlines
EU-US trade talks prompt German ire
Photo: DPA

EU-US trade talks prompt German ire

In much of Europe any mention of TTIP might receive a blank stare, in Germany the proposed US-EU free trade pact is likely to prompt a volley of angry words. READ  

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record
Photo: DPA

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record

Oskar Gröning, 93, a former Nazi known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", goes on trial in Germany on Tuesday in what could be the last Nazi war crimes trial while an expert calls the country's judicial record 'miserable'. READ  

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots
Photo: DPA

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots

The general manager of Turkish Airlines has urged single pilots to marry, after the Germanwings tragedy blamed on a pilot with psychological problems. READ  

Germany and Greece
'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'
Thanasis Glavinas outside one of the German parliament's buildings. Photo: Private

'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'

With the war of words – and cashflows – between Greece and Germany showing no sign of dying down, The Local meets one young Greek who's come to see what the Germans have to teach about running a country successfully. READ  

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations
'Loitz doesn't need any asylum seekers' reads the graffiti. Photo:DPA

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on Friday for state governments to speed up deportations of failed asylum applicants, in the latest round in a war of words between the federal government and the states. READ  

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours
Photo: DPA

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has dodged a broadside from company chairman Ferdinand Piech which many thought would unseat him from the troubled car maker. Instead, the steering committee has offered him an extension to his contract. READ  

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola
Tension on the touchline: Guardiola, Schweinsteiger and Müller-Wohlfahrt Photo: DPA

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola

The resignation of iconic club doctor Hans-Willhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on Thursday evening threatens to unleash internal chaos at Bayern Munich after their Champions League humiliation at the hands of FC Porto. READ  

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline
An InterCity train in Hannover's main train station. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn has until 3 pm on Friday to respond to demands from the Train Drivers' Union (GDL) for a "reasonable provisional result" in talks over pay, conditions and union representation. READ  

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional
Deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party Wolfgang Kubicki. Photo:DPA

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional

The deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Wolfgang Kubicki, called the government's plans to store communications data 'unconstitutional' and said he will fight the proposals in court. READ  

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters
Leszek Zukowski (c) participated in the Warsaw uprising. Photo:DPA

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters

Germany on Thursday awarded its highest honour for the first time to Poles who fought the occupying Nazis in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising of 1944, one of World War II's bloodiest episodes. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,264
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd