• Germany edition
 
Fury as masterpieces make way for modern art
Photo: DPA

Fury as masterpieces make way for modern art

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria
File Photo: DPA

Cows kill German dog walker in Austria

A 45-year-old German woman died when she was attacked by a herd of 20 cows and calves on Monday afternoon on an Alpine pasture in Tyrol's Stubaital valley. READ  

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum
Knut's new home in Berlin's Natural History Museum. Photo: DPA

Knut goes on display in Berlin museum

Germany’s favourite polar bear Knut is set to pull in the crowds again - but this time from a display case. More than three years after his death, his real fur has been used to create a new Knut for a museum exhibition. READ  

And the winner of the EU single market is...
German incomes are higher thanks to the EU. Photo: DPA

And the winner of the EU single market is...

Germany and Denmark came out as the winners of the European Union's single market in a study released on Monday. Integrating economically with its neighbours has helped the German economy grow an average of €37 billion a year since 1992. READ  

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats
Police check the outside of a synagogue in Wuppertal for evidence of arson on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Synagogue attacked, rabbi gets death threats

A wave of anti-Semitism in Germany, unleashed by the Gaza crisis, shows no sign of abating. A synagogue was attacked on Tuesday morning, a rabbi received death threats and anti-Jewish comments online have increased. Attacks on mosques have also risen. READ  

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight
Photo: DPA

UBS pays Germany €300m in tax fight

Top Swiss bank UBS settled a long-running legal dispute with Germany on Tuesday by agreeing to pay a fine of €300 million. Germany suspects UBS of having helped account holders hide millions from the taxman. READ  

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west
Münster was one of the areas worst hit by Monday night's heavy rain. Photo: DPA

Two die as heavy rain and floods hits west

UPDATE: A man drowned in his cellar on Monday night as heavy rain battered parts of north-western Germany. A second man died when he tried to drive through a flooded street. The emergency services were in places overwhelmed by hundreds of calls. There are further weather warnings in place for Tuesday. READ  

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions
Merkel has finally lost patience with Putin. Photo: DPA

EU to hit Russia with tough sanctions

The EU is set to agree a raft of new wide-ranging sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, after Germany changed its stance on upping the economic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. READ  

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine
Professor Andreas Fath, 49, in training along the Rhine in Baden-Württemberg in June. Photo: DPA

'Mad professor' to swim length of Rhine

German chemistry professor Andreas Fath started on Monday a gruelling four-week solo swim down the Rhine river for the benefit of science and the environment. READ  

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?
Markus Rehm became German champion on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Unfair advantage for one-legged long jumper?

Paralympics gold medallist Markus Rehm triumphed over his non-disabled rivals on Saturday, winning the German long jump championship. But athletics officials are now reviewing whether his prosthetic leg gave him an unfair advantage. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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

3,227
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd