The National Gallery is a collection of art from the 19th, 20th and 21 Century under the auspices of the National Museums in Berlin - Foundation Prussian Cultural Heritage. It was established in 1861 when the Swedish Consul and bankers Joachim Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener donated his collection of contemporary art to William I of Prussia.
In 1876, the collection moved into the at that time newly built National Gallery, designed by Friedrich August Stüler and Heinrich Strack, the now so called Old National Gallery. The collection then increased rapidly among the directors Max Jordan and Hugo von Tschudi who had an international focus. 1909 Ludwig Justi had become director of the National Gallery. He put the emphasis on collecting works of expressionism.
The exhibitions of modern art took place in the "new division of the National Gallery", in the Crown Prince's Palace, Unter den Linden. Under his leadership the "Association of Friends of the National Gallery" was created.
In 1937 about 500 works were confiscated as degenerate art. During World War II the art works were removed to protect them from bombs and the building of the National Gallery was destroyed. At that time the collection has been divided. After the war, part of the collections have been shown in the rebuilt National Gallery on the Museumsinsel.
The remaining objects in the western Part of Berlin were exhibited in 1968 in the New National Gallery, which was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Cultural Forum.
The collections of the National Gallery were merged throughout the German reunification and then partly restructured. Due to their size, the collection is now divided into five museum in Berlin. The art of the 19th century is shown in the Old National Gallery, the art of the 20th Century in the New National Gallery. The Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin, is showing contemporary art. The Berggruen collection in the western wing of the Stülerbau opposite the Charlottenburg castle hosts classic modernism, while the Scharf-Gerstenberg collection in the eastern wing of the Stülerbau, which reopened 2008, is showing a collection of surrealist art. In the Friedrichswerder Church sculptures are being shown made by Johann Gottfried Schadow, Christian Daniel Rauch, Emil Wolff, Friedrich Tieck and others.
Parts of the collection of the National Gallery, e.g. the GDR art, is still stored in the depots in lack of space.
Old National Gallery
The initial impetus for the construction of the Nationalgalerie was a bequest to the Prussian state in 1861 from the banker and consul Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener, whose collection featured works by Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, painters from the Düsseldorf school, and history painters from Belgium. The bequest came with the stipulation that the paintings were to be publicly displayed in a "suitable location". Just one year later Stüler received the commission to draw up plans for the building. After ten years of construction the Nationalgalerie ceremoniously opened on 21 March 1876 for the birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm I, becoming the third museum on the island in the Spree.
The building suffered direct hits on several occasions during the aerial bombardment of the Second World War, sustaining heavy damage particularly after 1944. The collection itself had gradually been evacuated with the war’s onset. Among other places, it was stored in Berlin’s anti-aircraft towers near the zoo and in Friedrichshain, as well as in the salt and potash repositories in Merkers and Grasleben.
After the war’s end the building was quickly though provisionally restored; parts of it were re-opened in 1949. The second floor was made accessible to visitors one year later.
During the division of Germany, the 19th-century paintings that had survived the war in Western zones of occupation were housed in the Neue Nationalgalerie, starting in 1968, and in Schloss Charlottenburg’s Gallery of Romanticism from 1986. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the growing collections were united in their original building, now called the Alte Nationalgalerie, on Berlin’s Museumsinsel. Accommodating the collection meant repairing the damage the war had wrought to the building as well as adding new rooms. The architectural firm HG Merz Berlin was entrusted with this work in 1992. In March of 1998 the Alte Nationalgalerie was closed for renovations. The museum was finally re-opened in December 2001, marking its 125th anniversary.
Standard: 8,00 EUR / Reduced: 4,00 EUR
Area Ticket Museumsinsel: 18,00 EUR / Reduced: 9,00 EUR
As an affiliate department of the nearby Alte Nationalgalerie, the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche is home to a selection of sculptures dating from the first half of the 19th century.
Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin
Berlin's Museum for the Present opened in the former railway station, Hamburger Bahnhof, in November 1996. This gave the Nationalgalerie not only the first permanent home for its collection of contemporary art but also a venue for innovative exhibitions and events.
The exhibition area of about 8,000 square metres is dedicated to art from the second half of the 20th century onwards. The collection contains works from Berlin's State Museums as well as very many items belonging to the private Berlin collector, Erich Marx. At the core of the Marx collection are works by such internationally renowned artists as Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Anselm Kiefer, and Joseph Beuys.
14,00 EUR / Reduced: 7,00 EUR
The Berggruen Museum opened in 1996 under the title “Picasso and his Time”. This outstanding collection reflects the passion and taste of its creator, Heinz Berggruen, a retired art dealer born in Berlin in 1914. Initially Berggruen’s collection was put on show in Berlin as a loan, but after witnessing the overwhelming public response Berggruen decided to make his collection over to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
'The Berggruen Museum - Picasso and his Time' presents exceptional works of classic modern art. Included among the artists represented are Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Klee, Laurens and Giacometti.
Oil paintings, sculpture and various works on paper are on show on three floors under the title 'Picasso and his Time'. More than 80 works by Picasso form the heart of the collection. The many facets of his life's work are represented from his student days to his late years including his blue and pink period, cubism and classicism. His later works not only abound in cheerful sensuousness, they also represent his many variations in style.
The Museum Berggruenhas received an additional wing which was opened in March 2013.
UNFORTUNATELY; THE EXTENSION BUILDING OF MUSEUM BERGGRUEN WILL BE CLOSED FROM 28TH OCTOBER 2013 FOR APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR DUE TO CONSTRUCTION DEFICIANCIES.
The western Stülerbau, which presents works by Pablo Picasso and the collector Heinz Berggruen, remains open to the public. It will also display the important works by Matisse and Giacometti, which are currently displayed in the extension building. The 70 works by Paul Klee from the collection Berggruen are going to be displayed with additional works by Klee from the collection of the National Gallery and the Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg in the opposite building of Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg.
The Neue Nationalgalerie opened in 1968 as a counterpart to the Alte Nationalgalerie on the Museum Island, then in East Berlin. Reunification brought about a reorganization that made this spectacular building by Mies van der Rohe home to the collection of twentieth-century art. Sometimes the whole building is given over to major special exhibitions; at other times the National Gallery shows its spectrum of works ranging from classical Modernism to the art of the 1960s and 1970s.
The collections concentrate on works by representatives of Cubism, Expressionism, the Bauhaus and Surrealism.
Standard: 8,00 EUR / Reduced: 4,00 EUR
Permanent + Special exhibition: 12,00 EUR / Reduced: 6,00 EUR
The Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg can be found in the eastern Stüler building and in the Marstall (stables wing) opposite Charlottenburg Palace. Paintings, sculptures and works on paper are being exhibited on three floors under the title "Surreal Worlds".
The history of fantastical art is traced in more than 250 works. Surrealism, a movement seeking to renew art whose principles were proclaimed in a manifesto by André Breton in the Paris of 1924, is at the centre of the collection.
The Scharf-Gerstenberg collection will be housed in the building erected in the 1850s by the architect Friedrich August Stüler and located opposite Charlottenburg Palace. As a new addition to the building, the architectural office of Sunder-Plassmann have designed a generously glazed entrance area with a café. In this way, the courtyard wedged between the Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg, the Museum of Local History (Heimatmuseum Charlottenburg), the Plaster Cast Collection (Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik), and the Natural Science Collections can be experienced as a new kind of urban architectural ensemble.
Area Ticket Charlottenburg: 12,00 EUR / Reduced: 6,00 EUR