Among the holdings that have been placed in the care of the Stadtmuseum Berlin as a result of civic commitment are outstanding estates, some of which are administered in trust by the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin as dependent foundations. In addition, there are independent foundations that partially support the work of the Stadtmuseum Berlin.
Fritz Ascher spent most of his life in Berlin, where he survived two world wars as well as underground persecution by the Nazis. His art is characterized by bold brushwork and expressionist color choices. In terms of content, early academic studies and figural compositions of the Weimar Republic contrast with the artist’s mystical landscapes created after 1945. In his hiding place, where he lived from 1942 to 1945, Ascher created poems that can be understood as “unpainted pictures.” The world’s first exhibition of the artist’s work was on view in six museums in Germany from 2016 to 2018 and in the United States (New York) in 2019.
The foundation was initiated by private collectors of Fritz Ascher’s artistic work in order to give his works a publicly accessible home and to present him in the context of his artistic contemporaries in Berlin. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees consists of Paul Spies, Chairman and Director of the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Eckhart Gillen, art historian and curator, and Rachel Stern, Director of the New York-based Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, Inc.
Helga Goetze, who died in 2008, was a well-known city activist who achieved nationwide fame with her performances, most of which took place in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and who stood as a personality for “borderless” freedom in West Berlin. Director and author Rosa von Praunheim conducted a legendary interview with her in 1982. Helga Goetze is generally still considered a “primary taboo-breaker” and early representative of the queer Berlin scene. Her written estate is located in the Women’s Research, Education and Information Center (FFBIZ), and it has also already been digitized.
The foundation at the Stadtmuseum Berlin documents an important building block of Berlin’s women’s emancipation and allows insights into the diversity of Berlin’s subculture. With around 600 objects, the Helga Goetze Foundation is a welcome addition to the subject of Berlin women artists.
With the aim of keeping their art collection accessible to the public and to research, Gerhard Wolf and his family decided on July 6, 2020 to preserve it as a dependent art foundation under the sponsorship of the Stadtmuseum Berlin.