Independent and non-independent foundations
Since its founding in 1874, the Stadtmuseum Berlin has been a place of civic engagement, whose collections have come predominantly from donations by Berliners. This is represented in particular by the foundations associated with the institution.
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.
Dr. Otto and Ilse Augustin FoundationIlse Augustin established this foundation in 1986. With the help of the foundation’s assets, it was possible to acquire paintings of classical modernism for the Berlin Museum at the time. These include top pieces such as “Nollendorfplatz” (1912) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and “Liebesinsel” (1905) by Walter Leistikow.
The Berlin Museum was transferred to the newly established Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin in 1995. Since then, the “Dr.-Otto-und-Ilse-Augustin-Stiftung” has been acquiring works of art for its collections.
Carl Heinz and Helga Kliemann FoundationThis foundation has been safeguarding the oeuvre of Prof. Carl-Heinz Kliemann since 2003. The foundation’s assets also include works and documents relating to his life and artistic work.
Jeanne Mammen FoundationThe foundation was established in 2003 to preserve the artistic work of Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976). This includes well over 1000 items from all creative periods, which are accessible online via the collection.
The artist’s studio at Kurfürstendamm 29 can also be visited by appointment (registration required: +49 30 353059-850).
Hans and Luise Richter FoundationAs part of a donation, it was established in 2000 as its own dependent foundation under the umbrella of the Stadtmuseum Berlin. The partial family estate of ancestors and descendants of Giacomo Meyerbeer comprises around 1,000 objects from various material groups. It documents the life of a Berlin family of Jewish origin from 1812 to the middle of the 20th century.
Störmer-Hemmelgarn FoundationIn May 2019, the artist couple Elisabeth Störmer-Hemmelgarn and Steffen Störmer established this foundation. Born in Bremen, she began studying graphic design at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin in 1968. Since then, she has been closely associated with her adopted city of Berlin and has become its chronicler. As she herself says about Berlin: “For me, there is no other city in Germany like it. It is my city of destiny and I keep documenting its changes.”
The foundation serves the purpose of preserving the artistic work of Elisabeth Störmer-Hemmelgarn and keeping it for posterity as a documentation of the city in transition. With the establishment of the foundation, 23 works could already be taken over for the collection of the Stadtmuseum Berlin.
Fritz Ascher FoundationThe purpose of the foundation, established in 2019, is to honor the work of the Berlin artist Fritz Ascher (1893-1970) in the context of the persecuted and ostracized artists of Berlin’s “Forgotten Modernism” and to take them into account in German art history. The extensive collection of the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, with 2,800 paintings primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries and works by famous Jewish painters such as Max Liebermann and Lesser Ury, seems to the founders to be an ideal place to preserve the memory of the forgotten Jewish Berlin painter Fritz Ascher.
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 FoundationEstablished in 2020, the foundation of women’s activist and feminist Helga Goetze (1922 – 2008) includes about 280 stylistically unique embroidery pictures of various formats and about 300 graphics, some of them preliminary drawings, with feminist messages and extraordinary cultural-historical statements. The works range from the early 1970s to the 1990s.
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.
Gerhard and Christa Wolf Art FoundationFor decades, Christa (1929-2011) and Gerhard Wolf (1928-2023) maintained close friendships with visual artists, some of whom they decisively supported and accompanied. Christa Wolf’s literary work inspired the visual artists and stimulated interactions. The dialogical nature of the art collection, which has grown over the decades, is particularly striking.
At the same time, Gerhard Wolf’s essayistic and editorial work as an art publisher helped numerous artists gain the publicity they deserved and made a decisive contribution to their visibility, especially in the cultural-political narrowness of the GDR. Christa and Gerhard Wolf wrote and published numerous essays on their “painter friends,” which provide a glimpse of the nonconformist art scene in the GDR at the time.
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.
In memory of Gerhard Wolf
It is with sadness and gratitude that we remember Gerhard Wolf, who passed away in Berlin on 7 February 2023. As an author, publisher and friend of the arts, Gerhard Wolf was very keen to hand over the art collection of the Wolf couple, which included many works by artist friends, to the Stadtmuseum Berlin in order to enable its preservation, research and communication to the public in the long term.
Julius Bötzow FoundationThe Bötzow Foundation, established in 1927, inherited the brewery director Julius Bötzow after his death. It served to build up the Ceramic Collection at the Märkisches Museum. Currently, the foundation is not active for the Stadtmuseum Berlin.
Werner Viktor Toeffling FoundationThe aim of the foundation, established in 2007, is to honor and continue the legacy of the Berlin artist and stage designer Werner-Viktor Toeffling. One of the foundation’s tasks is to preserve the paintings, stage designs and stage models. A sponsorship prize is awarded as part of a competition on Berlin cityscape painting. The winning painting traditionally becomes a donation to the holdings of the Stadtmuseum Berlin. In addition, the theater collection of the Stadtmuseum is supported.
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