Will Private Sector Fund German MoMA?

A proposed plan for Berlin's new Museum of Modern Art on the Kulturforum Photo: © Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt / Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung


German culture minister Monika Grütters has called on the private sector and individual donors to help realize Berlin’s forthcoming Museum of Modern Art, the dpa reports. She told the news agency, “I hope that the federal government doesn’t stand alone,” in funding the new museum aimed at presenting the country’s holdings of 20th century art.

The project is estimated to cost €170 million ($225 million) and take approximately 10 years to complete. It will most likely be located directly behind Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie on the so-called Kulturforum. Grütters also requested that the city of Berlin chip in to help fund the new museum’s construction.

For the most part, Germany follows in the Continental tradition of funding art institutions almost exclusively with public funds. Donations and sponsorship from the private sector and private individuals remain relatively low in magnitude, particularly in comparison to the United States.

There have been recent bright spots of innovation on the issue, however. Of particular note is Max Hollein’s extensive and successful effort to source funds for renovations of Frankfurt’s Städel museum from private hands. 

The current buildings of Germany’s National Gallery can only display approximately 20 percent of its holdings of modern art. However, construction of the new museum was in large part spurred by a major donation of 150 surrealist master works by 84-year-old German businessman Heiner Pietzsch. Portions of extensive collections donated by Egidio Marzona and Erich Marx will also be on view.

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