20 Years of the Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum


20 years ago today, the Gemäldegalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin was opened in the Kulturforum. Prior to 1997, the Gemäldegalerie’s collection was divided between the Bode-Museum on the Museumsinsel and the Gemäldegalerie in Dahlem, a result of the division of Berlin.  

After the Second World War, two thirds of the collection ended up within the areas controlled by the Western Allies, with the rest in the hands of the Soviet military until 1958. It wasn’t until 1963 that the paintings were able to be seen in what is today the Bode-Museum, while as early as 1956, the works that had ended up in West Berlin were on display in the Gemäldegalerie in Dahlem. Following the fall of the wall, preparations began in 1992 to bring the objects from the two museums together under the one roof. After five years of preparation, in 1997, the first truck departed the Bode-Museum loaded with shipping cases en route to the newly constructed Gemäldegalerie in the Kulturforum.

“The first unification of two collections that had been separated by the division of Germany, and in a brand new building – it was the event at the time, a sensation”, says Rainer Michaelis, today the Deputy Director of the Gemäldegalerie.

The Staatliche Museen Blog shows the relocation in a series of photographs. In another post, Rainer Michaelis recounts his experience of the move.