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Acquisition of 235 Prints by Per Kirkeby for the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett


This year, the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has succeeded in acquiring an extensive collection of 235 prints by Danish artist Per Kirkeby (1938–2018) from private ownership. The purchase was made possible through generous financial support from the New Carlsberg Foundation. With this significant new acquisition, the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett has closed a gap in its collection and is paying tribute to Per Kirkeby as one of the most important contemporary printmakers.

Before Per Kirkeby began to devote himself to fine art in 1962, he studied geology at the University of Copenhagen. He pursued his interest in the tectonics of landscape and the multilayered structures of the earth’s body in numerous expeditions that took him to Greenland, Central America, and the Arctic, among other places. In 1962, Kirkeby joined the movement Den Eksperimenterende Kunstskole in Copenhagen, where he experimented with painting, printmaking, performance and film. As a geologist, he developed a sensitive perception of the landscape and its spatial structures. It accompanied him throughout his life and flowed into his art, including his multifaceted print oeuvre – as the works in the acquired collection impressively attest.

In addition to an early etching by Kirkeby, the Kupferstichkabinett has acquired nine of his portfolio works (etchings, drypoint etchings, aquatints), created between 1963 and 2011. Thus, almost the entire creative period of the artist can now be experienced in the study room at the Kupferstichkabinett.

The application for third-party funding from the New Carlsberg Foundation to acquire the prints was jointly submitted with the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, which has also amassed an extensive print collection by Per Kirkeby.

The Kupferstichkabinett sincerely thanks the New Carlsberg Foundation for their generous financial support.