The Kaiser Friedrich Museumsverein (KFMV) has supported both the Gemäldegalerie and Skulpturensammlung at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin for more than 120 years. Wilhelm von Bode founded the KFMV in 1897 to serve the then newly opened Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, which was renamed the Bode-Museum in 1956. Then as now, the KFMV principally supports the two collections, now held at separate locations, by making new acquisitions on their behalf.
An exclusive programme of guided tours, lectures, excursions, and art trips offers its members (currently numbering some 700) a stream of fresh insights into the two collections, their current projects, and the history of European art from the early Middle Ages to 1800.
The most recent successful acquisition for the Gemäldegalerie was in 2017 and consisted in acquiring the remaining elements of a small-format Passion altar (ca. 1506–07) by Hans Schäufelin, an assistant to Dürer. The KFMV was able to secure this exciting acquisition with support from its members and external foundations (Gemäldegalerie, room 2).
In 2016, long-standing members bequeathed the KFMV an equestrian portrait of Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, painted in 1755 by Gottfried Hempel. Following restoration work financed by the association, it now hangs in room 258 of the Bode-Museum.
In 2015, the KFMV collected donations for an extremely important Baroque sculpture, a striking clay maquette by Pierre Puget, model for a monumental statue of Saint Alessandro Sauli in the church Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano in Genoa from 1663–64. This work is now likewise on display in the Bode-Museum, in room 131.
All artworks acquired by the association in the Gemäldegalerie and the Bode-Museum are marked with a label “Eigentum des Kaiser Friedrich Museumsvereins” (property of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum Association).
In accordance with its mission, the KFMV continues to make acquisitions for both of the collections it supports, with the help of its members and external supporters. It has recently begun fundraising to purchase the painting Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham (1642–1650). This striking painting, which had become part of the collection in 1935, was restituted by the Gemäldegalerie to the heirs of the original owner in April 2019. The KFMV board was able to buy the work back at auction in 2019 thanks to a bridging loan.
Apart from our work acquiring artworks, the KFMV also contributes to popular exhibitions in the Gemäldegalerie and the Skulpturensammlung, the most recent being Mantegna and Bellini: Masters of the Renaissance, which was on display in the Gemäldegalerie until 30 June 2019.
Members of the KFMV aged 18 to 30 are dubbed the Junge Kaiser. They continue the KFMV’s long-standing successful patronage and have their own members’ programme.