Dagmar Hirschfelder to Become New Director of the Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin


The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) board of trustees decided at its 29 June 2021 meeting that Dr. Dagmar Hirschfelder, currently director of the Department of Paintings and Prints at the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg, will succeed Michael Eissenhauer as director of the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Art historian Dr. Dagmar Hirschfelder (b. 1973) studied art history, history and German studies in Bonn and Paris. She is a recognised specialist in northern alpine painting of the late medieval and early modern periods.

Positions at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum

After completing her doctorate at the University of Bonn, she was employed at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, initally as a post-doctoral trainee, then as a research associate and project manager in the department of Paintings up to 1800 and Glass Painting.

From 2005 to 2010, she was project coordinator at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, overseeing the redesign of the permanent exhibition on art and cultural history from 1500 to 1800. As of 2013, she led an interdisciplinary research project on the art historical and art-technological study of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum’s late medieval collections.

New Acquisitions, Modernisation and Current Exhibition Topics at the Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg

In 2017 Hirschfelder took up a position at the Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg as head of the Department of Paintings and Prints. There she expanded the collections through significant acquisitions, advanced the modernisation of the museum in the areas of digital outreach and the digital cataloguing of its holdings, and curated several successful exhibitions. Dr. Hirschfelder commented:

When designing exhibitions, I am always concerned with the relevance of historical contexts to the visitors’ daily lives and experiences.

Her exhibition planned for fall 2021, Frauenkörper. Der Blick auf das Weibliche von Albrecht Dürer bis Cindy Sherman (Women’s Bodies: The View of the Feminine from Albrecht Dürer to Cindy Sherman) explores a particularly topical subject, considering the view of the naked female body from a trans-epochal perspective and in various media.

New Challenges at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin

Looking ahead to her new role in Berlin, Hirschfelder remarked, “A particular interest of mine lies in the interdisciplinary, cross-genre collaboration with various SPK institutions.” In addition to her professional expertise and work in managerial positions, Hirschfelder’s broad international network and her sensitivities to audience orientation played a key role in the board’s decision.