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First Loans from the Long-Term Collaboration with the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation Go on Display


The Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation has established a long-term collaboration with the Museum für Islamische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Five works have been loaned to the museum, including two Spanish plates (15th–16th century) as well as an Iranian vase and bowl (13th century), which are now on display in the Pergamonmuseum’s permanent exhibition.

Another genuine highlight is a monumental vase from the year 1260. Approximately 70 centimetres tall and with intricate figurative decoration, it is a truly unique object. Currently undergoing restoration work in the museum’s workshops, from 2020, it will be on display in the permanent exhibition. All the objects on loan exhibit lustre glazes, a technique that was developed around the year 800 AD in Iraq. This glazing technique lends the objects a sumptuous, metallic shimmer. The production of lusterware ceramics requires the utmost skill, and knowledge of this complicated technique was a closely guarded workshop secret, passed from master to master. Iran, Syria and Egypt became home to major production centres of lusterware, as did Spain and Italy, and the wares were exported right around the globe.

Brigitte Franzen, Chair of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, is excited about the collaboration: “It is a real pleasure to have the chance to collaborate with a world-class centre of Islamic art like the Museum für Islamische Kunst. Ensuring that the objects from the Ludwig Collection are now in good, expert hands and making them accessible to the public reflects our mission of promoting art and its investigation, and of making it visible to all.” 

For Stefan Weber, Director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst, this is the realisation of a long-standing dream: “When I first saw the large vase, I hoped to some day be able to show such an extraordinary, monumental work of the 13th century on Berlin’s Museumsinsel. Now, not only is this object coming to live with us, but it’s bringing with it a number of other outstanding ceramic objects from Iran and Spain. Together, they tell a global success story that spans Europe and the Middle East, once again showing that the migration of cultural knowledge and techniques is a fundamental element of our shared history.”   

The Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation

The Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation is a major international institution. These two German art collectors began amassing their collection in the 1950s, which now comprises more than 14,000 objects. Today, it is spread across 26 public museums on three continents. The Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation supports public museums that have a connection with the Ludwig Collection. Twelve institutions bear the Ludwig name and have received generous endowments. In addition, the foundation carries out research, produces publications, works to expand the collection and to present it to a broad audience. The founders of the collection were motivated by a conception of art as a unique, human expressive principle that transcends national borders and operates internationally and without prejudices, and this vision continues to shape the activities of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation to this day. In this sense, there is a direct overlap with the work of the Museum für Islamische Kunst.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst

The Museum für Islamische Kunst presents an encyclopaedic array of key works of art and objects of material cultural from the Islamic world and from the Christian and Jewish groups that live throughout these regions, including some extremely important works of architecture. Focuses include the pre-Islamic foundations of these cultures, trans-regional relationships and the cultural upheavals that accompanied the birth of modernity. Contemporary perspectives are important to the Museum für Islamische Kunst. With approximately 93,000 objects, the collection is an important cultural repository of one of the world’s key cultural spheres.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst is one of the leading research institutions in its field and is active in restoration, preservation of cultural heritage in the countries of origin – including 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites – and (inter)cultural education in Germany. With programmes on trans-regional, interreligious and multi-ethnic cultural education, the Museum für Islamische Kunst works on core issues pertaining to the development of our society, and has received numerous awards.