In the Eye of the Beholder. A Tour around the Alte Nationalgalerie

05.06.2019
Alte Nationalgalerie

The highlights of the collection at the Alte Nationalgalerie are known to many. Most of us have been familiar with the works of Adolph Menzel, Arnold Böcklin and Caspar David Friedrich at least since our school days. Berlin comic artist Felix Pestemer embarked on a voyage of discovery at the Alte Nationalgalerie. In his newly published graphic novel Pestemer has a retired museum guard walk through the spacious rooms of Stüler’s architecture with his teenage grandsons. Some wildly fantastic stories develop as the two disimilar grandsons interpret the masterworks, while their grandfather uses the extensive background knowledge about the origins of the art that he has gathered over the years to place the respective works in their proper contexts.

France is a nation quite fond of comics and served as a model in this case. An entire series of comics revolving around the Musée du Louvre is already in print, entertainingly making the works in the collection accessible to more than just a younger audience.

Sigrid Wollmeiner, head of the Department of Publications and Merchandising at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, came up with the idea that led to this unusual cooperation, the first of its type to be realised at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Following a joint tour with the artist Felix Pestemer through the collections on Museum Island, the Alte Nationalgalerie was ultimately chosen as the venue because its masterworks were best suited for this project. Ralph Gleis, director of the Alte Nationalgalerie, provided professional expertise and guidance.

The result is a lovingly detailed and imaginative tour through the Alte Nationalgalerie that takes in its most famous works.

On Thursday, 13 June, comic artist Felix Pestemer, together with Ralph Gleis (director of the Alte Nationalgalerie), Sigrid Wollmeiner (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) and Lars von Törne (Der Tagesspiegel) presented the graphic novel at the Alte Nationalgalerie and discussed it in a panel discussion.

The graphic novel Im Auge des Betrachters. Ein Rundgang durch die Alte Nationalgalerie is available in SMB museum shops and in bookstores.