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The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin mourns the death of Wolf-Dieter Dube. For many years the General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Wolf-Dieter Dube has died at the age of 81

09.09.2015

Wolf-Dieter Dube, who was for many years the General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has died. After a long and serious illness he passed away on Wednesday in Berlin, at the age of 81. Michael Eissenhauer, current General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, said: “In Wolf-Dieter Dube, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has lost a great pioneer and mentor. He served the institution for an impressive 16 ½ years, a period marked by radical changes, new directions and restructuring which continue to define the Staatliche Museen to this day. In particular, the reunification of the museums of East and West Berlin was an unprecedented challenge and one to which, in close collaboration with Günter Schade, he rose so magnificently and with such extraordinary humanity that those who succeed him in office can only acknowledge his legacy with admiration and respect. It was not only the collections which were brought together, but also administrative structures developed under different political systems, and staff members with different experiences of life in East and West Germany. That all this, despite so much turbulence and debate, was finally accomplished so amicably and successfully, is a truly outstanding achievement.”

During his career, Wolf-Dieter Dube brought about a quite extraordinary expansion of the collections’ holdings, whether by spectacular purchases or by fostering successful relationships between collectors and the Staatliche Museen. As a renowned expert in German Expressionism, and with the collaboration of a series of supporters and donors, he was able to acquire Emil Nolde’s “Christus und Sünderin” (Christ and the Sinner) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's “Potsdamer Platz” for the Nationalgalerie. Regarding the latter, Michael Eissenhauer said: “The fundamental significance and extraordinary resonance of 'Potsdamer Platz’, in particular, for the Nationalgalerie collection and the Kulturforum site as a whole, need hardly be emphasised.”

Attracting world-wide attention, Wolf-Dieter Dube brought to Berlin the Berggruen Collection, with its wonderful works by Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee, thereby paving the way for its later acquisition. Another pivotal moment for today’s Nationalgalerie was the acquisition of the Marx Collection, the impetus for the lavish remodelling of the Hamburger Bahnhof. Eissenhauer reiterated: “He ensured that from then on contemporary art was able to take its rightful place in the cosmos of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.”

Dube also launched the Museum Europäischer Kulturen and instigated the cooperation with the Helmut Newton Foundation which led to a shared Museum für Fotografie. On this, Eissenhauer said: “Dube always remained true to himself, despite critical voices, and it is for this reason that he made such a remarkable contribution to the success story of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.”