The art collecting couple, Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, officially signed a donation agreement with the state of Berlin that should pave the way to their internationally renowned collection being bequeathed to the city. The Pietzsch Collection is one of the most outstanding German private art collections from the high modernist period. It principally consists of Surrealist works from Paris and Abstract Expressionist works by the New York School, encompassing paintings by Max Ernst, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux and Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Barnett Newmann, as well as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
The donation comprises some 150 paintings, drawings and sculptures, with an estimated value of 120 million. The agreement will only come into effect under the condition that Berlin city council places the collection, in its entirety, in the hands of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage as a permanent loan, and that the Foundation guarantees that parts of the collection are placed on permanent display within its own collection of modern art.
Hermann Parzinger, President of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, had this to say about the donation: 'Today's agreement is a decisive step towards integrating the Pietzsch Collection into the National Gallery's collection at the National Museums in Berlin. I am convinced that the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage will find the space to exhibit the works in the way Heiner and Ulla Pietzsch see fit.'
Klaus Wowereit, simultaneously Mayor and Cultural Senator of Berlin, said: 'I am immensely grateful and truly delighted to be able to accept this magnificent donation on behalf of Berlin. The fact that the Pietzsch's collection perfectly complements the collection of 20th century art at the New National Gallery
is nothing new - some 200,000 visitors were able to see that for themselves last year during the 'Bilderträume' exhibition. I am sure that today marks the first step in us ensuring that the Pietzsch Collection can in future go on permanent display within the National Gallery's collection.'
The married couple were heartened by the official acknowledgement of the donation agreement with the state of Berlin. Heiner Pietzsch said: 'My wife and I are happy that the first and decisive step has been made today to ensure that our Surrealist collection permanently stays in Berlin and at the National Gallery in particular. We are aware that our donation could close a painful gap in the National Gallery's collection [of works missing as a result of both the Nazi's campaign against 'degenerate art' and the Second World War].
We very much hope that the plans put forward by the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage to create more space so that a significant part of our collection can be placed on permanent display will be realized one day. I personally feel very attached to the National Gallery, and have acted as treasurer on the board of its society of friends for several years. In addition to that I have spent countless happy hours wandering around the National Gallery's collection together with my wife and am delighted that there is now a very real hope that our own collection will one day be able to be shown there too.'