The private museum of the famous Berlin sculptor, philanthropist and former construction mogul Karsten Klingbeil is going to be offered in two parts. The first auction will take place in December 2011 at Pierre Bergé & Associés
in Brussels, the second half of the collection is going to be offered for bidding in June 2012 at Hermann Historica oHG in Munich. Those dates provide the unique opportunity to buy a total number of 600 significant objects that have been collected over fifty years with a lot of passion, commitment and expertise to compile this sensational collection. 40 complete suits of armour from the 15 th to the 17 th century, 120 helmets as well as pole arms, swords, daggers and shields from twelve centuries form the core of the collection. Since the legendary Hever Castle auction at Sotheby's, London, in 1983 this is going to be the most important private collection of antique arms and armours brought to market.
The illustrious names of the primary owners and those of the prominent prepossessors from the 20 th century alone provide substantial material of historical interest. Among others the pieces of the collection have been manufactured for the armouries of famous characters such as the Electors of Saxony, the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau and members of the powerful Roman noble family Borghese. Equally notable are the names of the collectors from whom Karsten Klingbeil acquired the armours and antique arms. No less than the publisher and media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, Lord Astor of Hever Castle and the Rutherfurd Stuyvesant Collection can be found among them.
Karsten Klingbeil chose a remarkably ambitious, museum way of assembling his collection and the appropriate presentation never losing sight of his aim to document the complete development of arms and armours from the 5 th to the 17 th century, thus vividly illustrating the evolution of body protection. It has been his vision to display the entire process from the invention of the harness and its changes from the Early Middle Ages up to the Early Modern Age with special focus on the golden age of courtly art during the Renaissance and the Early Baroque. The fascination of combining perfect function with aesthetic and fashion has constantly been a motif for the extraordinary collective personality of Klingbeil and resulted in a decades-long passion to create this exceptional museum. Hence it comes as no surprise but is just a logical consequence that in addition to this the protective principles of the animal world, often serving as a role model for armours, have been documented by Karsten Klingbeil in a collection of crustaceans.
In a perfectly orchestrated exhibition in his house the collector appreciated the unique objects, had them elaborately restored where necessary and preserved them with the help of permanent and professional observation and supervision in a way nowadays not even performed by museums. For years the widely acknowledged expert Ian Ashdown has been the conservator in charge for the collection. Thus the arms and the armours decoratively mounted on custom-made dummies are presented in excellent condition. They include a splendour suit of armour, all over finely etched and gilt, from the workshop of the highly praised Milan armourer Pompeo della Chiesa from 1590. Likewise richly ornamented a ceremonial glaive from 1605 that can be assigned to the palace guard of cardinal and founder of the Borghese art collection Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese. A Venetian parade shield from 1580 was also designated for the guard of a declared art enthusiast, Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. A precious parade sword with a hilt set with corals from 1620 originates from the Saxon court.
Karsten Klingbeil now decided to sell this incomparable collection he had gathered, preserved and kept safe for several decades. He chose the two specialised and well-known auction houses Pierre Bergé & Associés in Brussels and Hermann Historica oHG in Munich for this purpose. I am pleased that I found these two auctioneers, partners that appreciate the collection and that are able to optimally sell the pieces of the collection thanks to their expertise as well as their presence on an international market to new owners according to my expectations. Karsten Klingbeil states on the occasion of announcing his intention to sell.
Due to the large number of extremely rare and worldwide unique pieces two auctions will be held. As early as mid of December of this year the first 240 lots of a total amount of 600 objects from the armours and arms collection will be offered for bidding in Brussels. In addition to that the collection of rare crustaceans will be offered, its circa 150 exhibits include a rare spider crab circa three metres in size. In June 2012 the second auction focussing exclusively on armours and antique arms will be held in Munich. Detailed catalogues will be released one month previous to each auction.
About Karsten Klingbeil
Karsten Klingbeil artist, collector, world designer Born in Stettin in 1925, he grew up in Berlin from 1936 on, and as early as with 14 years he knew that he wanted to become a sculptor. His entire life he persistently pursued this goal but was not able to finally realise it until after selling his construction business in Berlin on the occasion of his 60 th birthday. The intervening times were stirring, he returned to Berlin after the war and after being a prisoner of war. There he took up his studies of sculpture art, financed by a newspaper distribution and an employment service for students.
The bustling organisational and entrepreneurial talent of Karsten Klingbeil found its complete expression when securing his livelihood superseded his creative work in post-war Berlin. He immediately advanced to the position of the greatest contractor of Germany's present-day capital. With the same passion, unerringly and successfully he built his collection: antique arms, orders, butterflies and beetles. He and his wife Ulla show great charitable commitment and since 1983 he has dedicated himself to his highly esteemed and often distinguished creative work.