New book tells the fascinating life story of collector Manuela Alexejew

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New book tells the fascinating life story of collector Manuela Alexejew
Manuela Alexejew with Thomas Kausch: It's not about the Money. The fascinating life story of collector Manuela Alexejew. Text by Thomas Kausch. Photographs by Andrea Ferrari.

NEW YORK, NY.- This book tells the fascinating life story of Manuela Alexejew through her extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and antiques, among which she lives with her husband Carlos Brandl in a grand loft in Berlin. Featuring works by artists as varied as Otto Dix, Otto Piene, George Condo, Allen Jones, Yayoi Kusama and Alicja Kwade (to name but a few), it is one of Germany’s most distinguished private collections of modern and contemporary art.

Manuela Alexejew’s life reads like fiction: with enviable looks she first worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am during the glamorous height of the airline industry, collecting eclectic experiences across the globe—from partying with Sophia Loren at the legendary Studio 54, to relaxed days at Oscar de la Renta’s home in Santo Domingo. Alexejew then returned to her roots: art. Having studied at Berlin’s University of Fine Arts, she now committed herself to collecting with an earnest passion, each acquisition based on her personal connection with the work, never with investment in mind.

Based on a series of intimate and amusing interviews with Alexejew, author and journalist Thomas Kausch has written down her surprising story from her own perspective. Combined with newly-commissioned photos of the collection by Andrea Ferrari, It’s not about the Money is a rare insight into the normally closed world of a great collector.

Manuel Alexejew

Born and raised in Berlin where she still lives, Manuela Alexejew studied at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin and graduated with a degree in animation. Alongside her studies she worked as a model, and from 1975 to 1990 was a flight attendant for Pan Am. In 1978 she met Carlos Brandl, with whom she began to build up their art collection; they were married in 2010.

Thomas Kausch

Born in 1963 in Werne, Thomas Kausch is a television presenter with the French-German cultural network Arte and the German public broadcaster NDR. Working initially as a foreign correspondent for German television, he lived in New York and Vienna and is today based in Berlin. Kausch is the author of Dear Americans (2010), a report on President Obama’s first year in office, and Wie ich meine Tochter durchs Abitur brachte (How I got my daughter through her A-levels) (2017), a self-ironic account of his over-ambitious attempts at education, both published by Droemer Knaur.

Andrea Ferrari

Born in 1970 and today lives in Milan, where he studied philosophy. He describes his photographic practice as an investigation of language across abstract and figurative topics, and over the last decade has concentrated on three bodies of work: “Wild Window” (2007–14), “Untitled Paper” (2010–13) and “The pictures included in this envelope” (2012–13). Ferrari’s work is held in numerous public and private collections, and his books include The pictures included in this envelope (2013).

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