Neue Nationalgalerie – Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30 / 266424242
The Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) in Berlin is a modern art museum located in the Kulturforum area, near Potsdamer Platz.
History and architecture
The Neue Nationalgalerie was founded after the post-war division of Germany and the dispersion of the former Nationalgalerie collection when, in the ’50s, the City of Berlin took the decision to rebuild a public collection and museum of modern art, mostly focused on 20th-century artists, which later became the current Neue Nationalgalerie.
The museum is housed in an iconic building, completed in 1968 after a design by German architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
The museum’s architecture was inspired by that of an unbuilt design for an administration building in Cuba, conceived by Mies Van Der Rohe in 1954 for the rum brand Bacardi, and it is also very similar to another never-realized project by Mies for the Schäfer Museum in Schweinfurt, Germany.
The building includes a large 2,600-square-meter glazed pavilion, with a massive square flat roof supported by eight cruciform columns, lying on a larger basement which accommodates spaces for the permanent collection, administration offices, storage rooms, and a small garden.
Though much criticized after its opening by those who considered it more a temple to its architect than a real museum, the building of the Neue Nationalgalerie is now generally considered a masterpiece of modern architecture, and one of the greatest designs by Mies van der Rohe.
Designed by British architect David Chipperfield, a major renovation and restoration project of the museum’s home is currently ongoing and scheduled for completion in 2018.
The Neue Nationalgalerie and the St. Mattew Church; photo: Fabio Candido
The Neue Nationalgalerie shortly after its opening; photo © Archiv Neue Nationalgalerie
Detail of the steel roof of the Neue Nationalgalerie; photo: Andreas Levers
The impressive collection of modern and contemporary art of the Neue Nationalgalerie includes masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, and Thomas Schütte, just to name a few, and it is constantly enriched through new acquisitions.
Since the building of the Neue Nationalgalerie is not large enough to present the museum’s collection in its entirety, the artworks are usually exhibited on a rotating basis.
Large sculptures – by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and Richard Serra, among others – are displayed on the museum terrace, while smaller pieces are permanently on view in the “Sculpture Garden” on the ground floor.
Programs and services
The Neue Nationalgalerie organizes special exhibitions, guided tours and learning activities for adults, children, families, and schools.
Along with exhibition spaces, the museum’s building includes a research library, a shop, and a cafe.
Due to renovation works, the Neue Nationalgalerie is closed to the public until 2018.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, preliminary design (1963), basement and first floor plans; images © bpk / Kunstbibliothek, SMB / Dietmar Katz
Neue Nationalgalerie, sections; image courtesy of Studio Esinam
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, preliminary design (1963), views of the architectural model, and a perspective collage of the interior space; images © bpk / Kunstbibliothek, SMB / Dietmar Katz
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, proposal for the Schäfer Museum in Schweinfurt (ca. 1960); architectural model, and perspective collage; images © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Neue Nationalgalerie under construction in April 1967, the massive roof, made of prestressed steel beams, was completely prefabricated on site, and then raised to its final position by using an array of hydraulic jacks; photo © Archiv Neue Nationalgalerie, Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Photographs: Fabio Candido
Photograph: Andreas Levers
Neue Nationalgalerie, David Chipperfield, Sticks and Stones, an Intervention, 2014, Installation view © Photo: David von Becker
View of the basement interior space looking toward the sculpture garden; photo: stephane333
Paul Klee: Architektur, 1923 (Detail), oil on canvas, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders
Cover image Neue Nationalgalerie. Kulturforum. Berlin-Tiergarten, Potsdamer Straße 50. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Maximilian Meisse
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