Bode Museum

I admired a very beautiful wooden, fifteenth-century, carved altarpiece from Minden Cathedral:-

A limewood carving by Michel Erhart from Ulm:-

St. George by Tilman Riemenschneider (c.1490):-

St. John the Baptist (Florence c.1480):-

An amazing Algardi (an unknown man):-

A terracotta bust of Marquise Fabio Feroni:-

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Feuerle Collection

I was tipped off about the Feuerle Collection, works of art acquired by Désiré Feuerle, a collector who studied in London and New York, worked for Sotheby’s in New York, opened a gallery in Cologne, and then devoted himself to collecting, placing two large groups of Khmer sculpture and Chinese furniture on two floors of an old wartime bunker in Kreuzberg:-

One starts underground in a dark room with music by John Cage, then move through to a big columned space, some of which is flooded, and filled with Khmer sculpture in display cases. Upstairs in the room of Chinese furniture, and a small number of contemporary works, including a bronze by Cristina Iglesias. It is all deliberately and wilfully, but magnificently, aestheticised.

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Berlin (2)

It’s cold and wet in Berlin and the galleries don’t open till 11, so I walked to the Bode Museum, always a treat, through Mitte, now poshed up, but still with signs of its former life.

The old Handwerkervereinshaus in Sophienstrasse:-

And details of the buildings round the Sophienkirche:-

An old house in Auguststasse:-

And on Linienstrasse:-

And the entrance to the Neugerriemschneider Gallery:-

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Mat Collishaw

I went tonight to a conversation between Mat Collishaw and Lisa Seitz, the editor-in-chief of Weltkunst and author of a book about Werner Muensterberger, a German psychoanalyst based in London who studied the psychology of collecting.

I had not realised the extent to which Collishaw is interested in Old Master painting, based on his upbringing as a Dawn Christadelphian, starved of the experience of any imagery, including television. He spoke particularly well of his experience of the Major Oak, a tree in Sherwood Forest which is the subject of Albion, one of the biggest and most ambitious works in his current exhibition:-

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Jonas Burgert

My first visit to a gallery artist was to see Jonas Burgert, who lives and works on a leafy street in what used to be East Berlin in an old factory complex which went bust shortly after unification and who luckily I already know having met and interviewed him in 2015:-

He needs the space since he sometimes paints on a gigantic scale, as in a work, Zeitlaich, which completely fills one wall of the studio (it’s 6 metres high) and was recently shown to great effect in the gallery.

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Berlin (1)

I decided to walk to the gallery today, through the centre of Berlin, starting with the Lustgarten and Schinkel’s Altes Museum, once the Königliches Museum and always a cerebral pleasure in the way that it dominates the approach to Museum Island:-

I stopped to pay my respects to a few works in the museum, including a clay portrait Head of a Young Man found in Italy in 1883:-

The James Simon Galerie, designed by David Chipperfield as a grand entrance to the Museum Island as a whole is nearing completion and is due to open this summer:-

Schinkel’s Neue Wache, designed in 1816 to guard the Königliches Palais across the road:-

Borchardt doesn’t serve coffee:-

By the time I got to the Martin-Gropius-Bau, I realised the distances are too great:-

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Neue Nationalgalerie

The Neue Nationalgalerie, commissioned in 1962, designed by Mies van der Rohe (it was based on a Museum for a Small City published in Architectural Forum in May 1943), constructed in the mid-1960s, and opened in 1968, is in the process of a four-year restoration project, overseen by David Chipperfield. Looking over the fence this afternoon, it looks like a pretty radical reconstruction:-

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Café Einstein

It’s a while since I’ve been to the Café Einstein, a relic, but in some ways an artificial one, of old Berlin, designed in 1878 as a neo-renaissance villa for Gustav Rossmann, the owner of a sewing machine factory, turned into a Weimar gambling club, busted by the Nazis, apparently bought by Goebbels for his mistress, and then, once more, turned into an illegal casino for the SS. It was turned into a Viennese coffee house in 1978, its centenary, in what was West Berlin, close to the wall and a centre for DAAD artists in the mid-1980s:-

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Blain|Southern Berlin

The second leg of my Blain|Southern induction programme has been to visit its gallery in Berlin, an old printworks just down the road from the Neue Nationalgalerie, formerly occupied by Der Tagesspiegel, converted into a grand, industrial gallery space by David Adjaye and now showing work by Mat Collishaw (in conversation tomorrow):-

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The Favourite

We went to see The Favourite, a curious and fantastical, updated dramatization of the historical moment when Sarah Churchill’s intense psychological relationship with Queen Anne was supplanted by that of Abigail Hill and the Tories. So how historical was it ? In some ways, very, in that it represented the manoeuvres in Queen Anne’s court, so far as I know, quite accurately (historical advisor: Dr. Hannah Greig), but in most ways, not at all, owing more to the extreme and ostentatious fictionalisation of The Draughtsman’s Contract than it did to Jonathan Swift and Lord Macaulay. But not the less enjoyable for all that, with a brilliant, childish and manipulative performance by Olivia Colman as Queen Anne. The house is Hatfield, but looked much bigger than it does in reality, and maybe too Jacobean for the court of Queen Anne.

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