Private Museums Are Multiplying: Three New Realities In Germany, France, and The United States

by Silvia Anna Barrila

Among the great collectors, the private museum has now become a must, so much so that the Filipino collector and real estate developer Robbie Antonio – famous for his collection of portraits of himself painted by well-known international artists exhibited in the house that Rem Koolhaas designed for him – recently launched a replicable, prefabricated private museum model , designed by Christian de Portzamparc and ready in less than six months for just under $1 million.

Two new museums were inaugurated in the last days of June, adding to the long list of spaces opened by private individuals at an international level for their collections. One of the two has Italian Arte Povera at its center and is promoted in Upstate New York, not far from the Dia Art Foundation , in a warehouse converted into a place for art by the couple Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu , Sardinian patrons who emigrated to the USA . It’s called Warehouseand opened on June 28 with an exhibition entitled “Margherita Stein: Rebel Without a Cause” dedicated to the gallery owner Margherita Stein who in 1966 opened a gallery in her home using the name of her husband Christian and supported the then emerging Arte Povera artists. The space covers more than 1,600 m2 and includes a library with 5,000 volumes. The aim is to promote knowledge and appreciation of postwar Italian art in the United States.

In Germany, however, last June 24 Susanne Klatten , also known as Lady BMW, inaugurated a private museum for her collection of 600 works of art centered on the theme of nature . Aged 55, with a net worth of $21.9 billion according to Forbes , Klatten owns together with brother Stefan Quandt more than 50% of the shares of the German automaker thanks to the legacy of parents Herbert and Johanna Quandt (who also passed on the Altana pharmaceutical company). The life of the museum began in 2012 with the creation of a foundation called Stiftung Nantesbuchwhich promotes awareness of the value of nature and art. Since 2013, with the purchase of a land of almost 4 km2 near Bad Heilbrunn, in Bavaria, it has given way to the construction of a complex designed by the architect Florian Nagler where exhibitions, events, training and educational activities will take place.

The investment required to build the structure has not been disclosed. Just last year Susanne Klatten announced the donation of 100 million euros for social projects to 100 organizations over the next five years.

While the building that has just been inaugurated will host the events and activities, a second one has been planned to house the collection entitled “An die Natur”, to nature, with works on the theme of the micro and macrocosm, animals, plants and of the man of international artists such as Baselitz, Michael Beutler, Olaf Holzapfel, Alex Katz, Anselm Kiefer, Wolfgang Laib, Robert Longo, Markus Lüpertz and David Nash .

Two days after Susanne Klatten’s museum was inaugurated, collector and luxury mogul François Pinault also unveiled his plans for his third private museum for his collection, estimated at $1.25 billion and 3,500 works. It will be found in Paris within the Bourse de commerce which will be transformed into a place for contemporary art by Tadao Ando , ​​the author of the two Pinault museums in Venice, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana , with the addition of a gigantic concrete cylinder inside the nineteenth-century building.

But there are also collectors who, instead of building their own museum, support public ones, such as Steve Cohen who three days ago announced the donation of 50 million dollars to the MoMa in New York – the largest donation he has ever made to of the museum of which he has been a supporter and a member of the board since 2016 – to allow the expansion of the museum which will take place by 2019. Also the music mogul and collector David Geffen last month donated 100 million dollars to MoMA for the same purpose .





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