Berlin Art Prize

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The Berlin Art Prize , officially the Great Art Prize Berlin , is awarded annually by one of the six sections of the Academy of the Arts on behalf of the Berlin Senate . It is endowed with 15,000 euros. In addition, the other sections award five art prizes in Berlin, each worth 5,000 euros.


The Berlin Art Prize has been awarded since 1948 in memory of the March Revolution of 1848. Until 1969 the Berlin Senate awarded it under the name Berliner Kunstpreis - Jubiläumsstiftung 1848/1948 , the award ceremony took place by the governing mayor in Charlottenburg Palace. Since 1971 the prize has been awarded by the Academy of the Arts. The Academy awards the prize annually, alternating between its six sections in the order of visual arts, architecture, music, literature, performing arts, and film and media art. The art prize for “film and media art” has been awarded since 1984; from 1956 to 1983 there was instead the art prize for “film-radio-television”. The prize, which is awarded every six years by the Literature Section, was called the Fontane Prize until 2010 .


The “Great Art Prize Berlin” has a checkered history. It was originally donated by the City of Berlin on March 18, 1948 as the “Berlin Art Prize - Jubilee Foundation 1848/1948” and was intended to commemorate the March Revolution and the “ revolutionaries who fell for a new state”. The first winners of the prize, endowed with 10,000 marks each shortly before the currency reform, were the sculptor Renée Sintenis and the composers Ernst Pepping and Wolfgang Fortner in 1948 . The then Senator for Popular Education Joachim Tiburtius awarded the prize without award criteria and without a jury.

In 1949 a statute was drawn up. The prize (3,000 DM per category) was to be awarded annually for achievements in literature, music, painting, graphics and the performing arts. As a result, there were changes in terms of the categories, the allocation to several award winners and the award criteria. From the mid-1950s, the award ceremony was repeatedly accompanied by criticism.

In 1956 the former statutes became "guidelines". These stipulated that the individual prices for the visual arts would be merged into one price and that a price for film, radio and television would be added. In addition, a clear division into the main Berlin Art Prize and a scholarship prize for the young generation was created. In future, only one artist from each of the six art fields was to receive a main prize of 4,000 DM and a scholarship of 2,000 DM. The jury members should only be named at the suggestion of the Akademie der Künste. Only the presentation of the awards was carried out by the governing mayor in a festive setting with a certificate of honor and a state act.

Finally, in 1969, the award ceremony took place amid the protest of the extra-parliamentary opposition , to which the winners of the Fontane Prize Wolf Biermann and the Literature Prize of the Young Generation Peter Schneider passed on their prizes amid tumult. This was the reason for the Berlin Senate to suspend the award ceremony in 1970. The Academy of the Arts was asked to award a new Berlin Art Prize - Jubilee Foundation 1848/1948 on its own. After much discussion, both internally and in public, the plenary session of the Academy's general meeting on November 8, 1970 unanimously decided on new guidelines: In future, the award is to be carried out without a ceremony. Instead of the last six main prizes of 10,000 DM and six prizes for the young generation of 5,000 DM, the decision was made on two main prizes of 15,000 DM each and six grants of 10,000 DM each.

In 1978 the two main prizes were combined in favor of a single Berlin art prize of DM 30,000. From now on, this prize was to be awarded annually in one category, alternating between the six sections of the academy. The scholarships became sponsorship awards .

A total of 45,000 euros in prize money has been available since 2002: the Great Art Prize Berlin endowed with 15,000 euros, the art prizes with 5,000 euros each. According to § 1 of the guidelines, the Berlin Art Prize is awarded for “artistic achievements” in full or for a maximum of “divided into two equal parts” (sponsorship prize).

Since 2011, the awards associated with the Berlin Art Prize have been operating as the Great Berlin Art Prize (formerly Berlin Art Prize and Fontane Prize) and Berlin Art Prize (formerly Promotion Prize) in six art fields.

Prize winners (without Fontane prizes and sponsorship prizes )

Web links

Commons : Berlin Art Prize  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Academy press release of January 25, 2011 (3rd paragraph) (accessed on January 17, 2012)
  2. cf. Great Art Prize Berlin to Claire Denis at, January 26, 2011 (accessed January 27, 2011)