Kupferstichkabinett Berlin

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Kupferstichkabinett of the National Museums in Berlin
The Kupferstichkabinett at the Kulturforum Berlin , 2010
place Berlin-Tiergarten , Matthäikirchplatz
architect New building: Hilmer & Sattler and Albrecht
opening 1830
Number of visitors (annually) 46,000 (2019)
Dagmar Korbacher
ISIL DE-MUS-018511

The Kupferstichkabinett Berlin is part of the State Museums of Berlin and the Cultural Forum at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin district of Tiergarten of the district center . It is the largest museum of graphic arts in Germany and at the same time one of the four most important collections of its kind worldwide. Its holdings include more than 500,000 prints and around 110,000 other works of "art on paper" such as drawings, pastels , watercolors and oil sketches.

In 2019 the Kupferstichkabinett recorded around 46,000 visitors.


The Kupferstichkabinett was founded and systematic collecting activities began in 1831. The historical core of the collection was an inventory of around 2500 drawings and watercolors, which were acquired by Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg in 1652 and kept in the court library. The expansion of the collection in the 19th century mostly took place through the purchase of important private collections. The acquisition of the collection of Postmaster General Karl Ferdinand Friedrich von Nagler in 1835 was essential for the national validity of the Kupferstichkabinett. This collection contained over 50,000 works, mainly prints from the 15th to 17th centuries as well as drawings by Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald and other old German masters. Over the next few decades, the cabinet acquired additional high-quality holdings, including the 1882 drawings by Sandro Botticelli for Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy .

For a long time, German drawings from the 19th and 20th centuries in Berlin were mainly collected by the Nationalgalerie , including around 6,000 graphic sheets from the estate of Adolph Menzel . The drawing collection of the Nationalgalerie was incorporated into the Kupferstichkabinett in 1986. After the Second World War , priority was given to adding to the stocks of prints from the 20th century - for example, expressionist works that were defamed as " degenerate " and lost during the Nazi era . In 1994 the new building for the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz was opened. Here the holdings of the collection , which were divided between East and West during the German division , were brought together again, together with the collection of the Nationalgalerie.



Drawing by Matthias Grünewald in the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin

The focus of the collection is on European drawings and prints from the Middle Ages to the present day. Manuscripts with illumination from the Middle Ages and Renaissance , portfolios, sketchbooks, topographical representations and printing plates are also represented. Drawings and prints by early Italian , German and Dutch artists and works from the 19th century are available in particularly large numbers and high quality; they represent artists such as Mantegna and Botticelli , Dürer , Michelangelo , Altdorfer , Grünewald , Bosch , Bruegel , Rembrandt , Tiepolo , Chodowiecki , Friedrich , Schinkel and Menzel . Other focal points of the collection are Classical Modernism (with Munch , Kirchner , Picasso ), Pop Art (with Richard Hamilton , Andy Warhol , Jasper Johns , Frank Stella ), Conceptual Art and Minimal Art . In addition, selected representatives of contemporary art - working in Berlin - will be given attention.

Works on paper are also stored in other Berlin museums, depending on the nature of the respective collection - in the Ethnological and Asian Museum , in the Art Library and the Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection . Due to the large size of the collection and the relatively high sensitivity of the individual pieces, the works of art in the Kupferstichkabinett cannot be constantly presented. In addition to special exhibitions, a number of changing exhibitions with works from the company's own holdings are shown every year. In addition, interested parties can have originals of their choice shown in a study room.

The supporters of the museum are primarily the Graphic Society of Berlin - Association of Friends of the Kupferstichkabinett e. V. The association has existed since 1997, it supports the expansion of the collection, arranges donations and acquires individual works according to the recommendations of the director of the Kupferstichkabinett.

Research and restoration

The works of art in the Kupferstichkabinett are documented, stored and - if necessary - treated according to the current state of science. A Conservation Advisory Council of the museum provides advice. For the intensive domestic and international loan traffic, the light- and climate-sensitive drawings and graphic sheets must be carefully prepared. This includes special assemblies, detailed protocols and appropriate framing.

Special areas for restoration efforts include the bound manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the large-format cardboard boxes for wall paintings from the 19th century (such as by Peter von Cornelius ) or technically complex works of contemporary art. A constantly updated index of watermarks supports research in the field of paper science and the dating of works of art on paper. An example of long-term research projects is the detailed examination of silver pen drawings , which was carried out as an interdisciplinary project together with the Rathgen Research Laboratory (RF), the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and the Center de Recherche et de Restoration des Musée de France (C2RMF ) is operated. In addition to the Kupferstichkabinett, the RF and the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart (SABK) are involved in the investigation of individual drawings by Matthias Grünewald .


  • Alexander Dückers (Ed.): The Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-05-002488-7 .
  • Albert Giesecke: Hand drawings by Venetian masters of the 18th century in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. Die Kunstwelt, German magazine for the fine arts, born 1912/1913, pp. 265–278. ( Digitized version )

Web links

Commons : Kupferstichkabinett Berlin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Berlin State Museums counted more than 4 million visitors in 2019. January 31, 2020, accessed July 19, 2020 .
  2. ^ Graphic Society of Berlin

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 '30.3 "  N , 13 ° 22' 1.2"  E