Museums Collectors Germany

Largest private collection of Anselm Kiefer lent to Kunsthalle Mannheim

But the owner’s involvement with public institutions has led to controversy in the past

Kiefer’s eight metre-wide Große Fracht, 1981/1996, will be on permanent display at the kunsthalle

One of the largest private collections of Anselm Kiefer works has finally found a public home. Hans Grothe, the German construction magnate and art collector, has offered 38 pieces by Kiefer on loan to the Kunsthalle Mannheim for at least ten years. He had previously considered lending them to institutions in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and his hometown of Duisburg, Germany.

In a statement released by the kunsthalle, Peter Kurz, Mannheim’s mayor, said that the long-term loan will “strengthen [the institution’s] profile in the German and European museum scene and is in itself an attraction”. The works will eventually be housed in the kunsthalle’s new extension, which is scheduled to open in 2017. Kiefer’s eight metre-wide Große Fracht, 1981/1996, will be on permanent display, while the rest of the pieces, many of which are very large, will be displayed on a rotating basis.

Grothe’s involvement with public institutions has led to controversy in the past. In 2005, he sold his 400-piece collection of contemporary German art to the Wella hair-care billionaires Sylvia and Ulrich Ströher. The bulk of the collection, which includes masterpieces by Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, had been promised as loans to the Kunstmuseum Bonn until 2025. Eyebrows also went up in 2012 when the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn organised a Kiefer exhibition entirely made up of works from Grothe’s collection. Five days after the show opened, it was announced that the museum director’s contract would not be renewed.

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