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Gallery Weekend Berlin

From Gerhard Richter to Dürer: Christie’s to showcase German art and collecting during Berlin Gallery Weekend

Exhibition targeted at Old Master collectors will not compete with the contemporary art event, auction house says

Martin Kippenberger Untitled (War Wicked) (1991-92) Christie's images Ltd. 2018

Christie’s will show works by German artists from Albrecht Dürer to Gerhard Richter during Berlin Gallery Weekend (27-29 April) at an exhibition in the Brutalist architecture of the Czech Embassy in the centre of the city.

The exhibition is organised by Tim Schmelcher, Christie’s specialist for prints, and is titled Beauties and Beasts: Making and Collecting Art in Germany. Intended as a tribute to German art and collecting, it will explore “a fundamental duality of art: the idea of beauty and the fascination for the terrible,” Schmelcher wrote in the exhibition concept.

Around 50 works will be on display—among them pieces by Joseph Beuys, Max Pechstein, Otto Dix, Martin Kippenberger and Neo Rauch as well as ancient and Chinese objects from German collections. Some are loans; others will be offered for sale in upcoming Christie’s auctions.

Albrecht Dürer, The Abduction of Proserpina (1516) Christie's Images Ltd 2018

“We have German offices in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Munich, but no traditional platform for auctions,” says Dirk Boll, the president of Christie’s in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India. “Yet the German market is becoming increasingly important. It is traditionally an important market for Christie’s with a balance of buyers and consigners.”

Christie’s plans to invite collectors of Old Masters and sculpture who do not usually attend Berlin’s annual Gallery Weekend, which primarily focuses on contemporary art. “We don’t want to compete with the contemporary art galleries,” Boll says.

The exhibition runs from 27-29 April, and Schmelcher will give tours for visitors. The Czech Embassy, built in 1978, is one of the few new embassies built during the era of the German Democratic Republic that retains its 1970s interior, complete with Bohemian glass lamps and red and orange leather chairs.