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06-18-10

The new Albertinum. Art from Romanticism to the Present

Reopening after six years of renovation and refurbishment

On 19 June the Albertinum in Dresden will be re-opening after a six-year period of renovation and refurbishment, incorporating new architectural features and with a new exhibition concept. On 20 June the legendary museum, home of the Skulpturensammlung and the Galerie Neue Meister of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, will be welcoming its first visitors. The reopening of the Albertinum has enjoyed the financial support of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, the official sponsor of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

In 2002 the forces of nature posed a threat to Dresden's art treasures: the Elbe and its tributaries burst their banks and caused severe damage in the worst flood for more than a century. The painting storerooms in the Zwinger and other art storerooms in the basement of the Albertinum were also affected. This huge natural disaster led to an unprecedented act of solidarity and support on the part of 45 contemporary artists, including such well-known figures as Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz. They all donated their own works for sale in a charity auction in autumn 2002, the proceeds of which amounted to 3.4 million Euros. This sum laid the financial basis for the construction not only of flood-proof storerooms but also for the creation of new rooms for the restoration of paintings and for the general renovation and refurbishment of the Albertinum as a whole. In all, 51 million Euros have been invested in this outstanding cultural project of the Free State of Saxony.

An architectural competition resulted in the drawing up of an audacious plan by the Berlin firm of architects Staab Architekten. A 2,700 tonne bridge-like structure now spans the previously open courtyard. It constitutes a voluminous space with two floors for storerooms and painting restoration workshops. In an area totalling 1,130 square metres the new storeroom will be able to accommodate around 6000 paintings belonging to both the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Galerie Neue Meister. The works of art will now be stored 17 m above ground – safe from any imaginable flood that might strike in the future. Gaps along the sides of the canopy structure enable daylight to penetrate into the large hall below. This area, which measures 1,600 square metres, houses a café and bookshop and is also suitable for staging major cultural events. In so far as the architect Volker Staab had to impinge upon the historic building in order to carry out the renovation and modernisation work, he did so with great care and respect for the original fabric of the building.

The new Albertinum will be welcoming its visitors not only in new or restored rooms. With a completely changed exhibition concept, the building has been transformed into a centre for art from the Romantic period to the present day. It underlines the long-established strengths of the collections, including the specific Dresden tradition, and also emphasises the work of contemporary artists. Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz and A. R. Penck, three world stars with Saxon roots who began their careers in Dresden, will each have rooms specifically devoted to them in the exhibition of the Galerie Neue Meister – a unique feature of this museum.

We would like to present the new Albertinum to you in a press conference followed by a tour of the exhibitions, and we hereby cordially invite you to this event. To assist us with planning, would you please notify us of your intention to attend.

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