The Dresden State Art Collections mourns Martin Roth
The Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) is mourning the loss of its long-time Director General, Martin Roth. He was at the head of the museum association from 2001 to 2011 and marked an era that was one of the most significant and trend-setting in the history of the Dresden State Art Collections.
A brilliant manager, team player and communicator, he had only just started when he steered the Dresden State Art Collections through the catastrophic flood of 2002. Historic events took place during his tenure in Dresden, including the opening of the New Green Vault, the Historic Green Vault, the Turkish Chamber and the Albertinum, which was completely renovated and converted, and – thanks to a flood-safe bridge structure over the atrium – became the home of a painting storeroom and state of the art restoration workshops after the flood. Martin Roth was a driving force behind the success of large construction projects as well as the strategic development of the presentation of new collections. He brilliantly staged both openings and re-openings with a true sense of the significance of these events, and he also maintained a culture of celebration and festivity.
Under the leadership of Martin Roth, the international standing of the Dresden State Art Collections was underscored by numerous appearances abroad. In Japan, the USA, London, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Beijing, the Dresden State Art Collections were “cultural ambassadors of both Saxony and Germany”, as then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated in 2008. This also applies to the exhibition Splendeurs de la Cour de Saxe. Dresde à Versailles, which was opened in 2006 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jacques Chirac who was French President at the time. He was especially interested in exchanges with Russian museums. The gifted networker and actively engaged world citizen initiated the Verwandelte Götter (“Gods Transformed”) (2009) exhibits, which in collaboration with the Museo del Prado, brought together antique sculptures from both institutions to make for brilliant presentations in both the Prado and in Dresden.
Through his cultural-political approach, Martin Roth has given a strong voice to the Dresden State Art Collections on the world stage: and this voice has been heard and taken seriously. With his many talents, intellect and rhetoric, Roth tirelessly dedicated himself to and fought for the Dresden State Art Collections. Possessing passion, ideals and a vision, he was a great, ambitious and infectious role model who brought out the best in his employees.
The Dresden State Art Collections and the Free State of Saxony have a lot to thank Martin Roth for. His presence as an advisor, supporter and champion for the museums will be missed both nationally and internationally. The Dresden State Art Collections will honour and preserve his memory and continue to work in his spirit.
Marion Ackermann, Director General of the Dresden State Art Collections: “The death of Martin Roth has shocked us deeply. With his loss, we all lose a lovable colleague whose courage pushed him to transcend borders and look far into the future. For me, his ideals always served as a shining example of how to use art in the promotion of social processes. Whenever he was acting as an agent provocateur, it was always in the spirit of these ideals. Our thoughts are with him and his family.”
Dirk Syndram, Director of the Green Vault and the Armoury: “Martin Roth has sustainably redesigned the rich tradition of the museum association at the Dresden State Art Collections and guided it into an open-minded future. He was a director general who, even in unexpected hardship, had the immense capacity to recognize opportunities that would arise for the museum association as well as individual museums. In addition to this, he was able to channel the enthusiasm of his staff in a very impressive manner, which continuously resulted in spectacular special exhibitions all around the world as well as innovative museum exhibits in Dresden that built up a completely new image of the Dresden State Art Collections as a whole.”