Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden receive the Hoffmann collection, an internationally significant private art collection

24 August 2018

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden receive the Hoffmann collection, an internationally significant private art collection

The Erika and Rolf Hoffmann collection is an internationally significant private art collection which stands out for its highly quality-focused approach and absolute trust in the works’ inner strength. In an extremely generous act of donation, the works are now coming to Dresden, where they will be part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (State Art Collection). This was announced today at a press conference in Dresden by the collector Erika Hoffmann-Koenige, the Director General of the SKD Marion Ackermann and the Saxon State Minister for Higher Education Research and the Arts Eva-Maria Stange.

The collection comprises some 1,200 works belonging to artistic styles and trends from the 1910s to the present, from the fields of painting, photography, drawings, sculpture, installations, film and video art. The spectrum includes artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Monica Bonvicini, Marcel Broodthaers, Miriam Cahn, Tracey Emin, Isa Genzken, Félix González-Torres, Roni Horn, On Kawara, William Kentridge, Julie Mehretu, François Morellet, Sarah Morris, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto, Hermann Nitsch, Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer, Ad Reinhardt, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Ruff, Anri Sala, Frank Stella, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cy Twombly or Andy Warhol.

The collection’s beginnings go back to the 1960s. Living first in Mönchengladbach and later in Cologne, the Hoffmanns were closely linked to the lively Rhineland art scene, collecting pieces together and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the artists. From the beginning, they were fascinated by artistic rules being broken and borders being crossed; work which engaged productively with modern times and never stopped generating new, singular insights. After the death of her husband in 2001, Erika Hoffman consistently added to the collection, extending its focus towards eastern Europe.

Since 1997 the collection has been kept in the halls of a former sewing machine factory at Sophie-Gips-Höfe, in Berlin’s Mitte district. It is one of the largest gifts that the SKD has ever received: an almost immeasurable addition for the museums association in the field of contemporary art. Over the next five years, the collection will be arriving at its permanent location in Dresden. The aim is to give all 15 of the SKD’s museums and collections the opportunity to work with this group of pieces. Moreover, works are also to be available on loan to other museums in the state of Saxony.

Eva-Maria Stange, Saxon State Minister for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, commented: “Our special thanks go to the donor, Erika Hoffmann, for entrusting Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden with this important collection. At the start of the 1990s, the construction of the Kunsthalle, based on designs by Frank Stella, was already accompanied by plans to bring the Hoffmann collection to Dresden. Back then, the project did not work out. We are absolutely delighted that we have now succeeded in bringing this unique private collection to the state of Saxony, adding to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, so that we can make it accessible to a wider audience from Saxony and beyond.”

Marion Ackermann, Director-General of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, said: “The Hoffmann collection stands out from among the world’s other great private collections, and not just for its open-minded outlook and the two collectors’ philosophical reflections. It contains important works by local and international, male and female, well-known and unknown artists which are all little gems, filling gaps in our knowledge of art history and expanding our horizons. This collection is an addition of immeasurable value, not only to Dresden or the state of Saxony. It is a matter of great concern to Erika Hoffmann and me that the pieces are not presented separately, but are instead integrated into the research and exhibition projects in all our museums, providing scope for new combinations and discoveries. Erika Hoffmann’s gift shows great trust in us, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden is deeply grateful to her for the unparalleled step she has taken.”

Erika Hoffmann: “Since the start of the 1990s, the connection that my husband and I felt towards Dresden has never been fully severed. It began with the former Director General of the SKD, Werner Schmidt, and has continued on a positive path with Martin Roth on to Marion Ackermann. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, our project unfortunately failed of giving Dresden an exhibition hall; an institution of contemporary art which could hold exhibitions of loans from international collections. Now that the Hoffmann collection is being integrated into that of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, though that is something totally different to our plans back then, it does fulfil our original wish of creating a dialogue of the arts that crosses borders and generations. That is something I have been trying out on a private basis for more than twenty years in Berlin. In my view, engaging with contemporary art is a key means of understanding modern times. May our collection, in its dialogue with the SKD, offer the public new insights and understanding.”

The Albertinum is now already showing some initial works from the collection, displaying works by Isa Genzken, Félix González-Torres, Braco Dimitrijevic and Mathilde ter Heijne.

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