Museums Comment Germany

Support for Gemäldegalerie’s return to Museum Island

The gradual transformation of the museum sector in Berlin over recent decades has been an inspiration to all of us around the world

In a letter (reprinted below) to Michael Eissenhauer, the director-general of the State Museums of Berlin, and Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, John Leighton, the director-general of the National Galleries Scotland, voices his support for the planed moved of the Gemäldegalerie.

1 August 2012

Thank you for your letter and for the information on your plans for Gemäldegalerie and Nationalgalerie.

First of all, may I complement you and your colleagues on the scale of your ambition and the clarity of your vision. The gradual transformation of the museum sector in Berlin over recent decades has been an inspiration to all of us around the world. However, as you rightly point out, the disposition and fragmentation of the paintings and sculpture collections together with the unsatisfactory spaces for 20th-century art has been a major issue. Your drive to resolve this with a clear and coherent strategy will be welcomed by national and international audiences.

Inevitably, your ambitious plans will mean that some compromises will have to be made, for example with condensed displays until all the pieces of this plan are ready. But this is a small price to pay against the prospect of such a major transformation, which will surely result in the creation of one of the finest museum complexes anywhere in the world.

So, you can count on our absolute support and on behalf on all my colleagues we wish your every success in establishing your plans.

With best wishes,

John Leighton

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