Germany’s Museum Folkwang Receives Multimillion-Dollar Donation

The Museum Folkwang in Essen has received a multimillion-dollar donation of paintings, real estate, and securities, reports Monopol. As reported earlier in the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, the Folkwang Museum Association announced on Tuesday that the museum received the gift from the estate of Walter and Liselotte Griese, longstanding association members.

In 2001, the museum received seven important Expressionist paintings from the couple’s collection, including Seated Nude on Orange Plaid by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner as well as oil paintings by Alexej Jawlensky, Erich Heckle, and Ludwig Meidner. According to Ulrich Blank, chairman of the museum association, twenty valuable Expressionist works on paper were also donated to the museum after Mrs. Griese’s death in April of this year.

In addition, liquidations of the real estate and securities will benefit the museum with funds estimated to be worth approximately $5 to $6 million, which will be used to acquire new works. Acquisition strategies have already been planned by director Tobia Bezzola, who stated, “The museum has not seen such a generous gift in decades.”

However, complications may arise from the wording of the Griese’s twenty-year-old will, which stipulates that the funds can only be invested “as much as possible” to purchase works from the Expressionist and New Objectivity periods.

As prices for Expressionist art have dramatically increased since the will was written, works that match the quality of the museum’s existing collection (for example, from the Der Blaue Reiter or Die Brücke schools) can only be acquired through additional support, said Bezzola, who also remarked that “wonderful acquisitions” can still be made for Expressionist historic posters, photographs, and graphic art, as well as New Objectivity art.