The reconstruction and conversion of the 1840’s neo-renaissance building – Berlin’s only remaining rail Terminus from bygone days – by Josef Paul Kleihus, resulted in the re-opening of the Hamburger Banhof on 2 November, 1996 with a 13,000 sq m exhibition surface after four years of extensive renovation by architect Josef Paul Kleihues.
As part of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie and its third location, the museum houses three highly prestigious collections. Along with the permanent Nationalgalerie collection are the renowned Frederick Christian Flick, Erich Marx and Marzona collections.
Since 1996 Hamburger has consistently consolidated its reputation as one of the world’s most highly-regarded contemporary art museums. In 2004 the prestigious Friedrich Christian Flick collection encompassing ca 2,000 works by approximately 150 artists was housed in the refurbished former freight depots of the Lehrter Banhof which became the converted Hall, or East wing, known as “Rieckhallen”. As a long-term loan it will remain on display until 2011. In 2,002 the collection was again enlarged by the acquisition of Egidio Marzona’s collection of Conceptual Art and Arte Povera.
The core elements of the museum’s collection stem from the legacy of Berlin collector Dr. Erich Marx who assembled some of the greatest masterpieces of the mid 20th century - works from contemporary giants such as the provocative German ‘enfant terrible’ Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer. Amongst the key pieces are iconic works of art such as Warhol’s ‘Mao’ and Joseph Beuys’ installations including over 450 drawings from Beuys and 60 sketches from Andy Warhol. Conceived as a showcase for the multi-media dimension of contemporary international art the scope of the museums’ exhibits encompasses other contemporary art forms such as film, video, design and photography with installation work from Nam June Paik and experimental work from artists such as Sol Lewitt, Marchel Duchamp and Sigmar Polke and Jason Rhoades.