Gemäldegalerie shows Solly collection

Gemäldegalerie shows Solly collection

Berlin owes the basis of its now world-famous Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) to a wood and grain merchant.

Die Sammlung Solly 1821–2021. Vom Bilder-"Chaos" zur Gemäldegalerie (6)

© dpa

The exhibition "The Solly Collection 1821-2021. From Picture Chaos to Picture Gallery" will be shown in the Gemäldegalerie from November 3, 2021 to January 16, 2022.

200 years later, the exhibition "The Solly Collection 1821-2021. From Picture Chaos to Picture Gallery" looks back on the time from these humble beginnings until January 16, 2021. The English merchant Edward Solly (1776-1844) lived in Berlin for only a few years. During this time, however, he built up a considerable art collection of around 3000 paintings. Many were of rather inferior quality - for the curatorial team of the Gemäldegalerie these were so-called "couch pictures" that someone might put up in their living room. However, there were also some masterpieces among the collection, including works by Raphael, Giotto, Rembrandt, Jan van Eyck, and Hans Holbein the Younger.

Chaotic Collection

However, the collection seemed quite chaotic to some of Solly's contemporaries. "Think of an accumulation of about eight to nine thousand pictures, of which four hundred are put up at most," Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's son August wrote to his father in May 1819, "quite confused" and with too high an estimate. The works were "piled up on and above each other in 30-40 rooms in kitchens, coach houses, and so on".

Collection sold for 500,000 thalers in gold

In November 1821, merchant Solly was short of cash and urgently needed fresh money. At the same time Berlin wanted to build a museum. The Gemäldegalerie was opened nine years later in 1830. The Prussian state bought Solly's collection for 500,000 thalers in gold - not a good deal for Solly, who had probably paid more than a million including transport and other costs, according to curator Robert Skwirblies' calculations.

Solly Collection forms the foundation of the Gemäldegalerie

With 700 works to date, the Solly Collection still forms the basis of the Gemäldegalerie, whose holdings include some 3000 works. The current exhibition focuses on two rooms of the museum. On display, for example, is Raphael's "Mary with Child," painted around 1502. A highlight of the collection of paintings is Rembrandt's "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" from about 1659.
Booka Local
© Booka Local

Don’t speak German yet? Book a local helper!

Do you need help with making phone calls in German or attending appointments where English is not spoken? You can book a local helper now who can assist you in communicating in German! more

Ende Neu
© Jens Ziehe, 2021

Exhibitions in Berlin

See the best museum, art and photography exhibitions in Berlin's top museums, galleries and event venues. more

Source: dpa/

| Last edited: Thursday, 4. November 2021 09:57 Uhr

More news from Berlin