Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof
The Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof - whose main concentration is the late 20th century - encompasses ca 1500 works by approximately 150 artists. Certain individual artistic positions are strikingly represented by larger work ensembles. The collection contains principally art by Europeans and North Americans, but Asian artists are also represented.
In 2004, the sheer volume, diversity and outstanding quality of the collection led to an agreement for a partnership between Friedrich Christian Flick and the National Museums in Berlin. The venture was originally planned for an initial period of seven years, until 2011. The partnership has now been extended by another ten years, until 2021. For this period, Flick made the collection's approximately 1500 works available to the Nationalgalerie in the form of a long-term loan. The loan, presented to the public under the title "The Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof," has been supplemented periodically by new acquisitions added by Friedrich Christian Flick.
The collection is being presented by the curators of the Nationalgalerie in a variety of configurations, ranging from thematic overviews all the way to monographic exhibitions. For the most part, these exhibitions are found in the so-called "Rieckhallen" of the Hamburger Bahnhof. At the same time, works from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection are also on view in other facilities of the Nationalgalerie in conjunction with their own collections.
The historical core of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof is formed by large groups of major works by a trio of classical modernists: the paintings of Francis Picabia, with their numerous citations; the existentially inflected sculptures of Alberto Giacometti; and the radical Conceptual Art of Marcel Duchamp. All three of these work complexes point toward the collection's central focus, namely the upheavals and reconceptualizations of art after 1960. Especially notable is the large and virtually unique ensemble of works by the American artist Bruce Nauman, an group whose density and multidimensional character impressively mirrors essential aspects of Nauman's artistic thinking. Another important ensemble of works found in the Friedrich Christian Flick collection in Hamburger Bahnhof encompasses Conceptual Art, Minimalism, Fluxus, and the Poetic Structuralism of the 1960s. Notable in this context are works by Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Ryman, Marcel Broodthaers, Nam June Paik, Dieter Roth, Dan Graham, and On Kawara, among others. The medium of painting - whose point of departure in the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection is found in the art of Picabia - is represented for the most part by German artists such as Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, and Blinky Palermo, but also by younger artists such as Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter, and Belgian painter Luc Tuymans.
This intriguing constellation of positions, primarily representing Classical Modernism, is closely linked within the collection to the art of the subsequent generation, to individual works and work ensembles by contemporary artists such as Stan Douglas, Isa Genzken, Rodney Graham, Andreas Hofer, Jason Rhoades, Pippilotti Rist, Anri Sala, Beat Streuli, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Jeff Wall. The Flick Collection encompasses all media, from drawing, prints, paintings, sculpture, environmental art, photography, and video, to film. In addition, artists such as Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades, Rodney Graham, Peter Fischli/David Weiss and Stan Douglas are represented in the collection by conspicuously large format works, including elaborate installations as well as complex filmic spaces.
In the realm of photography, we find wide-ranging ensembles of classical works by such artists as Albert Renger-Patzsch, Walker Evans, Alfred Stieglitz, and the photographers of the Bauhaus. These works function as points of departure for contemporary photography, represented by artists such as Bernd and Hilla Becher and their students, but also by conceptual photographers such as Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, and Gordon Matta-Clark.
In spring of 2008, Friedrich Christian Flick made a gift to the Nationalgalerie of 166 works from his collection, among them outstanding pieces by Georg Baselitz, Bruce Nauman, Paul McCarthy, Dieter Roth, Richard Artschwager, Isa Genzken/Wolfgang Tillmans, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Pipilotti Rist, Urs Fischer, and Christoph Büchel. His gift was the largest received from any individual to date since the Nationalgalerie was founded in the 19th century. (On the works included in this endowment, see also: Collections of the Nationalgalerie).
Candida Höfer, Museo Civico Vicenza II, 1988 Farbfotografie, 36 x 52 cm, Nationalgalerie, SMB, Schenkung der Friedrich Christian Flick Collection © VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn, Foto: Christian Schwager, Winterthur
Jeff Wall, The Crooked Path, 1991, Grossbilddia im Leuchtkasten, 119 x 149 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof © Jeff Wall, Foto: Jeff Wall Studio
Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Airports (Tokio), 1988/1997, Farbfotografie auf Aluminium, 150 x 210 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof © Peter Fischli David Weiss, Foto: Courtesy Friedrich Christian Flick Collection