When Collectors are Able to Commission

The second volume of the BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors features besides 217 private collections also 17 Shorties. These short texts concern themselves with all aspects of art and in particular art collecting.

This time we selected a Shorty by our authors Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas in which they mention a collectors’ ideal situation: being able to commission a favorite architect. Different architectural qualities of several other exhibition spaces used by private collectors to display their collection are also touched upon.

"It doesn’t have to be the big-star architects. But many private collectors pay a lot of attention to the right architectural frame for their collections. Some have historical buildings renovated to house their art. Like Carl-Jürgen Schroth, for example, who converted a former school building in Soest, Germany, to accommodate his works. The young collector Friedrich Gräfling, who was born in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and now studies architecture in London, likes things a bit more rough around the edges. His Fiede Collection is presented in the tiled rooms of a former slaughterhouse. And the Norwegian collector-couple Hoff discovered a former caviar factory, enveloped in ocean mist at the Lofoten, for their collection. They commissioned the Oslo architecture firm Element, which has an affinity for art, for their striking remodeling. Some collectors open their private homes and apartments by appointment. For visitors, it’s interesting to see how the living environment engages in a dialogue with art. Munich-based collector Karsten Schmitz, of Stiftung Federkiel, commissioned the artist group Famed to transform the former working-class apartment on the grounds of the famed Leipzig Baumwollspinnerei into a habitable Gesamtkunstwerk—and with minimal intervention. Art collectors frequently have a clear preference for good design. Berliner Giovanni Springmeier, for example, combines art and select design pieces in his generously sized apartment. And Rotterdam-based collector Alexander Ramselaar lives with his avant-garde furniture collection in a historic townhouse. Well-stocked bookshelves serve as a room divider, as they do in the space belonging to art collector and book lover Ivo Wessel in Berlin. The ideal situation is when collectors are able to commission their favorite architects to create new spaces for their works. Wiel Arets, for example, designed the modern pavilion The Hedge House, in the Dutch province of Limburg, for the collectors Jo and Marlies Eyck, which blends perfectly into the natural surroundings of this castle park."

The journalist couple Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas have been writing freelance art journalism and art criticism since 1997 for a variety of national and international art magazines and newspapers.

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