City Guide

Berlin: The Insider's Guide

By Sotheby's Museum Network

Sotheby's connects with three of Berlin's leading culture experts to discuss their favorite destinations and insider tips. For more on Berlin, see the Museum Network City Guide on Germany's art capital.


Director of the National Galleries of Berlin

Udo Kittelman. Photo courtesy of Juliane Eirich, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie.

“Start with a walk through the Gardens of Charlottenburg Palace. Then head across the street to the Collection Scharf Gerstenberg, with its collection of Surrealists, and to the Museum Berggruen, to view masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse and more. For a break visit its garden, which features the bronze sculpture United Enemies by Thomas Schütte. Nearby there’s a hidden gem: the Keramik-Museum, with temporary exhibitions of ceramics. Housed inside an 18th century burgher’s house, it is a reminder of a more pastoral era. Finally, go to the Dorotheenstadt cemetery, where Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Bertolt Brecht and John Heartfield are buried. After sunset, the chapel glows from the light of an installation by James Turrell.”

Schloss Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg. Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Scholvien, © visitBerlin.


Former director of Tate Modern, London, the Haus der Kunst, Munich and the Volksbühne theatre

Chris Dercon. Photo courtesy of Klaus Haag.

“My favourite Berlin museum is the Bode Museum at the tip of the Museumsinsel. The Georg Kolbe Museum is a jewel in the Berlin museum landscape on the outskirts of the Grunewald forest. Kolbe's sculptures form an unparalleled dialogue with architecture. Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans' tiny art space Between Bridges, at the Keithstrasse in Charlottenburg, connects work by forgotten photo auteurs to experimental graphic design and music. Another photographer, Nina Pohl, uses a famous DDR hang out, the Schinkel Pavillon, for experimental projects. I realise how much I appreciate good art in good architecture. Collector Axel Haubrok and architect Arno Brandlhuber have reworked the Fahrbereitschaft [the former GDR motor pool] to create public art spaces—but don’t expect spectacle at the Haubrok Foundation, it’s hard core conceptual art in a hard core environment.”

Pierre Klossowski's Roberte Ce Soir Schinkel at the Schinkel Pavillon (2017). Photo: Andrea Rossetti. © Pierre Klossowski


Collector and Founder of the Sammlung Boros

Christian and Karen Boros. Photo: Wolfgang Stahr © Wolfgang Stahr

“Michel Majerus’ paintings draw on art history, advertising, computer gaming, comics and fashion. The Michel Majerus Estate, founded by Majerus’ parents after his death in 2002, is in his former studio in Prenzlauer Berg. Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler is one of the most pioneering galleries when it comes to artists of the digital native generation, such as Avery K Singer, Katja Novitskova, Guan Xiao and Slavs and Tatars. The gallery is now in a new space in Kreuzberg. I also like visiting the Schinkel Pavillon, which provides a platform for contemporary art: shows are often conceived with reference to the octagonal-shaped architecture of the building created in 1969 by architect Richard Paulick. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is in one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings, built by Hugh Stubbins in 1957 as a gift to the city from the US government. Contemporary art is often challenged by architecture. Since 2015, the König Galerie has been located in a former Brutalist Catholic church, St Agnes. There is a hidden gem behind the building: a sculpture garden showing works by Tatiana Trouvé, Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade and Jeppe Hein.”

Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Photo: Wolfgang Scholvien © visitBerlin

For more on the best of Berlin, see the Museum Network City Guide.

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