A Tech Billionaire’s Palatial Art Museum Opens in Germany

Three years in the making, the ornate Museum Barberini finally opens

Photo:
Edvard Munch’s Girls on the Bridge, which sold for $54 million last November, appears at the new Museum Barberini. Photo: Courtesy of the Museum Barberini

Once home to Prussian kings who prized beautiful Baroque architecture, the Berlin suburb of Potsdam boasts a new arts institution befitting its opulent past. In January the Museum Barberini opened on the site of the erstwhile Barberini Palace, an 18th-century gem destroyed during World War II. Architect Thomas Albrecht oversaw a three-year resurrection of the 80,000-square-foot structure. “The city authorities wanted the palazzo to be rebuilt,” he says. “And the client wanted a state-of-the-art museum for changing exhibitions.” That client is software billionaire Hasso Plattner, whose eponymous foundation funded the project and has loaned works to the museum. On view until May 28 are a pair of impressive inaugural shows: “Impressionism: The Art of Landscape” and “Modern Art Classics: Liebermann, Munch, Nolde, Kandinsky.”

The museum’s Baroque facade is a mix of limestone, brick, and plaster. Photo: Helge Mundt, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

Patrons mill about in one of the gallery spaces featuring “Impressionism: The Art of Landscape.” Photo: Helge Mundt, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

Monet’s Water Lillies provides a tranquil spot to reflect. Photo: Helge Mundt, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

One of the galleries featuring “Impressionism: The Art of Landscape” boasts a series of haystacks by Claude Monet. Photo: Helge Mundt, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

A group of sculptures by Auguste Rodin populate one of the gallery spaces, which were designed by architect Thomas Albrecht. Photo: Courtesy of Museum Barberini

A view of the staircase from the top floor. Photo: Helge Mundt, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

The museum’s cafe. Photo: Stefan Müller, Courtesy of Museum Barberini

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