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Exhibition space of the New National Gallery Berlin
Exhibition space of the New National Gallery Berlin © Thomas Bruns

Neue Nationalgalerie

The world-famous museum of classical modernism is reopening its doors

The Neue Nationalgalerie is one of Berlin's most renowned cultural venues. Immerse yourself in the fascinating worlds of great artists of the 20th century.

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After six years of restoration work, the Neue Nationalgalerie once again opened its doors on 22 August, 2021. The magnificent collection of 20th century visual art has moved back in. There are also exciting new exhibitions to see as well.

Exterior view of the New National Gallery Berlin
Exterior view of the New National Gallery Berlin © Marcus Ebener

Mies van der Rohe's steel and glass architecture with its vast hall flooded with light has been fascinating visitors with its unique construction since it was built 50 years ago: only eight slender pillars outside the glass façade support the monumental, 65-square-metre coffered roof.

The restoration of the Neue Nationalgalerie barely leaves a trace: "As much Mies as possible"

"Our work was surgical in nature. We hope to have returned this beloved patient seemingly untouched except for it running more smoothly."

Words from British star architect David Chipperfield on the €140 million restoration of Mies van der Rohe's world-famous museum building that he was commissioned with seven years ago. Chipperfield had already undertaken several internationally acclaimed projects in Berlin before, such as the reconstruction of the Neues Museum on Museum Island. The difference to the restoration of the Neue Nationalgalerie is noticeable: although the building was stripped down to its foundations, it has remained as Mies van der Rohe first designed it - even a reproduction of the original carpet has been laid in the exhibition rooms.

Spectacular exhibitions to mark the reopening

The collection rooms on the lower level will be showing the newly curated permanent exhibition entitled The Art of Society: Around 250 first-class paintings and sculptures from the first half of the 20th century by world-famous artists such as Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paula Modersohn-Becker will be on display. They represent only a fraction of the Neue Nationalgalerie’s collection of around 1,800 works.

Immerse yourself in the world of the avant-garde and experience works of Expressionism, Cubism and Dada. Current topics such as the relationship between Expressionism and Colonialism, and the emancipation of women in the Weimar Republic are addressed and discussed here.

New National Gallery, exhibition The Art of Society
New National Gallery, exhibition The Art of Society © © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / David von Becker

On the western side of the lower level, a door leads into the green outdoor sculpture garden. Inspired by MoMA’s sculpture garden in New York, it was designed as an extension of the museum space. Between plants and sculptures, the garden's water feature is now back in its original location, where a special highlight of the collection, Sky Piece by David Black, can be seen.

The large opening exhibition in the glass hall above is showcasing numerous works by one of the most famous American sculptors of the 20th century: Alexander Calder. The exhibition Minimal/Maximal focuses on his monumental sculptures and his moving wire constructions, from small objects to large sculptures. Calder's art superbly fills the light-flooded exhibition space - through kinetics, sound and interaction.

New National Gallery Exhibition Alexander Calder
New National Gallery Exhibition Alexander Calder © © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2021 / Photo by David von Becker

A well-known contemporary artist is also represented in the opening exhibitions of the Neue Nationalgalerie: In Rosa Barba. In a Perpetual Now, Barba screens moving film installations on vintage projectors: lonely scenes, such as deserts with solar panels and oil pumps or corridors devoid of people and empty shelves that spatially connect with objects and sculptures.

The Neue Nationalgalerie: An Icon of Architectural History

The Neue Nationalgalerie, opened in 1968 not far from Potsdamer Platz on the Reichpietschufer, was Mies van der Rohe's last solo work. The building with its flowing, open hall and seemingly floating flat roof is considered to be an icon of architecture. The glass enclosure and the design language reduced to the essentials set the mood for the collection. The concept: temporary exhibitions take place in the main hall, the glass pavilion, while the lower level houses the permanent exhibition.

In the freshly renovated building, a special exhibition is dedicated to the architectural history of the Neue Nationalgalerie and its architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The focus is on the construction period (1965-1968) and on the major restoration work performed by David Chipperfield and his team over the last six years (2015-2021). Artworks from the Neue Nationalgalerie’s collection which have a connection with the museum’s architecture provide a visual illustration to complement this historical exhibition.

New National Gallery, exhibition The Art of Society
New National Gallery, exhibition The Art of Society © © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / David von Becker

The Neue Nationalgalerie collection

The Neue Nationalgalerie’s collection contains magnificent milestones of painting and sculpture - from classical modernism to the 1980s. German Expressionism forms a focal point, with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann as its protagonists. Dalí, Miró and Picasso take us on a journey into Surrealism, while Klee and Kandinsky provide insights into the teachings of the Bauhaus - the world-famous art and design school. On large canvases, colourful and abstract works by the American painters Barnett Newman, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly herald a new era.

Highlights

  • The Neue Nationalgalerie building by Mies van der Rohe - an icon of modern architecture
  • The Pillars of Society (1926), George Grosz
  • Potsdamer Platz (1914), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Eiffel Tower (1928), Robert Delaunay
  • Head in Brass (1925), Rudolf Belling

Art, culture and politics around Berlin’s Kulturforum

Great art is also right at home in the Gemäldegalerie (Portrait Gallery) at the Kulturforum. Marvel at the famous paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries, including works by Titian, Holbein, Dürer and Rembrandt. The Botticelli collection is one of the most renowned in the world. A few steps away, the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) at the  Kulturforum presents precious medieval goldsmith's work, ornately painted maiolica and filigree porcelain. A look at the history of design from the Middle Ages to the present day is also exciting. The Kulturforum opposite Potsdamer Platz is one of Berlin's major cultural centres. Its prestigious museums, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Hall and the Staatsbibliothek are of international standing. Crossing the Großer Tiergarten park from the Kulturforum, you can then reach Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the Federal President, on the banks of the Spree. Prince Ferdinand of Prussia had the stately three-wing complex built as a pleasure palace in the 18th century.

Information for your visit to the Neue Nationalgalerie

You can easily reach the Neue Nationalgalerie by taking the U2 underground line to the Potsdamer Platz station. The S-Bahn lines S1, S2 and S25 also stop here. The visitor entrance to the Neue Nationalgalerie is located at Potsdamer Straße 50. With the 3-Day Berlin Museum Pass you can visit the exhibition free of charge.

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Opening hours (additional information)

Please note: The current opening and closing hours and special hygiene rules for the Covid-19 are available on this website.

Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 am - 6.00 pm

Thursday 10.00 am - 8.00 pm