Preview Modern and Contemporary Art and Cabinet of Curiosities
For ten years Prof. Thomas Olbricht, one of the truly great and universal collectors, presented parts of his collection in 21 exhibitions at his private museum, “me Collectors Room”, in Berlin. When the premises closed in May, this came as a major surprise for the art scene. Now Van Ham Kunstauktionen can announce the sale of part of the Olbricht Collection. This part will be auctioned on Saturday, 26 September 2020. Such a famous collection has never been auctioned in Germany before.
In addition to all media of contemporary art as well as magnificent works of Classical Modernity, the collection is fascinating for its numerous objects from the cabinet of curiosities.
Prof. Thomas Olbricht is one of the great universal collectors of our time. With approximately 500 items, the sale offers a journey through the entire world and through time – in other words, the entire universe of the Olbricht Collection.
The collector Thomas Olbricht (b. 1948), an Essen-based professor of medicine, endocrinologist and chemist, created one of the most complex and renowned collections in Europe which is known for its quality and the numerous stories behind the different exhibits. Olbricht found inspiration in the big and celebrated stars of the art scene, but also in the wonders of nature, the curiosities of art history and the feats of craftsmanship which already fascinated kings and princes who collected them for their cabinets of curiosities. For Prof. Olbricht, all these objects contain energy flows which he calls “moving energies” and which the “me” in his Collectors Room referred to.
The main focus of the collection and the sale is on contemporary art, with paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations. Impressive works by George Condo, John M. Armleder and Cindy Sherman, among other artists, characterize the offerings. Museum-quality individual works from Classical Modernity complement this focus.
Prof. Olbricht extends the concept of the cabinet of curiosities in his collection by including works created as late as the 20th century. Classical contents such as precious works of art (Artificialia), rare objects of nature (Naturalia), scientific instruments (Scientifica), items from foreign worlds (Exotica) and wondrous objects (Mirabilia) distinguish this all-inclusive collection. They represent the centuries-old tradition of the cabinets of curiosities. The focus is on the sheer interest in rare, often scientific objects. Extraordinary materials are combined with high-quality craftsmanship. An essential part of this collection is the medical background of many objects which refers to the history of research into the human body.
The magic of these objects is now to spark the curiosity of others. We learn from the universal collector to trust the power of things, their “metamorphotic potency”, as art historian Horst Bredekamp called it in his book on cabinets of curiosities. This might also turn into a crystallization point for young collectors and beginners from which new collections could originate, according to Prof. Olbricht. With his last exhibition and the review of “10 years of me Collectors Room Berlin“ he concluded his project of his own museum in order to open a new chapter. Those who read the personal words of his most recent exhibition catalogue carefully realized that one reason it is not hard for Olbricht to part with his exhibits is that he wants to step up his involvement in the cultural education of children and adolescents.
Press release of the auction
Essay by Simon Elson (in German)
Upon request, we will send you the PDF catalogues or print catalogues of The Olbricht Collection auction from the beginning of September.
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