On instructions from the last East German
Ministry of Culture, artworks which had been
financed from the Cultural Fund of the GDR
and displayed in public buildings were
collected together from all districts of the GDR.

Following a district assembly resolution, work
was started on converting Beeskow Castle
into an East Brandenburg Culture and
Education Centre. At the same time the
creation of a contemporary art collection for
the area Berlin – Brandenburg was begun.
Herbert Schirmer, the last Minister of Culture
of the GDR, was director of Beeskow Castle
from 1990 until 1999.

The art works collected in 1990 were
distributed to the new Federal States on
instructions from the Trust for Cultural Funds.
The majority of the works belonging to
Brandenburg are located in Beeskow Castle
(300 paintings, 4,000 graphics,
70 sculptures).

In December the Deutsches Historisches
Museum (DHM) in Berlin hosted a symposium
with the title “The search for the lost state“.
The event was part of a critical evaluation of
commissioned artworks in the GDR, and
sought to resolve what to do with the more
than 12,000 commissioned artworks that were
administrated as “special assets“ by the
Treuhand and located in the DHM. Scientists
recommended the creation of a research
centre for the scientific evaluation of the

The federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg,
Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thueringen and
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern secure the release
of the artworks from the Treuhand in Berlin.
The “special assets“ were distributed to the
new federal states on the basis of the
'principle of location'. The states of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and
Berlin agreed on a common cooperative
approach. The artworks from these states
were located in Beeskow, whereas the
artworks from Saxony and Thueringen are
administered by the state of Saxony and those
from Saxony-Anhalt are located in Halle. A
three-year programme financed by the
Treuhand aims for a common evaluation
process. The leading organisation in this
process is Beeskow Castle.

A storehouse near Beeskow Castle was
converted by the administration of Oder-Spree
District into an art depot to house a total of
20,000 works. The federal states involved, the
local council and the interest group “neue
bildende kunst“ in Berlin reach agreements
on how best to deal with the artworks. In
October the ˝Collection and Documentation
Centre Art in the GDR“ employed a scientific
advisor a depot manager and a librarian. The
first loaned objects from the collection were
shown in the Worker's Museum in
Copenhagen. The exhibitions “Querformat 1“
and “Querformat 2“ were shown. The Senat in
Berlin decided to send the collection it had
inherited from the East Berlin government to

The inventory of paintings, graphics,
sculptures, medals, craftwork materials,
caricatures and posters was completed and
work was begun on the creation of a
catalogue of paintings, graphics and
sculptures. In September the Centre
presented the exhibition “The beauty of
power”, which opened with a symposiuim on
the relationship between art and dictatorship.

After the exhibition “... und der Zukunft
zugewandt!“ which was shown in November
1997, a further exhibition, “Frame-change: art
collecting of the parties and social
organisations in the GDR are questioned”
was presented in November 1998. This
exhibition resulted in a great deal of
controversial discussion both in the general
public and in the media.

Herbert Schirmer left Beeskow Castle and
Tillmann Schladebach was appointed as his
successor, as director of the Cultural and
Educational Centre.

The administrative agreement between the
federal states of Berlin, Brandenburg and
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was finalised. The
curatorship agreed on the new name
“Kunstarchiv Beeskow“. The state of
Brandenburg appointed the Culture and Sport
Department of the Oder-Spree District, led by
Dr. Wolfgang de Bruyn, to administer the
collection. Marina Aurich director of the
District Archive assumed responsibility for
cataloguing the objects. The work rooms are
located in Beeskow Castle.

The exhibition “Between heaven and earth,
landscapes from the GDR” was organised
in cooperation with the Haus der
Brandenburgisch-Preussischen Geschichte
in Potsdam, and co-sponsored by the Stiftung
Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv DRA, the
Kulturstiftung des Bundes, the Ostdeutschen
Sparkassenstiftung im Land Brandenburg and
the Kulturland Brandenburg e.V..

The exhibition “A broad field, Agriculture in
the painting of the GDR“ with paintings from
Beeskow and from the Farmer's Gallery in
Schloss Elisabethenburg was organised in
cooperation with the Meininger Museen and
sponsored by the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung
Hessen-Thüringen and the Thueringen
Ministry of Culture.

After Dr. Wolfgang de Bruyn moved to the
Kleist Museum in Frankfurt/Oder, Dr. Ilona
Weser, chief administrator for education and
health in the Oder-Spree district, took over the
directorship of the Kunstarchiv Beeskow.

Günter Horn,
Friedrich (Schweinestall), 1979, Öl auf Hartfaser