The foundingation of the Academy in 1996 also marks also the beginning of the history of the art collection. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the collection acquired sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints as demonstrations of artistic talent, through purchase, and as gifts or bequests by members, particularly for teaching purposes, and to furnish the Academy’s public rooms in a fitting way. The art collection repeatedly suffered losses, most painfully through the Second World War and its consequences. These are recorded in a publication, War Losses of the Prussian Academy of Arts, Berlin 2005 (extract: list of war losses by Carl Blechen).
The members of the Academy of Arts of the GDR, newly formed in 1950, lent their full support again to an art collection, the growth of which was due in no small degree part to the number of reference copies provided by the workshops. They gave it a profile oriented towards the work of the members, master pupils and Academy prize-winners, and incorporated examples of German art of the twentieth century retrospectively. This particular relation with the Academy’s members and prize-winners will continue to determine the collection’s profile in future.
The Art Collection comprises some 65,000 works on paper, paintings, sculptures and other items, plus 40,000 posters. It also preserves works of creative art and three-dimensional artefacts which come from documentary remains estates in other disciplines. The list of holdings on this website gives no more than an overview of the artists represented in the Art Collection and indicates their work by way of selection. The overall holdings, listed in a conventional inventory, has so far been electronically recorded only in part.