325 Years Akademie der Künste

“Academy is a word that means an assembly of artists, who gather at a location assigned to them at certain times for the purpose of communicating their art in a friendly manner, sharing endeavours, insights and experiences, and learning from one another as they attempt to approach perfection.”

Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Arts from 1784. He wrote his Magna Carta of the artist society in 1783.

Calendar Pages

The Akademie der Künste is taking its 325th anniversary as an opportunity to remember and to examine the current situation. In the form of calendar pages, events that have shaped the life of the artistic community are highlighted as caesuras or offer snapshots of its history. Members and staff take individual calendar days as opportunities to look back.

The history of the Akademie der Künste is not straightforward, but rather is punctuated by drama and change. It is marked by the transformation of an educational establishment into an international community of artists, by new departures and perseverance, by appropriation by the state and the claim to self-administration, as well as by discourses on the arts. The Akademie is taking its 325th anniversary as an opportunity to look back on the past and examine the present.

Calendar Pages will highlight watershed moments in the life of this community of artists and offer snapshots of its history. These include outstanding events such as the founding of the Academy on 11 July 1696, the Gleichschaltung, or forced standardisation under the National Socialists, the unification of the Academies in the East and West, and the return to Pariser Platz. But the Calendar Pages will also illuminate events which at first glance might appear unspectacular.

Specific dates provide an opportunity for retrospection by Akademie members and staff. The result is a series of personal miniatures and viewpoints that make no claim to being complete or to constituting a larger picture. The Calendar Pages will be published on the respective dates on the Akademie der Künste website and on its social media channels.

“Berlin is pleased to have this small house as a connection to the world” 

The reopening of Villa Serpentara in Olevano

Just a month after the Berlin Wall was built, the Akademie der Künste opened an artists’ residence in a town in the mountains of central Italy, and has been awarding fellowships there ever since. With this programme, the Akademie is carrying on the tradition of sending artists to study in Italy and, in the process, is also making an important contribution to furthering international cultural exchange.


Painterly visions set in motion 

The restaging of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet

The reconstruction and newly choreographed production of the Triadic Ballet by Gerhard Bohner enjoyed extraordinary success. Following its premiere in Berlin as part of the supporting programme of the 15th European Art Exhibition “Tendenzen der Zwanziger Jahre” (Trends of the Twenties), the performance was shown at 32 other locations.


The Fire in the Marstall on the Night of 20 to 21 August 1743

Beneath the rooms allocated to the Academy of Arts, the Marstall building on Unter den Linden houses stables for 200 horses. Disaster strikes when their forage catches fire.


Founded not only for the practice, but also for the appreciation of art

The founding of the Berliner Kunstakademie in 1696

The Akademie der Mahl-, Bild- und Baukunst (Academy of the Art of Painting, Pictorial Art and Architecture) was opened on 11 July 1696 by Elector Frederick III, later King Frederick I. After the Academies in Paris and Rome, the Berlin institution was the third of its kind ever in Europe and the first state Academy of Arts in the German-speaking world.


Alfred Kantorowicz becomes director of the newly founded Heinrich Mann Archive

The origins of the Archives of the Akademie der Künste

“Oh, you and your Heinrich Mann, your damned Heinrich Mann.” The reaction of KPD party members to Alfred Kantorowicz’s affinity to Heinrich Mann in 1935 is drastic and culminates in an official reprimand. After the war, his appointment as director of the Heinrich Mann Archive is initially seen as a good choice. The SED functionaries, however, will soon revise this position.


The East German uprising of 17 June 1953, the Akademie and Brecht

It cannot be said that the Akademie failed to respond on that fateful day. The sole item on the agenda for an improvised executive meeting that afternoon was: “What can the Deutsche Akademie der Künste do to intervene in the current situation?” The shock was palpable. “For several hours, until the occupation of the Munitions factories, Berlin was on the brink of a third world war,” stated Bertolt Brecht. There were, however, differing ideas about how to intervene.


“The sixth department, Film and Media Arts, has begun its work!”

Founding of the Film and Media Arts Department in 1982

On 12 June 1982, the members of the Akademie der Künste (West) decided to establish the Akademie’s sixth department, Film and Media Arts. The founding members were Eberhard Fechner, Markus Imhoof, Peter Lilienthal, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Wolfgang Ramsbott, Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta and Andrzej Wajda.


Max Liebermann becomes president of the Preußische Akademie der Künste

With the election of Max Liebermann as president on 2 June 1920, a new era in the history of the institution began. He fundamentally modernised the Academy’s exhibitions and helped the institution gain new standing in the Weimar Republic. One of his main priorities, however, could only be achieved later.


Only eight months: Theodor Fontane’s guest appearance at the Royal Academy of Arts

It was a minor affront: appointed by the Prussian King to the post of secretary of the Academy, Theodor Fontane submitted his resignation just a few weeks later, on 28 May 1876. As a servant to two masters, the writer found himself caught between the fronts.


Opening of the Akademie der Künste’s new building at Pariser Platz – Return to a historical location

On 21 May 2005, the Akademie der Künste, Berlin returned to its historical location at Pariser Platz 4. The former Arnim Palace had been the home of the Akademie since 1907 before being badly damaged in 1945 in the final days of the war. In 1994, the decision was made to construct a new building.

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