In Memory of Erich Marx

News from 09/09/2021

A moving memorial ceremony was held in the Hamburger Bahnhof by the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz and the family in memory of the great art collector Erich Marx, who died last year.

Guests of the commemoration watch a film about Erich Marx on the screen.
© SPK / photothek / Ronny Hartmann

Erich Marx died one year ago, at the age of 99. Today, around two hundred invited guests paid tribute to the great collector and patron of art at a memorial ceremony in the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin, the museum of contemporary art whose creation and success owed much to Marx's generous loan of his collection.

Marx was closely associated with the Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) for almost forty years. At the invitation of the Foundation's president, Hermann Parzinger, and Marx's son Axel, around two hundred prominent figures in politics, culture, business, and society came to the Museum für Gegenwart, including the minister of state for culture, Monika Grütters, and the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller.

The life and work of Dr. Erich Marx was portrayed in a film by Gero von Böhm, which left the members of the family visibly moved. Following that, Professor Axel Marx spoke the eulogy for his father: "My father loved the city of Berlin, its wealth of art and its cosmopolitanism. We know how much our father, Erich Marx, will be missed – as the creator of the Marx Collection, as a patron of the arts, and as a good personal friend to many of those who are here today. This is why all of the family considered it especially important that we should come together for this memorial ceremony today and commemorate my father, even if we ourselves can never fill the gap that the loss of that wonderful person, Erich Marx, has left in your lives. That loss has left a great void, a very great void. We, his family, will continue his work and his ties to Berlin. By the time that the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts (Museum of the 20th Century) has opened, we aim to have given all of the works by Beuys in the Marx Collection – including such major pieces as Das Kapital, The secret block for a secret person in Ireland, and the Tram stop [2nd version] to the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) on a permanent basis, beyond the existing loan agreements. We are already working closely with the SPK to make the necessary legal arrangements. Joseph Beuys – who, like my father, would have celebrated his hundredth birthday this year – was a great artist, and the two of them were close friends. Since we are commemorating both today, there is no better day on which to announce our intended donation."

SPK President Hermann Parzinger emphasized "Without Erich Marx, the Hamburger Bahnhof wouldn't exist. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, are very grateful to him. And the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, where the works in his collection will be shown in the future, was a project close to his heart. His acquisition of the environment piece Das Kapital Raum 1970‒1977 by Joseph Beuys and his offer of it to the Nationalgalerie on permanent loan was a magnificent gesture that will not be forgotten. I deeply regret that he will not be there to experience this work on display in the new building at the Kulturforum. I would like to thank Erich Marx's family for remaining so closely connected to the museums and the SPK and for continuing on the path that Erich Marx took together with us."

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