SPK Foundation Board appoints new director of the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin

Press releases

Press release from 06/30/2021

On June 29, 2021, the Board of Trustees of the SPK filled an important management position at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. As the successor of Michael Eissenhauer as director of the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings), they selected Dr. Dagmar Hirschfelder, who currently heads the paintings and graphics department of the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg.

Hermann Parzinger welcomed the appointment: "I am delighted that in Dagmar Hirschfelder, as the new director of the Gemäldegalerie, we have an art historian with outstanding expertise and excellent international connections. The Kulturforum will be a place of great change over the next few years and I am confident that Ms. Hirschfelder will ensure that the Gemäldegalerie presents a profile there that is commensurate with its standing."

Dr. Dagmar Hirschfelder is an art historian. Born in 1973, she studied art history, history, and German in Bonn and Paris. She is an acknowledged specialist in northern Alpine painting of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. After gaining her doctorate at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität of Bonn, she worked at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, first as a volunteer, then as a research assistant and project manager in the department for paintings up to 1800 and paintings on glass. From 2005 to 2010, she was the project coordinator responsible for overhauling the museum's permanent exhibition of art and cultural history from 1500 to 1800. From 2013 onward, she headed an interdisciplinary research project to examine the late Medieval paintings in the keeping of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum from the viewpoints of art history and technology. In 2017, Hirschfelder moved to the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg as head of the paintings and graphics department.

There she augmented the collections with significant new acquisitions, worked on the museum's modernization in the areas of digital communication and the digital indexing of the collections, and curated several successful exhibitions. This autumn will see the opening of her exhibition Women's  Bodies. The View of the Feminine, from Albrecht Dürer to Cindy Sherman. This addresses a subject that is especially topical at the moment, the ways in which the naked female body is viewed and presented, from a viewpoint that takes in many different periods and artistic media. "When developing the concept of an exhibition, I always pay attention, among other things, to the relevance of the historical contexts to the world that visitors live in and experience today," explains Hirschfelder. Regarding her new responsibilities in Berlin, she comments: "An area of particular interest to me is interdisciplinary, cross-genre cooperation with the various institutions of the SPK."

In addition to her specialist expertise and her management experience, Hirschfelder's broad network of international connections and her focus on engaging public interest were key factors in the decision to appoint her. Hirschfelder: "I see it as a really exciting challenge to guide the Berlin Gemäldegalerie and its internationally outstanding collection further along the path to becoming a museum for the 21st century. I am especially looking forward to working with my new, highly experienced colleagues at the gallery. For me, the foundation of forward-looking museum work is the proactive opening of the collections to the whole of society, combined with intensive research into the collections as well as innovative exhibition programs.”

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