Donations and Indefinite Loans

The SPK’s budget allocation for acquisitions is modest. Thanks to donations and indefinite loans from private collectors or public institutions, the public can see masterpieces and unique objects not contained in the historical collections.

Pressekonferenz 2015 zur Dauerleihgabe von Joseph Beuys

© SPK/Thomas Trutschel/

When a collector makes a donation, he or she transfers the ownership of a particular object or collection to the museum or library concerned. In other cases, the owners of cultural objects decide to make them available to the SPK as loans. Some objects are lent for a particular exhibition only, while others are placed in the care of an institution for many decades. In both cases, valuable works of art and cultural treasures are made accessible to a broad section of the public. 

Among the most important indefinite loans are Der Watzmann by Caspar David Friedrich, in the Alte Nationalgalerie, and Das Kapital by Joseph Beuys, which the collector Erich Marx has lent to the Neue Nationalgalerie. 

Occasionally, a loan is later converted into a gift, as was the case with the collection of Klaus F. Naumann. Large parts of this collection of important works of traditional Japanese art had been lent to the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and exhibited there for many years before passing into its ownership. Libraries also frequently receive bequests or are given entire estates (as, for example, that of singer, conductor, and writer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau). It is of particular importance to donors that the collections are catalogued, researched, and properly stored by skilled specialists, as well as being kept accessible to members of the public.