The Collections

Since it opened in 1991, the Weserburg has presented art from a number of private European collections, which enables viewers to perceive the spirited variety of contemporary art in a special way. Unlike public institutions, as art lovers, private collectors are only committed to their own preferences. By pursuing their personal ideas and passions, collections are created with an unmistakable character of their own.

While one collector systematically follows the work of an artist over decades or is particular enthusiastic about a single art movement, another is constantly on a quest for certain themes and motifs or aims at a dialogue between different artistic stances. In this way, the Weserburg creates a space in which divergent perspectives can encounter each other and be discussed publicly. The museum has been working closely with most of the collectors for many years. This has resulted in a mutual trust that allows presenting the various aspects of the collections to an interested audience in large-scale special exhibitions and smaller presentations.


Daniel Richter, Blau, 1995, ACT Art Collection / Siegfried Loch © VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn, 2008

ACT Art Collection / Siegfried Loch

As an art collector, jazz producer, and founder of the jazz record label ACT, Siegfried Loch has time and again forged links between music and visual art. He has inspired numerous artists to write compositions to paintings in his collection, frequently selecting works for his collection that reflect the dialogue between music and art. Since purchasing the painting Blauklang by Ernst Wilhelm Nay, the collector has concentrated more and more on the theme of the color blue. Thus over the years, a thematically-bound collection has evolved that revolves around the fascination with the color blue in works by outstanding artists of our time.

Gerhard Richter, Schädel mit Kerze, 1983, Böckmann Collection, Photo: Joachim Fliegner

Böckmann Collection

The works by artists in the Böckmann Collection are collected over a period of many years. This allows making artistic developments visible in a very distinct way. Of outstanding importance is an extensive group of works with paintings by Gerhard Richter that for years now has been presented in ever-changing contexts. The collection also includes a collection of distinguished paintings and sculptures by Gotthard Graubner, A. R. Penck, Olaf Metzel, Hermann Nitsch, and others.

Norbert Radermacher, Die Schale, 1996, Finkenberg Collection

Finkenberg Collection

The works shown by artists from the Finkenberg Collection are primarily situated at the boundaries of the pictorial and the sculptural. Rolf Julius created a space with sound sculptures specifically for the museum. Norbert Radermacher intervened in the building itself by drilling circular holes into the museum’s outer wall. Another of Radermacher’s works is in the museum’s foyer: a small golden bowl set into an ordinary floor plate.

Dieter Roth, Die Geschichte, 1968, Gerstner Collection

Gerstner Collection

Karl Gerstner, a Swiss artist and graphic designer, is primarily interested in collecting work by his artist friends: mavericks in whose work life and art merge, or artists whose work is defined by obsession. In alternating presentations, works are presented by such noted artists as Arman, George Brecht, Christo, Robert Filliou, Raymond Hains, Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri, André Thomkins, Jean Tinguely, and Dorothee von Windheim.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Dono di Mercurio allo specchio, 1971/92, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz

Goetz Collection

The collecting activity of Munich-based Ingvild Goetz spans the mediatic diversity of today’s artistic forms of expression. Besides drawings, prints, paintings, and photographs, one of her focuses is on works on video and film, space-related installations, and multiple projections. The collection encompasses a total of 4,000 works by over three hundred artists. The Goetz Collection has its own museum building, designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and completed in 1993, where it makes its holdings accessible to the public in alternating exhibitions. [More]

Plakat zur Ausstellung "Komm und Sieh. Sammlung von Kelterborn" in der Reihe Junge Sammlungen
Plakat zur Ausstellung "Komm und Sieh. Sammlung von Kelterborn" in der Reihe Junge Sammlungen

von Kelterborn Collection

The focus of this extraordinary collection from Frankfurt is on socially oriented, philosophically profound, but also politically explosive works by well-known international artists. The collector couple von Kelterborn is convinced that art enables us to render the “present” comprehensible  in its complexity, in its contradictions and cruelties, but also in its thoroughly positive potential, and allows us to experience it with both the senses and the mind. They are particularly interested in photo- and video-works. But there are also places in this distinctive collection for Conceptual Art as well as for neon sculptures working with language and texts. At the Weserburg, the collection will be presented to a wider public for the first time.Art such as is to be found in the von Kelterborn Collection, offers no cheap solutions. Instead, it uses aesthetic means to bring to light the complex contradictions, but also the freedom and potential of human coexistence.

Blick in die Sammlung Lafrenz mit Werken von Alan Charlton, Johannes Esper und James Reineking

Lafrenz Collection

The Lafrenz Collection is characterized by international painting, sculpture, and installations from the 1960s to the present. The collector’s interest centers on art that adheres to a conceptional approach and stands out in particular due to its sparse use of pictorial elements—works by artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Long. When presenting the works, particular value is placed on the dialogue between those by different artists. Thus over the years, the tension-filled references by young artists to early positions by Minimal artists could be made visible in the interplay between works from the Reinking Collection.

Richard Prince, Nurse Forrester's Secret, 2002–03, Foto: Joachim Fliegner

Olbricht Collection

The Essen-based endocrinologist and biochemist Thomas Olbricht is a committed and passionate collector of contemporary art. With its circa 1,700 works by artists from throughout the world, the Olbricht Collection is meanwhile one of the most noted collections of contemporary art. It is enjoying more and more renown both at home and abroad, above all among experts, what has ultimately led to prominent curators time and again approaching Thomas Olbricht with requests for loans for their exhibitions. Indeed, this collection not only provides an overview of current goings-on on the art scene, it also contains top-ranking works that have already attracted international interest as “exhibition highlights.” [More]

Johannes Wohnseifer, Colourfield Disaster, 2002, Reinking Collection, Photo: Bettina Brach

Reinking Collection

Over the years, works from the collection of Hamburg-based Rik Reinking have been presented that primarily pursue independent artistic formulations with critical backreference to art movements such as Conceptual or Minimal Art. Thus works have been exhibited by artists such as Liam Gillick, Thom Merrick, and Dan Peterman, and contrasted with positions from the 1960s that are in the meantime regarded as classic. A further focus of the collection is the field of so-called Urban Art, an art form that only recently began attracting the attention of an art-interested public.

Further information is available at

Marcel Duchamp, Rotorelief, 1935/65, Maria and Walter Schnepel Collection © VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn, 2008

Maria and Walter Schnepel Collection

For many years now, Maria and Walter Schnepel have been collecting sculptures, paintings, collages, objects, drawings, prints, editions, documents, and ephemera of that generation of artists one today subsumes under the heading of the international Fluxus movement. This avant-garde as well as rebellious, indeed neo-Dadaist spirit began manifesting itself in the 1960s in Europe, the United States, and Japan. The Fluxus artists rejected museums; they organized the first happenings and actions and used all of the media available to them at the time for their anti-establishment and non-affirmative works of art.

Plakat zur Ausstellung "Nullpunkt aller Orte. Sammlung Sohst-Brennenstuhl" in der Reihe Junge Sammlungen
Plakat zur Ausstellung "Nullpunkt aller Orte. Sammlung Sohst-Brennenstuhl" in der Reihe Junge Sammlungen

Collection Sohst-Brennenstuhl

The collection Sohst-Brennenstuhl is a young Hamburg private collection mainly consisting of works by artists who belong primarily to the generation of the collector couple themselves. This correspondence is very important to Dominic and Cordula Sohst-Brennenstuhl. That which the two of them are capable of discovering in art is closely related to their own thinking, to their own perceptions, inquiries, and realizations. If one is inclined in this regard to consider contemporary art to be “the art of our era,” then that which inspires and fascinates the two collectors with regard to artistic expressions, even while remaining enigmatic, may be compared with a particular, highly differentiated experience both of time in general and of its present manifestation.The Collection Sohst-Brennenstuhl consists of an astounding variety of media, from delicate drawings past paintings and sculptures all the way to space-encompassing installations. Conceptual positions stand alongside figurative painting. The large format encounters the miniature.

Ströher Collection

This collection focuses on cohesive groups of works by important German artists of the middle generation, who in recent years have exercised a particularly strong influence on Germany’s art scene. It is hardly possible to imagine Bremen’s cityscape without one of the works of art in this collection—Ulrich Rückriem’s double sculpture. It has been placed directly in front of the museum, where the Bügermeister Smidt Bridge touches the tip of the Teerhof island. This convincingly monumental sculpture has marked the entrance to the Weserburg since it opened in 1991.


Chronology of the Collections

A complete list of all collections which have been presented to the interested public since the foundation of the museum is available here. [mehr]

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