Built in 1663 as a private residence in the baroque style, the palace was subsequently converted into a neoclassical style and used for the crown princes and kings of the German Empire until the monarchy ended after the First World War. Both Kaiser William I and Kaiser William II were born in this prestigious building on Unter den Linden boulevard. During the November Revolution, the leaders of the revolutionary movement spoke to the masses who had gathered on the boulevard from the palace's elevated entrance. When the Wilhelmine Empire ended, the Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince's Palace) was freed of its royal duties. The director of Berlin's national gallery at the time, Ludwig Justi, was then able to acquire the building for the gallery's modern department. Under the title GALERIE DER LEBENDEN (Gallery of the Living), he set up the world's first museum for contemporary art.
“In addition to the acquisition of these new rooms, the revolution also resulted in the freedom to buy works by new masters who couldn't even have been considered before. Marc and Macke, Feininger and Klee, Nolde, [...] Kokoschka, Barlach, Lehmbruck, Kirchner, Heckel, Schmidt-Rotluff, Otto Müller, Pechstein and a few others. Although the artists mentioned here have become “gallery appropriate” – and the academy even invites most of them to exhibit – at that time their selection was met with a violent shock, and some very unpleasant side-effects. The opposition hasn't calmed down yet, a leading museum director calls the Kronprinzenpalais' top floor the “chamber of horrors” and a “judge of art” [...] has written of “street politics” and proletarian culture. In the Kronprinzenpalais, however, where the gallery enters into the flow of life, there should be activity that corresponds to the contents of the collection. The key objective here is that the gallery is intended not only for connoisseurs of the modern movement [...], but above all for the many and, for the most part, invaluable visitors, who want to learn about modern art and, in many cases, cannot easily find their way into it.”
Only a few years after the opening of the Gallery of the Living, the young democracy descended to the election of the National Socialists. In 1936, Justi was dismissed from his position as director and the unique collection was split up soon after: Many works were shown and defamed in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich, a large part of the collection was sold abroad in exchange for foreign currencies or burned while still in Germany.
After its near complete destruction through air raids in World War II, the building was rebuilt at the end of the 1980s. The modern rooms behind the neoclassical facade were used for official receptions and guest housing during the GDR. In 1990 the re-unification agreement was signed in the Kronprinzenpalais. This annexation, according to §23, established the beginning of the end of a social community in post-national Germany.
Nora Al-Badri/ Nikolai Nelles
Die Anti-Humboldt Box
Aimée García Marrero
Junger Rat des Gorki Forum
Delaine Le Bas/Damian Le Bas
MFA-Public Art and New Artistic Strategies der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Johannes Paul Raether
Tribunal “NSU-Komplex Auflösen”
Nina Fischer/ Maroan el Sani
Unter den Linden 3