Independent Collectors

Manfred Herrmann

The Berlin based tax consultant Manfred Herrmann and his wife art historian Burglind-Christin Schulze-Herrmann have been collecting contemporary art for the last 30 years.

During that time the two have made many artist friends along the way, with one of them being Berlin based artist Michelle Jezierski, whose work the Herrmann’s have been collecting since 2008.

IC visited Michelle Jezierski and Manfred Herrmann in his office to talk about artists, collectors and their own artist-collector relationship.

Mr. Herrmann, did you collect anything else before you started collecting art?

MH: I have always been interested in art since my youth and started collecting in the 1980s, which is also the time I met my wife, who studied art history and has a very good eye for contemporary works. Back in the day she was part of an artist collective where she met a lot of young and emerging artists of the time and it was around then that I started to buy my first pieces of contemporary art. The collection has grown continuously ever since.

And when did you first meet Michelle?

MH: Oh it must be around five or six years ago, right?

MJ: Yes, at least. I graduated from the University of the Arts Berlin in 2008 and in that year I had my exhibition “Augenweiden” at the exhibition space of Vattenfall in Berlin.

MH: Right! So we met eight years ago through the gallerist Klara Wallner. She used to have a space on Brunnenstraße that featured a lot of young artists.

MJ: When I met Manfred I told him about the upcoming Vattenfall exhibition and invited him and his wife Burglind, “Burgi”, to come and see it.

MH: It was an invitation we happily accepted. I remember, we saw the exhibition and right away decided to buy a few works from Michelle.

MJ: Yes, I recall you bought “Race Track” – a work, which hangs here in your office, and a painting called “Wolkenwust”.

MH: And a piece called “Blaze”. We bought these three works of Michelle quite spontaneously because they captivated us instantly.

What fascinates you about Michelle’s work in particular?

MH: It’s hard to describe. It is very much about her use of imagery and her very own pictorial language. I particularly enjoy how she merges the abstract and the concrete in her works, and of course I am fascinated by her use of color. There is something very joyful about the colors she uses, which are often juxtaposed with a subject matter that depicts something mysterious or sinister even.

MICHELLE JEZIERSKI, Bridge, 2015. Courtesy the artist, Photo: Marcus Schneider
MICHELLE JEZIERSKI, Bridge, 2015. Courtesy the artist, Photo: Marcus Schneider
MICHELLE JEZIERSKI, Silver Salts, 2010. Courtesy the artist, Photo: Marcus Schneider
MICHELLE JEZIERSKI, Silver Salts, 2010. Courtesy the artist, Photo: Marcus Schneider

Have you ever commissioned a work from Michelle?

MH: No, we have never commissioned a work. We do however have a piece by Michelle, which might as well have been a commission.

MJ: I know the piece you are talking about! There is one painting called “Silver Salts”, which I had been working on when you both came to visit me in my studio. Right away Burgi, said intuitively she wanted to buy it. I was surprised since the work wasn’t even finished yet and had never been exhibited nor ever left the studio.

When I visited Manfred and Burgi at home a little while later and saw where they placed it, I understood why she bought it at once. The color of the wall it was hanging at corresponded in perfect harmony to the painting. It was almost a little uncanny.

You seem to have built a very close artist and collector relationship…

MH: Yes. We do see each other on a regular basis; we attend each other’s birthday parties for example. There is definitely a friendship that evolved since our first encounter in 2008.

MJ: I very much enjoy that we meet up from time to time at events, birthdays or when you come to visit me in my studio about once or twice a year. We never really lose touch, which is a nice thing to say.

Is it important for you to meet the artist whose works you buy?

MH: No. It just developed naturally. When I first started collecting I did not actively look for art to buy. I did not even have a fixed idea of what I wanted to include in my collection to start with. Instead I bought works from artists I encountered personally. That’s the kind of context which we started to build the collection. By now we have collected about 560 works and, of course, it includes artists who we have never met before. Next to Berlin based or German artists like Daniel Richter, Jonathan Meese, John Bock and Anselm Reyle the collection also includes many international artists such as Ai Wei Wei, Peter Doig, Damien Hirst, Sarah Morris and Jaume Plensa.

I have spoken with some collectors who actually prefer to not meet the artist. Some say that a personal encounter actually hinders them to see the work in an objective way or that they fear that their way of collecting would become too emotional. For me personally, it does make it more interesting to get to know the artist, but I never considered it a requirement to buy a work.

What’s definitely enjoyable about keeping a personal relationship with the artist is that you get to witness their artistic development from a perspective that is not too distant. Of course it can happen that as a collector you lose interest in an artist’s work as their career proceeds for various reasons, but mostly it is an interesting experience to follow the development of an artist who you have been collecting from an early on.

How do you live with art? Do you install everything in your office or at home or do you keep a lot of works in storage, too?

MH: A little bit of everything. Most of the works are installed either in the office or at home. Some of them we don’t get to see every day because they are on loan to different museums or in storage because we don’t have enough space or they are just simply too big.

I always like to hang and look at the works we bought recently, the ones that add something fresh because I didn’t get use to looking at them yet.

The German artist Birgit Brenner once said in an interview with IC that it is interesting for her to think about how collectors live with her work at home for years when the time she spent planning and creating them is considerably shorter. Do you feel the same way, Michelle?

MJ: It’s true – that it is an interesting thought. I do like the fact that my pieces are spread in different collector’s homes. I think I would go insane if my finished works would take up too much space in my studio. When my work leaves the studio, I consider the time I spent with them complete. Instead, I prefer to start working on the next blank canvas and create something new. Of course there are pieces that are very dear to me, works that I consider key pieces and that I would like to look at again from time to time.

How does it feel when you see older works of yours at Manfred and Burglind’s house? Do you enjoy looking back at past work?

MJ: Yes, sometimes I do look at an older work of mine, however I can never really stop the thought process that then starts to spin off in my head. I start seeing things that I have already experimented with back then and compare it to what I am doing now. Sometimes it is interesting to see the start of something technical or compositional that later ends up becoming a bigger part of my work, something I have continually investigated and developed further. Occasionally I also think I would do certain things differently now.

So it’s definitely a nice and stimulating thing to be able to revisit what you have done but at the same time I am not too fussed about it. What’s important to me is that I have a photograph taken of the pieces I’ve done for my archive. Afterwards I want the works to take up a life of their own outside the studio.

Is it important to you that you know the person who buys your work?

MJ: I always find it fascinating to observe which collector picks which work. Often I am curious about finding out certain aspects about the collector’s personality: what kind of person is the collector? What is he or she interested in? What do they see when looking at my works? What do they think is interesting about them? It’s a fascinating dialogue because a work of art is rarely perceived and looked at in the same way. What is interesting? And what is there to see? Those are questions that I regularly ask myself when painting in isolation in my studio. So it is thought provoking to revisit those questions later on in a dialogue with someone who has never encountered the work before.

Sometimes a dialogue can form the foundation for a closer artist-collector relationship, which is something I enjoy, and sometimes it doesn’t, which is completely fine, too.

MH: Do you sometimes have an idea of what a specific collector who visits your studio might like in particular and display your works accordingly?

MJ: No, I don’t think about it in advance. Maybe I should be more strategic (laughs). What I like to do is to show what I have recently been working on. So when people visit my studio, I always display what I have just done or what I am currently working on, simply because it’s the work I would like to talk about the most at that time.

And are you interested in knowing where and how your work will be placed and shown?

MJ: Yes, that I am curious about. Mostly because it can be a very rewarding experience to see the work in a new context, especially when something works really well such as in the case of the aforementioned work “Silver Salts” in Manfred’s and Burgi’s home. I am often surprised how well the work and its new surroundings work together and how the context of a private home can add a different dimension to the perception of a piece in comparison to an artist’s studio or a white-cube gallery.

Of course there have also been a very few times where I actually disliked the way the work was presented or placed in a collector’s home. But it is not my place to say this ¬– unless someone asks me directly.

Germany (110)

You are the Concept

Private sessions with IC founder and strategist Christian Kaspar Schwarm.

Sammlung Gräfling

The young couple merges private and public spaces by displaying their collection at their home in a prestigious historic apartment.

Mario & Julia von Kelterborn

The von Kelterborn Collection isn’t for the faint of heart—although that’s not to say the works are visually jarring.

Julia Stoschek

Sergej Timofejev in conversation with Julia Stoschek: one of the most active and famous collectors of time-based art.

Boros Bunker #4

This former techno-club has been home to the private collection and residence of Christian and Karen Boros.

Christine and Andrew Hall

Interview with the collectors behind Hall Art Foundation

The Walther Collection

A collection of photographs, spanning the early days of photography to the contemporary

Philara Collection

Since the mid 1990s, Gil Bronner’s collection has grown to more than 1 400 works

haubrok projects

Lollie Barr meets collector Axel Haubrok in Lichtenberg

Wurlitzer Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection

Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer have created a space where artworks sit comfortably alongside signs of everyday life

KUNSTSAELE Berlin

Geraldine Michalke provides one of the most dynamic sites for aesthetic exchanges in Berlin

The Feuerle Collection

Désiré Feuerle has turned a site of isolation and paranoia into a place infused with humanity, lightness and sensuality

Ingrid & Thomas Jochheim

The collector couple describes the discovery process, which has led them to around 700 artworks to date, as emotional

ARNDT Collection

Tiffany Wood and Matthias Arndt aim to collect works that create disturbance

Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung

Alexander Tutsek and Dr. Eva-Maria Fahrner-Tutsek share a passion for glass

PRIOR Art Space

Oliver Elst and Laura del Arco have built significant collections, both individually and together

Elke and Arno Morenz Collection

A collection about seven postwar avant-garde movements

BRAUNSFELDER Family Collection – Gute Nacht

An exhibition inspired by a song from Franz Schubert’s cycle “Winterreise” (1827)

Museum Brandhorst

Francesca Gavin and Benjamin Jaworskyj explore this dazzling space in Munich.

AT HOME WITH IC x sammlung FIEDE

Video art in times of crises: Selection 12 presents the work of Berlin artist and performer Constantin Hartenstein.

The Essence of Existence at Woods Art Institute

The Woods Art Institute (WAI) is a park destination near Hamburg for the experience, teaching & creation of art located in nature, as part of the Sachsenwald Forest.

Collection Night

A new twilight initiative takes places in Berlin to bring private collections together in a special programme.

Wege Zur Welt / Connections To The World

The Hildebrand Collection showcases its thirteenth temporary exhibition at its Leipzig home, the G2 Kunsthalle.

Alexander Tutsek Stiftung – About Us

See inside the exhibition, About Us, intended as a contribution to the discourse on contemporary photography in China.

You Are Here

"You are here" presents works from the Peters-Messer Collection, exhibited at the Werkschauhalle in Leipzig's former cotton spinning mill.

Warhol and Works on Paper

Editions and works on paper from The Dirk Lehr Collection.

Art is a Window – Christian Kaspar Schwarm

Una Meistere in conversation in Berlin with IC founder Christian Kaspar Schwarm.

Young Desire and Cuperior

A young collector pushing young artists to be seen and heard.

Kunstwerk – Sammlung Klein

Alison and Peter W. Klein are two collectors who do not follow art-market trends but instead only buy what they love.

The Peters-Messer Collection at the Weserburg

Bremen’s river museum, the Weserburg, hosted works of the Peters-Messer Collection, provoking an investigation of present day qualms and the function of art alongside these.

Friedrich & Johanna Gräfling

The young collectors with collaboration at the heart of their collection.

ALLES NOTWENDIGE (Everthing Necessary)

We newly introduce Braunsfelder – the private initiative of a Cologne family, who in their current exhibition (which can be visited) present the urgency for art, especially in difficult times.

Dirk Lehr Collection

A look inside the Berlin-based collection that refuses to follow trends.

The Art of Recollecting

A selection of artworks from the Hildebrand Collection that explore individual and collective memories.

Max & Corina Krawinkel

What might have initially begun as two collectors with two very different tastes has now resulted in one of Germany’s most important collections of contemporary art by West German artists.

Generation Loss

With fifteen exhibitions under its belt and over 100 000 visitors through its doors, the Julia Stoschek Collection is officially celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Recent Histories

Uniting the perspectives of contemporary artists of African descent who investigate social identity.

Yvonne Roeb

Inside the studio of the artist with the unusual collection.

Christian Kaspar Schwarm “Young Collections”

Inside the constantly growing and unconventional collection of the IC co-founder.

The Vague Space

The continuously contouring art collection from Independent Collectors’ co-founder.

Boros Bunker #3

A look inside the belly of Berlin's most known World War II Bunker.

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

On the occasion of the sixth edition of Berlin Art Week, Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer will be opening up their home and private collection to the public.

Colors of Descents

Taking you on a time-warp to the gaming iconography of the early 1990s.

Why Am I Actually German?

The exhibition from Kiel's Haus N Collection and Sammlung FIEDE were on display at the Kunstverein Wiesen.

Geometric Abstraction

What came first – the chocolate bar or the collection?

Dreamaholic

An exhibition on display at Weserburg’s Museum of Modern Art, featuring works from the Miettinen Collection in Berlin and Helsinki, that presents insights into the contemporary art scene in Finland.

Anti Social Distancing

As an anti statement to current new norms, Johanna and Friedrich Gräfling have compiled a selection of works from their collection in a visual narrative.

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer 2017

After the German reunion Gudrun and Bernd Wurlitzer witnessed the gallery scene in Berlin change dramatically.

Schloss Kummerow Collection

A world-class contemporary photography collection housed in a baroque-style castle in Germany’s Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

me Collectors Room – Picha/Pictures

"Picha/Pictures – Between Nairobi & Berlin" at Berlin's me Collectors Room features artworks by Berlin-based artists and children that live in Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum.

Deichtorhallen Hamburg

From the beginning of 2011 the Falckenberg Collection belongs to the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, one of Europe’s largest exhibition centers for contemporary art and photography.

Gill Bronner

Interview with the collector behind the Philara Collection.

Goetz Collection

An internationally significant collection of contemporary art located in Munich.

The Order Of Things

Exploring how the organization of photographs into systematic sequences or typologies has affected modern visual culture.

How to Be Unique

An exploration of the interlacing of textual, structural, and lingual elements and painting with a special emphasis on their material manifestations.

Grässlin Collection

Providing an overview of the history of Austrian, German and Swiss painting over the last thirty-five years, as well as the story of one of the most notable German private collections.

New Acquisitions

In their second IC Online Exhibition, Leipzig’s G2 Kunsthalle celebrates its second anniversary of the foundation with a selection of new acquisitions from the Hildebrand Collection.

Lines of Quiet Beauty

Located in a former residential and commercial property from the 1960‘s, the Swiss architect Hans Rohr transformed into a home for contemporary art with over 2 700 square metres of exhibition space.

Kuhn Collection

Offering a bright perspective of young contemporary art.

Archivio Conz x KW

Archivio Conz presents “Pause: Broken Sounds/Remote Music. Prepared pianos from the Archivio Conz collection” at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

Haus N Collection & ROCCA Stiftung

Two collections joined forces to create a unique cultural experience in an abandoned car dealership in Kiel, Germany.

Through A Glass, Clearly

Exhibition at the G2 Kunsthalle showcases new works on paper from artists Sebastian Burger and Stefan Guggisberg.

Kuhn Collection I

This exhibition is the first in a series in which Michael Kuhn and Alexandra Rockelmann share works from the Kuhn Collection on IC.

Recording Memories

Mimi Kolaneci shares parts of his collection

Haus N Collection & Wemhöner Collection

ach, die sind ja heute so unpolitisch

Blinky Palermo Printed Matter

Rüdiger Maaß quite religiously collects artist and exhibition paraphernalia surrounding Blinky Palermo.

RealitätsCheck (Reality Check)

“Reality Check” presents works from the the ‘Art’Us Collectors’ Collective’, a combined effort of four private collections in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart.

Primary Gestures

The Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung in Munich has an active interdisciplinary program committed to the special, the neglected, and the overlooked in art and science.

Dominic & Cordula Sohst-Brennenstuhl

Talk about being part of the “Young Collections” series at Weserburg.

Oliver Osborne: Der Kleine Angsthase

We’ve all experienced fear this year. The exhibition DER KLEINE ANGSTHASE at Braunsfelder, curated by Nils Emmerichs, presents works by Oliver Osborne, as well as a conversation with Nicolaus Schafhausen.

STUDIO BERLIN – Boros Foundation x Berghain

We are here with insight into the seductive new Berlin happening, STUDIO BERLIN, with an interview with Karen Boros and Juliet Kothe, Artistic Directors of the project.

Philara Collection 2016

Gil Bronner’s Stiftung Philara is on the move.

Jan Peter Kern

Death is Beautiful

me Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht

My Abstract World

Haupt Collection

Dreissig Silberlinge

Wemhöner Collection

»The art I encounter and surround myself with improves my quality of life. It gives me strength and inspires me,«

Désiré Feuerle

Publicly accessible private collection in an old bunker.

Lapo Simeoni

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

Timo Miettinen

Finnish collector talks about the impossibility of ignoring Berlin’s relevance in today’s art world.

Debunking the myths

IC Director Nina Raftopoulo helps new collectors develop confidence.

From Sponsorship to Authorship

Creative workshops for brands who want to become great story-tellers.

Kai Bender

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

Olaf Schirm

Collectors who have a special bond with Berlin.

Nils Grossien

100 Years of DADA with the last living DADAIST of Germany: PRINZ

me Collectors Room – Private Exposure

For the fifth time, the Olbricht Foundation has invited London Metropolitan University students from the ‘Curating the Contemporary’ Master’s program in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, to curate and develop an exhibition with works from the extensive art collection of Thomas Olbricht.

Harald Falckenberg

The Parallel World of Harald Falckenberg – Daiga Rudzāte spoke with German art collector Harald Falckenberg in Hamburg about art as a historical document and the relationship between freedom and collecting.

The Mechanics of Minimalism

Sometimes someone’s own profession and artistic interests go hand in hand. At least thematically.

Safn

From a very early age, Pétur Arason enjoyed visiting artists in their studios with his father. Today, Arason has built up his own collection spanning more than 1 200 works.

Wilhelm Schürmann

Together with collector and photographer Wilhelm Schürmann we have started the new On-Site category “Inside Sailing”, which brings you fresh photographs from the art world on a regular basis

Aus Ihrer Mitte Entspringt Die Kraft

The Reinking Collection is a place where man and art come together in order to evolve as one.

Behind Your Eyes

Tobias Gombert is an art collector who just loves to learn.

Color + Form

German collector, Gerd Meier-Linnert, is someone who sees the beauty in simple shapes.

The Secret Garden

Originally founded in 2001 and opened up to the public five years later, the Gerisch Collection hosts an extensive collection in the surroundings of its very own sculpture park, where art can be found down winding paths, in hidden corners and on ponds among blossoming water lilies.

Ingvild Goetz

Margarita Zieda talks to Ingvild Goetz about the talent involved in differentiating a good piece of work from a lucky one hit wonder.

Cindy Sherman – Works from the Olbricht Collection

Arguably one of the most important photographers of the late 20th Century, Cindy Sherman is not just a master of disguise but also a master at captivating her audiences.

Gute Kunst? Wollen!

Born into a family of textile merchants that spans over four generations and a long tradition of passionate art collecting Thomas Rusche’s passion for collecting art started early, with his first purchase at the age of 14. Over the years that followed, his passion for collecting has grown into a vast accumulation of 17th century Old Masters, contemporary painting, and sculptures.

Part Two

What happens when the private interacts with the public, and when personal decisions become a public matter?

Frisch Collection

The Berlin based couple, Harald and Kornelia Frisch, have been collecting idiosyncratic painterly and sculptural positions from different artistic generations free from market-based aesthetics since the 1960s.

Haus N – Part One

What happens when the private communicates with the public and when personal decisions become a public matter?

Le Souffleur

Wilhelm Schürmann presents his collection with works from the Ludwig Collection in “Le Souffleur.”

Slavs and Tatars: Friendship of Nations

An exhibition from the Berlin-based collector Christian Kaspar Schwarm, featuring work from the art collective, Slavs and Tatars.

Queensize

Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection at me Collectors Room, Berlin.

Barbara Klemm: Photographs

A new exhibition from the Berlin collector Werner Driller.

Karsten Schmitz

Art collector, art philanthropist, social entrepreneur and the developer of one of Germany’s largest contemporary art spaces, the internationally renowned Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Karsten Schmitz shares his vision of how artistic, architectural, as well as the social metamorphosis of art spaces can transform the lives of artists, the public, even entire cities.

I Have Nothing Against Women But…

A look inside the exhibition “I Have Nothing Against Women but Can’t You Ring at Another Person’s Door”

Collection Regard

En Passant

To the patrons of tomorrow

Laurie Rojas on the future of art patronage and how to nurture enthusiasm for good art, worldly sensibility, curiosity, and connoisseurship.

The Rediscovery of Wonder

»Good art is rarely simple, but it is hardly ever incomprehensible, « says Christian Kaspar Schwarm, IC founder and avid collector who has never lost his excitement for complexity.

Mario von Kelterborn – Weserburg

As part of the "Young Collections" series at the Weserburg, Mario von Kelterborn presented works from Collection von Kelterborn in the exhibition "Young Collections 02".