Independent Collectors

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.

ANDRE BUTZER, Untitled, 2006
ANDRE BUTZER, Untitled, 2006

For Max and Corina Krawinkel collecting has always been a matter of taste; they might just not have always seen eye to eye on what that “good” taste is. Starting their collecting journey separately from one another proved to be a blessing in disguise, with Corina using her knowledge and expertise in the arts to intuitively pick out key pieces and Max’s impulsivity to connect with an artwork, today they have together developed a collection that is as boisterous as it is controversial.

What is perhaps most compelling about the Krawinkel’s is their commitment to live and engage with the artworks on a daily basis; as if contemplating a work by Jonathan Meese first thing when you wake-up goes hand-in-hand with your morning coffee.

Here, in collaboration with Art Cologne, we spoke with Max and Corina Krawinkel about how collecting together as influenced their lives, how they arrived at only collecting West German artists, and why it’s ok for your taste to change.

Can you tell us about what it was like growing up with art and what you’ve taken from this upbringing that you now apply to your own collection?

Max: At my parent’s home I was surrounded by light installations and contemporary art and it was mandatory on a weekend to go to exhibitions, shows and host dinners with artists at home. Therefore when I went to university I needed a “cool down phase”. After taking a break for a couple of years my interest in contemporary art was back to life and I could benefit from all the memories and knowledge that I had learned at home.

Corina: My love for art started in Paris at the age of thirteen when I was admiring the impressionist paintings that my mother loved. This art was easy to understand and lovely to look at, but being curious and eager to learn new, and sometimes inaccessible things, the artist group around Joseph Beuys, Blinky Palermo and Imi Knoebel fascinated me much more.

Your interest in collecting began before you knew one another, but how do you now collect together? Do you influence one another when it comes to taste and opinions?

We spend a lot of time reading and digesting texts about artists, visiting art shows and fairs and of course discussing new trends. Therefore it is not influencing each other; it is after a period of discussion and exchange of information coming to a mutual conclusion that this is the new and right artist to go for.

Your collection has a very specific focus on works from West German artists. What is it about these artists and artworks that you find so compelling?

First of all we have grown up with them in the same country and live in the same society. We’ve all had similar experiences in Germany after 1960 and therefore we can relate to their expressions on canvas. It is the fascination with the transportation of their emotions on the same topic we experienced in a total different way. Furthermore, the influence of American movies and media had a large impact on the Germans of our generation and it was the movement of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and minimalism that influenced the generation of artists we collect. It is due to these influences that the artists are so exciting for us.

GERT & UWE TOBIAS GLOCKE, House of Dark Shadows
GERT & UWE TOBIAS GLOCKE, House of Dark Shadows

Max, you began with collecting international contemporary art, but have since shifted your focus. What was the cause of this shift and do you still enjoy the works that you purchased at the start of your collecting journey?

Before meeting Corina I was much more of an emotional and impulsive buyer of art. Through Corina and her profound knowledge of art history, I learned to see artists and their work within the context of art history. Works that were purchased before our collecting journey together I now find to be boring and one-dimensional. These days I now understand abstract art and continue to be intrigued by it, but at the end of the day I still buy more emotionally than my wife.

Corina, your starting point into collecting began with a much different approach, with your first piece being one by Joseph Beuys. What was it about this work that made it become the first piece in your collection? Has your taste changed since this first purchase?

My interest within collecting is the history and the influence that German artists after 1945 have had on contemporary young painters. I like to compare and interpret their views on life and how they transport these views onto the canvas. Joseph Beuys fascinated me right from the beginning when I was first confronted with contemporary art, largely because he changed the German art scene after 1945. My taste hasn’t changed; I was always inspired by radical artists.

For many collectors, forming relationships with the artists is integral to their collection and how they acquire works. Is this something that holds importance for you? If not, what do you consider to be a vital component in regards to developing the collection?

We know some of the artists we collect and with some of them we have a close friendship, but knowing them personally is not mandatory for us. Our focus is their work. The painting needs to “talk” to us, more so than the artists need to. We want to look at paintings on a long-term basis and continue to be thrilled by them.

ANDRE BUTZER, Pong, 2006
ANDRE BUTZER, Pong, 2006

ANDRE BUTZER, Pong, 2006

My taste hasn’t changed; I was always inspired by radical artists.


How do you live with the works? Are they something that you see and interact with everyday?

Max: Every morning after my workout, my first coffee accompanied by a tour through the house and looking at our works. Some of them give me the kick-start for the day and I keep them in mind for the rest of the day.

Corina: My interaction is more in my research and the buying process. Once we own it, I am then more focused on new acquisitions.

How has collecting art impacted each of your lives?

Max: My life is much more complex since I started collecting, because through art you see things with a different perspective. Collecting as a couple makes your life more diverse and you discuss things in depth and only have one destination in mind; how do we get this artwork into our collection.

Corina: It keeps us on the go that’s for sure! We travel a lot internationally for art shows and also to many countries to see their culture and contemporary trends.

Currently your collection is not accessible to the public, but loaning artworks is something that is important to you both. Why is it imperative for you to share the artworks for public view?

We like to change people’s view on contemporary art, so we all can share and discover new trends.

My life is much more complex since I started collecting.


TIM BERRESHEIM & JONATHAN MEESE, Don’t Call us Piggy – Call us Cum II, 2004
TIM BERRESHEIM & JONATHAN MEESE, Don’t Call us Piggy – Call us Cum II, 2004

The two of you are members of the Förderkreis Museum Ludwig, with Corina being Head of Kuratorium MAK (Museum für Angewandte Kunst) and a Board Member of Kunstverein Köln. Max, you are a Board Member of Freunde des Walraff Richartz Museum und Museum Ludwig and also a Board Member of Kunsthochschule für Medien, Köln. What do you believe your responsibility is as a collector when it comes to furthering education, both within the realm of contemporary art and outside of it?

It is imperative for us that our generation, and especially the generation after us, keeps close contact with contemporary art. We see trends that the newer generation lost interest in contemporary art and this needs to change. In the world of “alternative facts” you need to get the people into the museums so that they can see art first hand as well as the benefit of discussing art together.

By coincidence, the two of you purchased your first artworks at Art Cologne and both used to visit the fair as children with your parents. Does the sentimental attachment to Art Cologne play a role when acquiring works there?

It is not sentimental by going and purchasing art at Art Cologne. It is primarily the quality that convinces us to return to the Art Cologne.

Aside from Art Cologne, what other ways do you research artists? Do you have any guidance for emerging collectors?

We research artists by traveling to New York City and London, going there for shows and fairs. Some German painters are more valued abroad than in their home country and it is always interesting to learn the outside perspective on German artists. We also sometimes discover German artists there that we did not know about before.

Our guidance to young collectors is to focus on a theme they are interested in so that they can build a profound knowledge on their subject of interest. This allows them to collect with expertise.

ANNE IMHOF, Untitled, 2017
ANNE IMHOF, Untitled, 2017

Germany (110)

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Julia Stoschek

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Alexander Tutsek Stiftung – About Us

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You Are Here

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Warhol and Works on Paper

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Art is a Window – Christian Kaspar Schwarm

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

Young Desire and Cuperior

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Kunstwerk – Sammlung Klein

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The Peters-Messer Collection at the Weserburg

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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

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The Art of Recollecting

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

Generation Loss

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Recent Histories

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Yvonne Roeb

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Dominic & Cordula Sohst-Brennenstuhl

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Oliver Osborne: Der Kleine Angsthase

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STUDIO BERLIN – Boros Foundation x Berghain

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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

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Debunking the myths

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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

Manfred Herrmann

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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.


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Wilhelm Schürmann

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Aus Ihrer Mitte Entspringt Die Kraft

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Behind Your Eyes

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Color + Form

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The Secret Garden

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Ingvild Goetz

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Cindy Sherman – Works from the Olbricht Collection

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Gute Kunst? Wollen!

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Part Two

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

Frisch Collection

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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.


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Barbara Klemm: Photographs

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Karsten Schmitz

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I Have Nothing Against Women But…

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Collection Regard

En Passant

To the patrons of tomorrow

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The Rediscovery of Wonder

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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".