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"Kunsthistorisches Museum, State Hermitage Museum, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Sign Tri-Lateral Agreement in Vienna for the Development of Long- Term Collaborative Programs"
2001-01-23 until 2001-04-22
Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY, USA

Prof. Dr. Wilfried Seipel, Director General, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York City; and Prof. Mikhail Piotrovski, Director, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, today announced at a press conference in Vienna the signing of a tri-lateral collaboration agreement between the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the State Hermitage Museum

The tri-lateral agreement will establish a new level of international collaboration. The broad strategic objectives of the alliance are: to expand international cultural relations; to make each museum's collections accessible to broader audiences; to pursue collections sharing strategies that complement the institutions' holdings; to implement joint exhibition, publishing, educational and retail; and to facilitate each institution's long term goals.

The Guggenheim-Hermitage-Kunsthistorisches collaboration has the potential to present a full spectrum of exhibitions and scholarly research projects from pre-historic times to the present. Through joint exhibition planning initiatives, the three institutions will combine their curatorial expertise, collections, and access to works of art to create exhibition programs of extraordinary scope and quality . The alliance will also seek to attract direct and long-term financial support, which will enable the expansion, conservation, and enhanced preservation of existing collections and physical facilities.

The Guggenheim has led the way in forging alliances with other institutions worldwide. In June 2000, the Guggenheim and the Hermitage signed a long-term collaboration agreement to undertake joint cultural initiatives. Current projects include a feasibility study for the restoration of the General Staff Building, a 400,000-square- foot 19t11-century structure on Palace Square, and the creation of the Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas, opening in September 2001.

A fundamental goal of the tri-lateral alliance is to provide for the display of selections from the collections of the Hermitage and the Kunsthistorisches in the museums of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. A suite ofHermitage and Kunsthistorisches galleries in the new 572,000-square-foot Guggenheim Museum building, designed by Frank Gehry for a site on the East River in lower Manhattan, will provide a major platform for those institutions in New York City. When realized, the programming in the new Guggenheim Museum New York will include regular presentations of work from both the Hermitage's and Kunsthistorisches' permanent collections, as well as special exhibitions jointly organized by the three institutions. The tri- lateral agreement will also include collaborations and exchanges with Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao and Venice.

Wilfried Seipel, Director General, Kunsthistorisches Museum, said of the alliance: The agreement among the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum is rooted in an awareness of our changing world. Political, geographic, and cultural boundaries are opening up, becoming blurred or dissolving. The inestimable potential of the collections of these three venerable institutions, ranging from ancient Egyptian and Greek and Roman artifacts, to 20th-century masterpieces, combine to create the foundation of a newly emerging museum-scape of the 21st century . This collaborative enterprise is the first ever undertaken in the international history of museums by three of the most outstanding museums in the world.

Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, said: It is a great privilege for the Guggenheim Foundation to form a collaborative relationship with the Kunsthistorsches Museum and the State Hermitage Museum. These two institutions have, arguably, the greatest collections in the world. Add to that the Guggenheim's strong representation of postwar modern and contemporary art collections, coupled with the Guggenheim's active special exhibition programs, and the result is an intercultural network with access to millions that can engage in a new discourse across borders. Together, we can create a new range of superb cultural narratives and exhibitions, thereby heightening awareness between our three cultures.

The realization of this long-term partnership between the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation will bring the three cultures together on a new level, said Prof. Mikhail Piotrovski, Director of the State Hermitage. Clearly the cultural and political significance of this program will have far-reaching effects. But more immediately, the Guggenheim' s expertise in the field of museum design and development, and its collections and expertise in modern and contemporary art, together with the Kunsthistorisches superlative collections, will be valuable assets for us to draw upon.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Assembled by the Hapsburgs over the centuries, the Kunsthistorisches Museum's collection ranges from Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek and Roman Antiquities, early Netherlandish painting and Flemish art, splendid Italian Renaissance and Baroque collections, sculpture and applied arts, to ecclesiastical and secular treasuries. The Kunsthistorisches boasts the largestcollection of paintings by Bruegel in the world, as well as masterpieces by Cranach, Dlirer, van Eyck, Holbein, Mantegna, Poussin, Raphael, Tinteretto, Titian, Velazquez, Vermeer, and van der Weyden.

The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is renowned for its many collections which range from prehistoric cultures to modern art, including Middle Eastern and Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, Islamic and Oriental art, Italian Renaissance art, and 19th - and 20th-century art. Its collection of Italian painting includes masterpieces by Giorgione, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Its extensive collection of French paintings includes major holdings of works by Degas, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, and van Gogh. The Hermitage recently opened collection facilities in London at Somerset House, and will be opening additional exhibition space in Amsterdam in 2006.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Established in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation operates an international network of museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Guggenheim Museum SoHo in New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin; and Guggenheim Las Vegas and Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas (currently in construction). The Foundation's mission is to collect, preserve, present, and interpret modern and contemporary art and culture. The Guggenheim maintains a premier collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century art, with significant holdings of artworks by Beuys, Brancusi, Cezanne, Chagall, Kalldinsky , Klee, Leger, Picasso, Pollock, Rauschellberg, and Serra, among many others. The Global Guggenheim : Selections from the Extended Collection, the first comprehensive exhibition of the Guggenheim's collection from its constellation of venues and partners, will be on view February 9 through April 22, 2001.

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