The Schreiner Col­lec­tion of Con­tem­po­rary Cuban Graphic Arts

Art On Cuba - - Index -

An­other sig­nif­i­cant fact added to all this. At that time, Wolf­gang met Ste­fanie Bar­bara, his fu­ture wife and then di­rec­tor of the graph gallery in the Old Mu­seum (Altes Mu­seum) in East Ber­lin, Ger­man Demo­cratic Repub­lic. Ste­fanie was a col­lec­tor too and an ex­pert in con­tem­po­rary art in Eastern Europe. So in 1994 they both joined their col­lec­tions and founded the Grafik Mu­seum in Bad Steben, un­der the idea that “art may build bridges—be­tween per­sons and also be­tween coun­tries.” Fol­low­ing this al­tru­is­tic prin­ci­ple, the gen­eral con­cep­tion of the mu­seum was di­vided into four ba­sic work lines: graphic arts in Eastern Europe, the most sig­nif­i­cant artists of the late GDR, the Cuban and in­ter­na­tional col­lec­tion, and the re­gional artists. Among its most im­por­tant pur­poses was the dis­sem­i­na­tion in Ger­many of the graphic art of these coun­tries. Tak­ing into ac­count this joint work and their com­mit­ment with art and so­ci­ety, in the past the Schrein­ers re­ceived high of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment from the Ger­man state and Mr. Schreiner re­ceived the ti­tle of Doc­tor Honoris Causa from the Na­tional Academy of Arts in Sofia.

As we all know, to­wards the fi­nal years of the eight­ies Peter Lud­wig was the first West­ern col­lec­tor who sys­tem­at­i­cally bought art from the van­guards of the so­cial­ist coun­tries. The ex­hi­bi­tion Kuba Ok. Arte ac­tual de Cuba (Cuba Ok. Present Art of Cuba), cu­rated by Jur­gen Harten and Antonio Eli­gio (Tonel) in the sum­mer of 1990 in the Kun­sthalle in Dus­sel­dorf, at­tracted Lud­wig’s at­ten­tion on the Cuban art of that decade, to the point of end­ing up buy­ing al­most all the works there ex­hib­ited. From then on, an in­tense re­la­tion­ship with Ha­vana be­gan. Pre­cisely in one of their re­it­er­ated trips to Cuba, Lud­wig and his wife Irene in­vited the Schrein­ers to spend va­ca­tions to­gether with them in the Island. What in Novem­ber 1993 should have been a mere plea­sure tour for this cou­ple, soon be­came a dis­cov­ery trip. “That our plans (rest and recre­ation) were not ful­filled—Wol­fang and Ste­fanie Schreiner state on the pref­ace to the cat­a­logue of the Cuban col­lec­tion—we to­day see as a stroke of luck in our ac­tiv­ity as col­lec­tors.”

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