Highlights of the Berlin Collection

Big City Life

By Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

The photographic archive of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte is one of the largest photographic study collections on European art history and has over 900,000 media units, sorted by section. Among them is the Topography section, which contains photographs on architecture and urban planning. The collection on the city of Berlin holds well over 6,000 images. Here are some highlights that give an impression of the diversity of buildings, photographers and periods.

Protestant Cathedral (Berlin Cathedral) (1894/1905) by Julius RaschdorffZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Sacred Architecture

From an art historical point of view, the historical images of partially destroyed churches and their furnishings are of great importance. The metropolis of Berlin, as a center of diversity, offers examples of different denominations, architectural styles and periods.

Russian Orthodox Cathedral (Christ Resurrection Cathedral), Karl Schellberg, 1936, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Protestant Parochial Church, Martin Grünberg, Andreas Schlüter, 1695/1703, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Franz Schwechten, 1891/1895, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former American Church at Nollendorfplatz, Otto March, 1900/1902, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Pestalozzistraße Synagogue (Liberal Synagogue) (1911/1912) by Ernst DornZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Synagogues

Before the Progromnacht in 1938, there were numerous synagogues in Berlin, such as on Fasanenstrasse, Levetzowstrasse or Pestalozzistrasse. The photographs show these Jewish places of worship and the life of the Jewish community.

Fasanstraße Synagogue (Community Synagogue), Ehrenfried Hessel, 1911/1912, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Levetzowstraße Synagogue, Johann Hoeniger, 1912/1914, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Pestalozzistraße Synagogue (Liberal Synagogue), Ernst Dorn, 1911/1912, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Fasanstraße Synagogue (Community Synagogue), Ehrenfried Hessel, 1911/1912, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Hotel Metro, Kurfürstendamm 59/60 (1907/1908)Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Urban Mobility

Urban traffic has always shaped life in the metropolis. Whether as a pedestrian, by train, car or on the canal - Berlin is constantly on the move.

Kurfürstendamm, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Stettiner Bahnhof, Theodor August Stein, Günther Lüttich, Armin Wegner, 1842, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Landwehrkanal (canal), From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Subway station Moritzplatz, Peter Behrens, 1926/1928, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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AEG factory premises (1909) by Peter BehrensZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

AEG Factory

The factories at the Berlin sites of Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), founded in 1888, are important testimonies to urban industrial culture around 1900. The collection features iconic buildings by Peter Behrens as well as Germany's first subway tunnel.

Turbine factory AEG, Peter Behrens, Karl Bernhard, 1909, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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AEG factory premises, factory for small motors, Peter Behrens, Karl Bernhard, 1909/1913, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Turbine factory AEG, Peter Behrens, Karl Bernhard, 1909, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Turbine factory AEG, Peter Behrens, Karl Bernhard, 1909, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate) (1925/1933) by Bruno TautZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

New Objectivity

In the 1910s to 1930s, architects such as Bruno Taut, the Luckhardt brothers and Walter Gropius designed residential and commercial buildings with clear, functional forms under the term Neues Bauen. Immediately at the time of their creation, they were captured photographically.

Telschow commercial building, Potsdamer Platz, Alfons Anker, Wassili Luckhardt, 1928, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Residential complex Schönlanker Straße (today Heinz-Bartsch-Straße), Bruno Taut, 1926/1927, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Wernerwerk high-rise building (Siemens AG switchgear high-rise building), Hans Hertlein, 1926/1927, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Commercial Building Kopp & Joseph, Kurfürstendamm 35, Arthur Korn, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Apartment of the actress Lee ParryZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Jacobi Studio

The collection features around 50 interior photographs by photographer Lotte Jacobi, which offer a glimpse into the apartments of Berlin's high society and illustrate cultural life in the capital during the 1930s.

Professor Neergard apartment, Kalman Lengyel, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Apartment of the actress Lee Parry, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Apartment Steinberg, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Apartment of the actor Richard Tauber (Innsbruckerstraße), From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (1891/1895) by Franz SchwechtenZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

War Destruction

During World War II, Berlin, like many European cities, was severely destroyed. Photographs from the collection impressively testify to the lost heritage and everyday life in the aftermath and during the reconstruction period.

Lehrter Bahnhof, Alfred Lent, Bertold Scholz, Gottlieb Henri Lapierre, 1868, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Franz Schwechten, 1891/1895, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Berlin Palace, Andreas Schlüter, Martin Heinrich Böhme, 1699/1716, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Bethlehem Church on Mauerstraße, 1737, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Berlin Palace (1699/1716) by Andreas SchlüterZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

The former Berlin Palace

The baroque building, built around 1700, was demolished after heavy damage during the Second World War. Numerous pictures testify to the former grandeur of the historic building. In 2020, the Humboldt Forum opened its doors in its place with a reconstructed facade.

Former Berlin Palace, Andreas Schlüter, Martin Heinrich Böhme, 1699/1716, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Berlin Palace, Andreas Schlüter, Martin Heinrich Böhme, 1699/1716, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Berlin Palace, Andreas Schlüter, Martin Heinrich Böhme, 1699/1716, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Berlin Palace, Andreas Schlüter, Johann Friedrich Eosander, 1699/1713, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Bodemuseum (former Kaiser Friedrich Museum) (1897/1904) by Ernst von IhneZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Museum Island

The ensemble of buildings was commissioned by the Prussian kings between 1830 and 1930 and is, then as now, one of the most important cultural places for every visitor to Berlin.

Altes Museum (Old Museum), Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1824/1828, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Friedrich August Stüler, Johann Heinrich Strack, 1867/1876, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Pergamon Museum, 200-150 v. Chr., From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Neues Museum, Friedrich August Stüler, 1843/1846, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Schauspielhaus (today Konzerthaus) (1818/1821) by Karl Friedrich SchinkelZentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

Film and Theater Metropolis

Whether it's the Staatsoper unter den Linden, the Schauspielhaus, the Schiller Theater or the Volksbühne - numerous stages and film theaters are and have been part of Berlin's vibrant cultural scene.

State Opera House Unter den Linden, Georg Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorff, Carl Ferdinand Langhans, 1741/1843, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Renaissance Theater, Oskar Kaufmann, 1926/1927, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Former Capitol Cinema (Capitol am Zoo), Hans Poelzig, 1925, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Cinema International on Karl-Marx-Allee, Josef Kaiser, Heinz Aust, 1963, From the collection of: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
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Credits: Story

All photographs from the photographic archive of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich

Concept & Text: Nadine Raddatz and Sonja Hull

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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