Preserving, Moving and Exploring Art: The Doerner Institut at a Glance

As part of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections), the Doerner Institut is responsible for all artworks held in the Pinakotheken and throughout Bavaria.

By Alte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Doerner Institut

Condition examination of a painting under the stereomicroscope by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Responsibility for the Artwork

The Doerner Institut is responsible for the long-term preservation of the artworks in the Bavarian State Painting Collections. It oversees all holdings in the Munich Pinakotheken and other state galleries throughout Bavaria, the collections of which include works ranging from fourteenth-century panel paintings to multi-media contemporary art.

Max Doerner (1870 – 1939) by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Our History

The Doerner Institut was founded in 1937 in Munich as an independent "Reichsinstitut für Maltechnik" (Reich Institute of Painting Techniques). Its present name stems from the painter and art analyst Max Doerner (1870–1939), professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, who garnered international acclaim for his book The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting. Already in 1946, the institute became affiliated with the Bavarian State Painting Collections and in 1977 fully merged with its conservation and restoration departments.

Museum technicians installing the exhibition "Florence and its painters" in the Alte Pinakothek by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Who We Are

With about 60 members of staff, the Doerner Institut counts among one of the largest museum research institutes in Germany. Here, conservation and restoration specialists, museum and exhibition technicians and natural scientists work hand in hand in order to ensure the best possible care for the collection.

Retouching a painting by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Preserving Art

The conservators maintain, explore and document the collection. They develop scientifically substantiated restoration concepts and are responsible for their practical implementation. In this way, they continuously expand highly specialized knowledge of materials, artistic techniques and conservation and restoration methods - a knowledge grown over decades.

Identifying and Preventing Risks

Committed to the traditions of preventative preservation, we guarantee the best possible storage conditions in the galleries and depots of the Bavarian State Painting Collections, while at the same time identifying and assessing risks in order to counteract them holistically. Our specialist planning for refurbishments, renovations and new constructions further contribute to safeguarding the future of the Pinakotheken in Bavaria.

Moving Art

Art-handling professionals plan logistical processes and develop custom solutions for setting up and demounting exhibitions. Together with other specialists, they prepare the artworks for public display and optimize the conditions under which they are transported and exhibited. This means that the full diversity of the Bavarian State Painting Collections can be showcased, with select artworks featuring as ambassadors in museums all around the world.

Non-destructive pigment analysis with an X-ray fluorescence scanner by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Art-Technological Research

The Doerner Institut is an internationally renowned research institute with a long tradition, whose art-technological and conservation-science expertise is in demand far beyond the Bavarian State Painting Collections. In our natural sciences department, we apply the latest state-of-the-art imaging techniques and special technologies for material analysis - thus providing a wide range of information on the process of creation, the composition and conditions of a work of art.

Evaluation of an X-ray image for the Van Dyck research project by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Gaining Knowledge through Interdisciplinarity

The insights we gain serve not only to broaden and enrich conservation- and restoration-based, or art-technological and practical perspectives, but also art-historical ones. Interdisciplinary cooperation with art historians of the Bavarian State Painting Collections, for example in the context of inventory catalogue projects, generates a wealth of scientific insights.

Guided tour of the restoration of Sandro Botticelli's "Lamentation of Christ" in the Alte Pinakothek by Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner InstitutAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Sharing knowledge

The Doerner Institut sees it as its mission to sensitize society to the importance of the preservation of cultural heritage. To do so, the Institute not only shares its research in specialist publications, but also communicates its knowledge to a broad audience by way of exhibitions and events at the Bavarian State Painting Collections.

Credits: Story

Published on 11 October 2020, the 3rd European Day of Conservation-Restoration.

Concept & Text: Johanna Mocny, Heike Stege
Editing & Realization: Yvonne Hildwein, Max Westphal with the support of the Kulturkonsorten - Netzwerk für Kunst, Kultur, Wissenschaft und Kommunikation im digitalen Raum
Translation: Jennifer Leetsch

© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Doerner Institut

Visit the Website of the Doerner Institut

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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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