Special exhibitions in the Museumsinsel museums in Berlin in 2022 include Gauguin, David Hockney, Schadow, and Schliemann.
The various collection on Berlin’s Museumsinsel (Museums Island) will be enhanced by further temporary exhibitions in 2022. The most famous international artists are Paul Gauguin and David Hockney but local artist Johann Gottfried Schadow played a major role in the development of German sculpture in the 18th century. The Neues Museum will have two exhibitions on the early foundations of the magnificent archaeological collections of the Berlin State Museums: the Prussian expedition to the Nile in the 1840s and the life of Schliemann, the merchant amateur classicist who discovered Troy. Time-slot reservations are essential for most museums (and sometimes separately for special exhibitions too. Buy museum tickets online in advance from Tiqets, Get Your Guide, or SMB.
Special Art Exhibition on Museum Island Berlin in 2022
Some of the special art exhibitions in the various museum buildings on Berlin’s Museumsinsel in 2022 include:
Paul Gauguin – Why Are You Angry?
25 March – 10 July 2022 in the Alte Nationalgalerie
Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was one of the central trailblazers of modern art, and his most famous paintings were produced on the Pacific island of Tahiti between 1891 and 1901. Gauguin left the art capital of Paris in 1891 to embark on a spiritual and artistic journey to French Polynesia, where, apart from one interlude, he lived until his death in 1903.
It was in this period that Gauguin created one of his major works, the painting Tahitian Fisherwomen (1891) from the Nationalgalerie’s collection. The exhibition at Alte Nationalgalerie looks at Gauguin’s oeuvre — which was also shaped by Western, colonial ideas of the “exotic” and the “erotic” — and presents the works within the context of their historical influences and today’s postcolonial debates, as well as juxtaposing them with the work of contemporary artists.
Paul Gauguin – Why Are You Angry? — A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, in collaboration with Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
David Hockney. Four Seasons
9 April – 24 July 2022 in the
Bode Museum moved to Gemäldegalerie in Kulturforum
David Hockney (born 1937) is considered one of the most influential contemporary artists. With the seasonal series Three Trees near Thixendale from his most recent body of work, the painter turns away from the glowing Californian sun and towards the atmospheric seasonal changes of nature in Britain, where he is originally from.
Each of the large-format landscape paintings from the series shows a group of trees during the four seasons and reveals his engagement with the art of previous centuries. To explore this further, the exhibition will present Hockney’s paintings alongside selected depictions of landscapes from the Kupferstichkabinett and the Alte Nationalgalerie. The most exciting of these works is Landscape with Arched Bridge (“Landschaft mit Bogenbrücke”) is a rediscovered Rembrandt van Rijn painting.
In this juxtaposition, the analogies and parallels between Hockey’s work and the works of artists who inspired him become evident. We see the sources behind Hockney’s materials and techniques, as well as the landscape arrangements, perspectives, and moods that he incorporated into his own compositions.
Johann Gottfried Schadow. Moving Forms
21 October 2022 – 19 February 2023 in the Alte Nationalgalerie
Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764–1850), known as the “father of the Berlin school of sculpture”, played a key role in the development of sculpture in Germany and helped to shape the ideas behind European classicism. His depiction of Luise and Friederike, princesses of Prussia, and the Quadriga from the Brandenburg Gate from 1793 have been key symbols of their era ever since they were created.
The Alte Nationalgalerie is home to the largest collection of Schadow’s sculptural works anywhere in the world, and was the initiator of the last major retrospective on his work, almost 30 years ago. Since then, a great deal has been revealed about the work of Johann Gottfried Schadow. Not only that, but thanks in particular to the large-scale restoration project of the plaster original of the Princess Group in the collection of the Nationalgalerie, new discoveries have also been made about the sculptor’s workshop and his working methods, all of which will be on display for the first time in this exhibition.
Johann Gottfried Schadow. Berührende Formen — A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Special Exhibitions in the Neues Museum in Berlin 2022
The Neues Museum houses foremost the Egyptian Collection and covers Pre- and Early History. Two special exhibitions in 2022 focus on the early collectors and acquisitions for the museum collections:
13 May – 6 November 2022 in the James-Simon-Galerie + Neues Museum
The Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte is holding a major special exhibition on Heinrich Schliemann (1822–1890), to commemorate the bi-centenary of his birth. Schliemann is best known as the man who discovered Troy, but he was much more than that. He was a merchant in St Petersburg, a globetrotter and a writer, too. His life is like an odyssey on the way to his true passion.
This exhibition will focus on a side to Schliemann that has never been revealed before and take a look at who he was before he turned to archaeology, leading a life full of adventure that took him right around the globe. In his early forties and then a successful merchant, Schliemann started to study Homer’s epics and classical writers in great detail. He visited ancient sites in Greece and Turkey and located the earliest civilization in Europe.
The James-Simon-Galerie and the Neues Museum will mount a special exhibition, presenting the results of Schliemann’s archaeological excavations — including spectacular finds from the royal tombs in Mycenae and the Collection of Trojan Antiquities.
SchliemannsWelten — A special exhibition of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Adventures on the Nile. Prussia and Egyptology 1842–45
2 September 2022 – 7 March 2023 in the Neues Museum
One hundred and eighty years ago, the Royal Prussian Expedition team set out on an adventurous journey across vast areas of present-day Egypt and Sudan. To mark this anniversary, the Ägyptisches Museum is holding an exhibition that frames this state-funded, large-scale scientific enterprise as the 19th-century creation that it was.
This exhibition will explore the way that teamwork helped to make the expedition such a success and look at the lasting impact that this trip had on the field of Egyptology. It will present old museum holdings and archive materials from various Berlin institutions against the backdrop of new research findings, show what everyday life was like for those on the expedition, as well as provide information about their working methods in the field.
Abenteuer am Nil. Preußen und die Ägyptologie 1842-45 — A special exhibition of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in collaboration with the Berlin Branden-burgische Akademie der Wissenschaften – Projektarchiv Altägyptisches Wörterbuch and the Ernst-Litfaß-Schule – OSZ Mediengestaltung und Medientechnologie.
The Neues Museum has a fine Egyptian display but arguably the most surprising Egyptian collection in Germany is in the Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim, a small city in Lower Saxony more famous for its fantastic half-timbered buildings and UNESCO-listed Romanesque churches.
More on the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin):
Note: Most Berlin museums and similar sights are open in 2024. Timeslot reservations are essential for only the Neues Museum but sensible (and possibly essential in busy periods!) for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, and Pergamon – Das Panorama. (The Pergamon Museum itself is closed until 2027!). Timeslots are released only around four weeks in advance. Tickets are available from GetYourGuide, which seems to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out. Many passes and multi-museum tickets are again available (Kulturforum / Museums Island). Individual museum ticket prices range from €6 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code but pick up free audioguides first.
For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:
- Top National Museums and Galleries in Berlin (brief overview)
- Berlin State Museums: What Is Seen Where? (a short description of the collections in the different museums)
- Opening Hours of Berlin State Museums (2024).
- Ticket Prices for Berlin State Museums (prices for museums, temporary exhibitions, combination tickets, online time-slot reservations). Buying online from GetYourGuide is a lot simpler and costs the same as the official museum website. Timeslot reservations are essential for the most popular museums!
- Save with the Berlin Museum Pass – 30 museums (including all the SMB museums) in three days for €32 – a fantastic savings deal.
- Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (official website in German & English).
News & Temporary Exhibitions:
- 2024: Overview of Top Berlin Exhibitions in 2024, Caspar David Friedrich in the Alte Nationalgalerie (tickets are selling out fast!), Frans Hals in the Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie (20th-century art) Hamburger Bahnhof Contemporary Art, Kupferstichkabinett (Prints and Drawings), and Photography Museum.
- Museums closed in 2024: The Pergamon Museum is closed until 2027 (some sculptures are on display in Das Panorama), the Museum Berggruen is closed until 2025 (much of its collection is traveling the world), the permanent collection of the German History Museum (Zeughaus) is closed but temporary exhibitions continue in the Pei Building.
More Museum Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:
- Alte Nationalgalerie with Caspar David Friedrich paintings (2024 special exhibition).
- Altes Museum with Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art.
- Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldtforum.
- Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (free admission) with a collection of 19th-century German sculptures.
- Gemäldegalerie with its collection of German and Dutch Old Masters and Italian paintings.
- Kunstgewerbemuseum (Decorative Arts).
- Musical Instruments Museum near the Berliner Philharmonie.
- Neue Nationalgalerie — 20th-century art.
- Neues Museum with bust of Nefertiti.
- Pergamon Museum with Ishtar Gate — the whole Pergamonmuseum is closed from October 2023 until 2027. Some Greek sculptures are shown in the
- Pergamon Museum Panorama Exhibition with Asisi panoramic painting and Greek statues.
- Photography — Helmut Newton collection and historic photos.
Previous Temporary Exhibitions:
- 2023: Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2023 — overview, in the Kulturforum, in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museum Island, and the Museum of Photography.
- 2022: Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2022 — overview, in the Kulturforum (David Hockney), in the Neue Nationalgalerie, on Museumsinsel, Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art, and the Museum of Photography.
- 2021: Top Special Temporary Exhibitions in 2021 — including the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie, as well as the Ethnological and Asian Art Museums in the Humboldt Forum.
- 2020: Highlights, in Kulturforum, on Museum Island, in the Hamburger Bahnhof, smaller museums, and the opening of the Humboldt Forum.