Opening of the art exhibition ©Photo: CES, Harvard University, 2024 © Pictures: Familienarchiv Kerkovius, Wendelstein 2024

Parallel Beginnings: Bundesbank teams up with Harvard University to open joint art exhibition

Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel opened the Parallel Beginnings art exhibition, a joint endeavour between the Bundesbank and Harvard University, in Boston. Until 31 May 2024, a total of 21 selected works from the Bundesbank’s art collection will be on display in the art gallery of the Center for European Studies (CES), paralleling works from the CES collection.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Mr Nagel explained that the Bundesbank’s art collection has a mandate to establish a dialogue. The works contributed by the Bundesbank are paintings by Karl-Otto Götz, Heinz Kreutz, Ida Kerkovius and Bernard Schultze. Kerkovius and Schultze are also prominently represented in the CES collection. It is this common ground in the collections that forms the basis for the joint exhibition, he said. With this exhibition, the organisers wish to draw parallels between the origins and composition of the two collections. 

Spirited engagement with art 

Even the Bundesbank’s early acquisitions demonstrated the Bundesbank’s desire for spirited engagement with post-war art, Mr Nagel said at the opening of the exhibition. Through interactions with art, it also wished to promote tolerance and openness, in particular. After some seven decades, [the Bundesbank’s art collection] provides an insight into developments in Germany’s art world since the 1950s. And it is presented in a variety of ways. In meeting rooms and offices as well as in the corridors of our buildings. To this day, staff can borrow works of art for their offices. This encourages employees and guests to discuss and debate art and society. Contemporary works are regularly being added to the Bundesbank’s art collection even now, Mr Nagel added. 

Exchange complemented by an artistic component

The Bundesbank and Harvard University in Boston have been in close contact for years. Just last year, Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman gave a lecture on central banks’ battle against inflation at the Bundesbank. In 2022, Mr Nagel visited the CES whilst on his trip to the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting in Washington and spoke on the ECB’s mandate to maintain price stability in the euro area. The joint exhibition at the CES marks the expansion of the institutions’ professional exchange into the realm of art.

The picture shows the following pieces by Ida Kerkovius from left to right: Two Figures (1958), Figures (before 1966), Horizontal Composition (before 1966), and Composition (1955). © Pictures: Familienarchiv Kerkovius, Wendelstein 2024