Berlin art dealer and collector Heiner Bastian announced yesterday that he cannot give up the David Chipperfield-designed building that he promised to give as a gift to the state of Berlin this year.
“It is impossible to part with this wonderful house,” Bastian told artnet News. “Our emotional turmoil was so strong.”
The “Haus Bastian” was supposed to be transferred to the state this summer, based on a promise made in October 2016. It was slated to be turned into a Center for Cultural Education and Mediation of the Berlin State Museums in 2018, according to a press release from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK).
“It was very late but [the SPK] seem to understand,” Bastian said. “The closer we came to signing the contract, the more we experienced the emotional connection.”
Located across from Berlin’s Museum Island, the four-story, 21,500-square-foot building houses Galerie Bastian—founded by Heiner and his wife Céline, but taken over by their son Aeneas in July 2016—and a private apartment for the family. It also is home to Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery, which, however, still plans to move out at the end of May, and now has two floors in its Charlottenburg space, across town.
The Haus Bastian was commissioned from David Chipperfield Architects after the family staged an international competition. The gallery opened in 2007 with an exhibition of work by Damien Hirst.
When the Bastians first announced the gift, the SPK was thrilled. “Receiving such a generous gift is a rare event,” said SPK president Hermann Parzinger, according to the gallery’s website.
“It is a highly personal, an emotional decision…it is a declaration of admiration to the Museum Island, which whole-heartedly delights us.”
In the end, the decision proved too emotional, and for now, the Bastians will continue to live in their beloved house.
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