His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, visited the Museum Ludwig in Cologne on Thursday which houses an extensive collection of modern art. This trip was part of his interest in enhancing cultural relations between Sharjah and cultural institutions around the world. Sheikh Sultan visited the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne (Historisches Archiv der Stadt Koln), the oldest and largest municipal archive in Europe. Sheikh Sultan toured the historical building where the rich archival holdings include 65,000 original documents dating from 922 AD to the present, 26,000 linear meters of records, 104,000 maps and plans, 50,000 posters, 800 estates, 500,000 photos and videos, literary remains and other special collections. Part of the precious cultural assets was lost when the old building of the archive collapsed in March 2009. Sheikh Sultan toured the Museum Ludwig which houses an extensive collection of Russian avant-garde paintings from early twentieth century and large collections representing the most contemporary art trends. These include the most comprehensive collection of American Pop Art outside of the US, as well as the third largest Pablo Picasso collection worldwide, after Barcelona and Paris. Sheikh Sultan was accompanied during the tour by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairwoman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), UAE Ambassador to Germany, Juma Mubarak Al Jenaibi, sheikhs and officials. Briefing the Ruler of Sharjah and his companions on the history of one of the leading museums of modern and contemporary art in Europe, the curators explained that in 1976 Peter and Irene Ludwig (the institution's namesakes) and the City of Cologne signed a donation contract founding the Museum Ludwig whereby the couple donated 350 works of modern art while the City of Cologne in turn erected an independent "Museum Ludwig” for these objects created after 1900. Conceived by the Cologne architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer, the "double museum, which housed both the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the Museum Ludwig, opened in 1986. In 1994 it was decided to divide the two institutions. Since then, the building on the Bischofgartenstrasse has housed solely the Museum Ludwig. Cologne (Koln in German) is a major cultural centre for the Rhineland and an internationally renowned cultural metropolis boasting 36 museums and more than 100 art galleries. Whether municipal, ecclesiastical, company-owned, or private museum, the wide array of exhibits ranges from Roman, medieval, non-European to contemporary art. The first inventory of the archive was performed in 1409. During the tour, Bettina Schmidt-Czaia, Director Historical Archive of the City of Cologne, briefed Sheikh Sultan and his companions on the history of the institution. Sheikh Sultan also viewed the on-going process of digitising the contents of the archive where experts are creating digital copies of the historical documents for ease of use and protection. Cologne (Koln in German) is a major cultural centre for the Rhineland and an internationally renowned cultural metropolis boasting 36 museums and more than 100 art galleries. Whether municipal, ecclesiastical, company-owned, or private museum, the wide array of exhibits ranges from Roman, medieval, non-European to contemporary art.
Source: The Gulf Today