A Collector’s Fortune. Islamic Art Masterpieces of the Keir Collection

Known around the world as the ‘Keir Collection’, Edmund de Unger’s collection of Islamic art will, over the coming years, enrich works belonging to the National Museums in Berlin’s Museum of Islamic Art as a group loan. The Keir Collection comprises works from nearly all periods and artistic styles from the core Islamic countries around the Mediterranean, from Iran and Central Asia.

Brocades and carpets, early medieval bronzes, exquisite rock crystal objects, priceless calligraphies, miniatures and elaborately adorned bookbindings all feature in the loan. One of its most striking attributes are its ceramics dating from all periods – one good reason alone for the world renown of this private collection. One-hundred-and-twelve of the 1500 works in total from various genres of art and decorative art are already in Berlin as a ‘foretaste’ of things to come, with the remainder due to follow at a later date. On 17 March this foretoken selection will go on show in the Pergamonmuseum in an exhibition entitled ‘Sammlerglück/A Collector’s Fortune’ and will give visitors an insight into the world of collectors and collecting: from where do the objects originate, what makes people collect Islamic art? What does the collector see in his collection and how is the value of the objects determined on the art market?

Spread over three rooms, the world of the collector, the individual biography of certain objects and the overall collection itself are all laid bare to the visitor. Among the many pieces on display are rare, exquisite rock crystal objects, the production of which enjoyed its heyday during the rule of the Fatimids in Egypt (969–1171) and subsequently found its way to Europe, where such objects were used as reliquaries in churches. We hope that the rock crystal’s splendour will also entice you to enter into and discover the world of the collector in our exhibition.

Photo: © Museum für Islamische Kunst; Foto: Dietmar Katz

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