Goshka Macuga, Untitled 5 (Aby Warburg Photograph, April 1896), 2008

We are delighted that a sale of works by contemporary artists including Anselm Kiefer, Goshka Macuga, Cornelia Parker, Gerhard Richter and Edmund de Waal has raised over £170,000 for the Warburg Institute. Additionally, during the auction a current supporter donated another £100,000 for engagement with artists.

The sale has taken the Institute over its £14.5 million target for the Warburg Renaissance; and it launches a £1 million campaign to gather the resources needed for future programming, including residencies and commissions from contemporary artists, writers and thinkers.

After its completion in December 2023, the Warburg Renaissance project will create a more open and accessible building and allow the Institute to welcome in a wider audience with new spaces for events, exhibitions and digital experimentation. Plans include a 140-seat lecture theatre in the building’s central courtyard and the Institute’s first exhibition space, as well as improved facilities for books, scholars and artists. The renovation will realise the original vision of its founder, Aby Warburg, for a space in which display, discovery and debate are closely connected.

Sketched view of the new digital exhibition space, café/common room on the Ground Floor

Warburg Visionary Circle programming

The Warburg Institute has instituted a Visionary Circle of curatorial and creative leaders that will play a vital role to engage the Institute with contemporary culture through dynamic, multidisciplinary programming, including residencies, artists’ commissions and editions and special events and exhibitions.

The Visionary Circle’s first programming includes several initiatives:

  • As artist in residence during the building project, Paterson-Zevi artist Tereza Červeňová will use her unique approach to photography and photomontage to capture this important moment in the Institute’s history.
  • An upcoming exhibition at the Pinacoteca di Brera/Biblioteca Braidense in Milan, is devoted to Umberto Eco’s library and its debt to the Warburg Institute. It is called ‘The Idea of the Library’ and is co-curated by Warburg Institute Director Bill Sherman and Brera/Braidense Director James Bradburne. It runs from 4 May to 9 August 2022.
  • Artist Ugo Dossi will create a bronze drinking cup in the shape of Aby Warburg's profile. This sculpture will be awarded annually by the Warburg Institute and Visionary Circle to artists and academics who make an extraordinary contribution to Aby Warburg’s legacy.

The Warburg Institute has a unique role to play in the understanding of art and culture. The fact that it has survived and is thriving in London today is due to the inspiration and support of the many people who believe in the importance of images and ideas. It is a privilege to be part of that tradition and we are deeply grateful to all those who are helping to write the next chapters for the Institute.

Christopher Rossbach, Chair of The Warburg Institute Charitable Trust