After more than fifteen years in Frankfurt am Main, Max Hollein is resigning as head of the Städel Museum, Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. As of 1 June 2016, Hollein will serve as director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), the largest public art institution in Northern California and, with 1.6 million visitors in 2014, the fourth most frequently visited museum in the U.S.
Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart, the chairman of the Städel Museum foundation, commented on Hollein’s decision as follows: “We hugely regret Max Hollein’s imminent departure. The Städel and Liebieghaus are thus losing one of their most successful and most visionary directors, who took both museums to entirely new dimensions – not least of all by way of expansions in terms of content and spatial facilities alike – while also substantially developing their educational mission. The Städel has rarely reached the degree of success it boasts today. That is a circumstance we owe especially to Max Hollein. We are infinitely grateful to him and wish him all the best and continued great success for his personal future. For us, a challenging search now begins for a suitable successor whose responsibility will once again comprise the directorship of all three institutions.”
Frankfurt’s mayor Peter Feldmann, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Schirn Kunsthalle, observed: “Max Hollein’s decision deserves our respect, even if we deeply regret it and his departure means a great loss to the German cultural world. With his untiring work, Max Hollein has made the institutions under his leadership – above all the Schirn – the most distinguished, most well-known and most exciting art institutions in Europe, and granted all the citizens of the region unforgettable encounters with art and culture. For this we are highly indebted to him.”
“For fifteen years, Max Hollein has played a decisive role in cultural life in Frankfurt, and contributed more than anyone else to carving out a firm place for Frankfurt as an important centre of culture on the international museum map. We thank Max Hollein for his exceedingly successful work. The Städel Museum, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and the Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection are all thriving; at all three institutions, the course has been set for a positive future. We would naturally have loved to keep such an accomplished museum director with us longer, but now we wish him and his family all the best for the new challenge in San Francisco”, stated Prof. Dr. Felix Semmelroth, the Deputy Mayor in Charge of Culture of the City of Frankfurt.
Born in Vienna in 1969, Hollein has been the director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt since 2001, and of the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung since January 2006. All three cultural institutions have developed substantially under his direction and are today among Europe’s most successful art institutions.
“To leave Frankfurt after more than fifteen years is a difficult decision for myself and my family. This city and its people have grown very dear to our hearts. Essentially, things could have just kept going on this way indefinitely at the Städel, the Schirn and the Liebieghaus: all three institutions are in the very best of shape and can look ahead to a very positive future. For me, it has been a huge pleasure to have the opportunity to develop and promote countless projects for these institutions and with their outstanding employees, being borne along in the process by a sheer unending wave of support from so many sides, as well as an outstanding cultural policy programme. Even if I’m afraid it can’t possibly as wonderful as this anywhere else, the time really was ripe for me to take new step and face a new challenge. The American west coast in general and San Francisco in particular represent one of the most interesting focal points of cultural diversity and economic dynamics, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco constitute a large encyclopaedic museum institution at the heart of this unparalleled development, in which I would like to take active part”, Max Hollein explained.
With their two branches, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) constitute the largest public art institution in the city of San Francisco and among the most prominent museums in California. The encyclopaedic collection of more than 128,000 works is divided up into seven departments and collection areas with emphases on American and European art. The FAMSF employ a staff of altogether 520, along with some 600 volunteers, and have one of the largest societies of friends in the U.S. with more than 100,000 members.