Warburg Renaissance project to be supported by Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung

Thursday 11 April 2019

In an important step towards the redevelopment of the Warburg Institute building on Woburn Square, the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung provided a generous lead donation of £1m for the visionary Warburg Renaissance project.

The extensive plans for the redevelopment of the Warburg Institute will revive and extend Aby Warburg’s vision to shape the future of cultural memory and complete architect Charles Holden’s unfinished 1950s building in the heart of Bloomsbury.

The donation from the Hamburg foundation is a significant first step towards the fundraising target for the institute, as well as the University of London and the Warburg Charitable Trust. Professor Bill Sherman, director of the Warburg Institute, believes it can be the catalyst for the institute’s ambitious development plans:

“The gift will not only help us to reimagine the Warburg Institute in London for the next generation, but it will reconnect us with our roots in Hamburg at a time when Anglo-German partnerships are more important than ever.”

The large-scale project aims to create new spaces and programmes, which will allow the institute to: 

  • offer its expertise to new audiences 
  • host artists, curators, writers and translators in residence 
  • serve as a laboratory for experimental exhibitions 
  • provide a haven for exiled, itinerant and visiting scholars 
  • connect with leaders in digital technology to share collections and explore the ways in which Aby Warburg anticipated the digital age

The donation was announced by the Warburg Charitable Trust at a special event on 27 March that welcomed members of the extended Warburg family as well as esteemed guests and supporters to the institute. The occasion was the biggest gathering of the family since the early 1990s with 26 members from six different countries in attendance. The historic moment for the institute coincided with the launch of the Warburg Family Circle in support of the Warburg Renaissance.

Bernhard Reemtsma, chairman of the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation, is excited about the potential of the Warburg Renaissance to build on Aby Warburg’s vision, commenting:

“Aby Warburg’s legacy is much more than memory. It is vitally alive and we can still learn from his ideas. The Warburg Institute connects Warburg’s intuitive cognition to our present and future.”

The next two years will see the Warburg Institute and the Warburg Charitable Trust increase development efforts to secure the support needed to deliver the ambitious programme. To find out more about the project, and how you can support it, please visit https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/support

Notes for editors

  1. The Warburg Institute is one of the world’s leading centres for studying the interaction of ideas, images and society. It is dedicated to the survival and transmission of culture across time and space, with a special emphasis on the afterlife of antiquity. Its open-stack Library, Photographic Collection and Archive serve as an engine for interdisciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and a prestigious events and publication programme. Find out more at https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/. Twitter: @Warburg_News
  2. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled resources, facilities and academic opportunities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. Last year SAS welcomed 892 research fellows and associates, held 1,903 events highlighting the latest research in the humanities, received 25.9 million online visits to its research resources and platforms, and hosted 173,493 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads Being Human, the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities. Find out more at www.sas.ac.uk or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.
  3. The Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung is a private and non-profit foundation based in Hamburg. It supports cultural and social projects in Northern and East Germany, occasionally in Poland and England. The foundation is a funding partner for institutions and initiatives that preserve cultural heritage and make it accessible to the public. A special emphasis lies on building culture and museum collections. Furthermore the foundation works in the fields of family and youth welfare as well as the care for the sick and disabled. It focuses on supporting people to help themselves and on strengthening initiative, entrepreneurial thinking and public spirit. http://www.hermann-reemtsma-stiftung.de
  4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. It consists of 17 independent member institutions of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at http://www.london.ac.uk