• Joachim Baldauf, Waltraud Meier #1, Bayerische Staaatsoper Portrait Galerie, M√ľnchen 2013
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The new Portrait Gallery at the Bayerische Staatsoper

There are some new additions to the historic portrait gallery at the National Theatre: 21 selected illustrious singers from the last five decades who are or have been closely associated with the Bayerische Staatsoper have each been depicted by the same number of contemporary visual artists.

The “Ancestral Portrait Gallery” initially created in 1899 by Ernst von Possart, General Manager of the Residenztheater, has been looked after since 1963 by the Association of Friends of the National Theatre, which is also the partner and generous sponsor for the renewal of the gallery. There have only been a few new portraits since the 1960s; most recently, these were of Wolfgang Sawallisch and Sir Peter Jonas.The visual artists were chosen for the new portrait gallery by the art historian Eva Karcher. Over the last two years, the artists have been working in various formats and a wide range of media, from classic drawing and painting through photography and video to embroidery and encaustic art. The project has also been made possible by a large number of patrons, who have become “portrait sponsors”. The new works will be on display in the front building of the National Theatre, where they will form a fascinating dialogue with the historic portraits (including portraits by painters such as Franz von Lenbach and Franz von Stuck). 19 historic works will be stored in the Theatre Museum. The new portraits are not on loan; they will form part of the Bayerische Staatsoper’s collection and will be on permanent display here.