Koelnmesse and the Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien und Kunsthändler (German association of galleries and art dealers) are pleased to announce Christian Kaspar Schwarm, the founder of Independent Collectors, as the winner of the ART COLOGNE Prize 2019
This year the ART COLOGNE Prize honours an individual who has been successfully building a network of an international community of contemporary art collectors for over a decade. Together with several partners, Christian Kaspar Schwarm founded the Independent Collectors online platform in 2008 in Berlin. Today it represents nearly 7,000 international collectors from more than 100 countries. Passionate about contemporary art, these collectors are indispensable to a vital art scene. The online platform is available at no charge to all those interested in art.
"The picture of the collector as a competition-oriented and mysterious lone wolf is antiquated," says Schwarm. The initial concept of a protected online community, accessible only for registered collector members, has over time become increasingly open, and is today freely accessible. In the meantime, Schwarm sees the future task of his platform as "becoming an extremely lively archive for the diverse activities of the best private art collections of the world." For Schwarm, commercial interests shouldn't disrupt the long-term character of this important task.
"Independent Collectors was, is, and remains, free for all art enthusiasts. We do not sell collectors any works nor art dealers any data. We have no hidden agenda, only the shared, but always individual, passion for art." Powered by idealism, the platform is now considered a treasure trove of exceptional photographs, texts and interviews, providing insight into private art collections, including those that would otherwise keep their doors closed.
The first BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors appeared in 2012 in cooperation with the Bavarian car maker from the Hatje Cantz publishing house. The extremely useful print directory lists and describes the world's most important, publicly accessible art collections. The fifth, updated, and expanded edition of the Art Guide appeared recently, with information on a total of 270 locations in 45 countries and 196 cities.
Christian Kaspar Schwarm was invited in 2017 by the Weserburg Museum in Bremen to exhibit his collection within the context of the Young Collections project. Under the title, The Vague Space, works by international artists who, as unorthodox socio-political thinkers, perform a balancing act with a sensual and impressive formal language, were shown. Schwarm, who is interested in the realm beyond hype, was primarily concerned with understanding the motivation, the formation, and the effect of individual collecting in itself with regard to the exhibition concept. He doesn't conceive of himself merely as a buyer, but instead as a companion that wants to be challenged in terms of content.
Christian Kaspar Schwarm is an original, curious, intellectually flexible, and politically interested collector with a social conscience. For the past two years, he has volunteered on the board of the Berlin-based Karuna e.V. association, which strives for a better "future for children and youth in need".
Several prominent art collectors have been awarded the ART COLOGNE Prize for exceptional efforts in art mediation . Their common denominator has always been to establish a public for personal perspectives on contemporary art through a variety of activities. These collectors include Charlotte Zander (1997), Ingvild Goetz (2001), Frieder Burda (2002), Harald Falckenberg (2009), and Julia Stoschek (2018), all of whom have received the 10,000 prize.The award ceremony for this year's ART COLOGNE Prize will take place on April 11, 2019 in the Historic Town Hall in Cologne. Wilhelm Schürmann will give the laudatory speech for Christian Kaspar Schwarm.