Artworks always find their own place in our home. Gabriele Mallinckrodt

The open-hearted stance of Gabriele and Goswin Mallinckrodt has helped forge the careers of many young artists. Fully engaged in the Munich art scene, their home provides a unique and delightful insight into their private collection.

FAM: Did you start collecting as a couple or did one inspire the other to take it up?
Goswin: We started collecting separately and had quite different tastes. Over the years we have come to like the same things more and more, but we both still have some strong personal preferences. I initially focused on genre painting, in particular landscapes, and on work by the Frankfurt School and the Barbizon School, but soon shifted my focus to contemporary and emerging art, but also photorealism and figurative painting.
Gabriele: I am more drawn to cartoons, drawings, and fashion, artists like David Shrigley, Philip Guston, and Robert Montgomery and began to collect fashion prints—René Gruau, Mats Gustafson, Antonio Lopez, for instance—very early on which naturally helped me to develop a good understanding of fashion illustration. I find the intersections between fashion and visual art really interesting, for example Landscapes by Dries Van Noten and James Reeve, or the unforgettable collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Christophe Chemin! So whilst Goswin and I follow the same general line and understand each other’s tastes very well, we both still have our niches and hang our own personal favorites in our separate studies.

Painting on the right by Xenia Hausner, Take Five.

Do you remember the first artwork you ever bought?
Gabriele: The first artwork which really touched me deeply was I See the Ceiling from My Bed by Shusaku Arakawa. I will never forget how excited I was when I bought it in Munich in 1973 at a gallery called Art in Progress.
Goswin: A landscape of the Bavarian countryside painted by Matthias Padua struck me in 1974, when I saw it in his atelier. It reminded me of my childhood near the Bavarian mountains. The price was high for me, but I had just earned that amount of money by replacing a consultant surgeon in his clinic during his holidays.

There’s a very nice balance between photographs and paintings in your apartment. What’s the most important for you when it comes to buying art? Some collectors have a very clear overriding principle, such as it moves them or somehow speaks to them. Is this the same for you?
Gabriele: We always follow our feelings, which shows in the collection. Artworks find their own place in our home. Maybe that’s why it looks balanced.

Are there any interesting editions on your walls these days that you could show us?
Goswin: We currently have only one edition up—a piece by Sean Scully in our living room. The artist actually wanted the edition 5/5 to go to a public collection or a museum, but after assuring him that our interests were not commercial and that we had a “public” collection in a sense (many people, in particular young people, come visit our apartment), we were able to acquire the piece. We were fascinated by the continuation of his color plane painting in the form of magnified details which result in an entirely new image, paired with its perfect presentation in the gallery space.

Sean Scully, Art Horizon III. Images: © Juliane Spaete

Gabriele, how did you start teaching drawing lessons to young adults at Munich’s Pinakothek? Was it important for you to pass your artistic knowledge on to the younger generation or were you looking to learn something from your students too?
Gabriele: I thought it would be interesting to transmit the way that I would draw a masterpiece! We discuss techniques, details, and methods of drawing. To my great delight I always learn a lot from my students and their interpretations too.

Which art institutions in Munich are you members of?
Goswin: We are members of museums such as the Pinakothek, the Haus der Kunst, and the Kunstakademie and we regularly visit galleries in Munich as well as art fairs and auctions. We are also members of the Metropolitan Museum and MOMA in New York, amongst others.

Lightbox over sofa by Stephan Huber, Das Elternhaus im Schnee. Image: © Juliane Spaete

I am curious about the photographs in your living room. Is there a reason you have given this corner an Asian touch? Who is the artist? 
Gabriele: There is no particular reason for the Asian touch. We just immediately fell in love with Roland Fischer’s ZuZu—the piece dominated a show at a New York gallery. And Izima Kaorou’s photo series, How would you like to be found, when you are dead? also really stood out in the same gallery.

Roland Fischer’s ZuZu and Izima Kaorou’s How would you like to be found, when you are dead?. Images: © Juliane Spaete

We would love to hear about your experience of working with artists, can you tell us more about fostering relationships with artists?
Goswin: We generally meet at shows or get into contact with them on the recommendation of other artists, gallerists, professors, and sometimes simply discover them for ourselves. We might visit their studio, discuss their work and give feedback. We recommend them to others as much as possible and help them find ways of supporting themselves financially. Materials are sometimes expensive and living costs are also an issue.

What’s the idea behind the painted book covers in your library corner?
Gabriele: This young artist painted the titles of world literature classics that left a lasting impression on him on canvases in the shape of books, designing them in different colors. The work as a whole consists of 12 parts, we first hung it on the wall in rows of 3 by 4. Now they have been incorporated into the library. Visitors often find titles that they have read themselves and reflect on their own reactions towards the artistic design of the content. It is a piece that invariably sparks interesting conversations.

Rainer Maria Rilke Les Roses and David Shrigley's The Hand, a gift from the artist. Images: © Juliane Spaete

Living next to the Academy of the Arts, does this have an influence on you as collectors to support and follow young artists in their careers?
Goswin: To have the academy and all the activities, discussions, and exchanges with lecturers and students that go with it around the corner is very inspiring, yes.

Is there an artist you have an eye on right now?
Goswin: Not in particular but two come to mind however—Ivan Schmidt from Ukraine, a graduate of the academy with great potential and drive. And a wonderful painter from Shanghai, Zhenya Li.

Xenia Hausner's portrait of Goswin Mallinckrodt. Image: © Juliane Spaete

Goswin, your self-portrait looks much more serious than you actually seem to appear in real life. What is the story behind this painting?
Goswin: I found Xenia Hausner’s work very compelling and asked her if she would consider painting my portrait. Two years later we finally got around to doing it. It is supposed to depict me during a consultation in my plastic surgery office. Gabriele likes the concentrated, diagnostic look I have in the piece!

Interview by Juliane Spaete