Hartwig Fischer

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Hartwig Fischer
Born (1962-12-14) 14 December 1962 (age 55)
Hamburg, West Germany
Nationality German
Alma mater Munich University of Applied Sciences
University of Bonn
Occupation Art historian
Known for Director of the British Museum
Predecessor Neil MacGregor

Hartwig Fischer (born 14 December 1962) is a German art historian and museum director. Since April 2016, he has been director of the British Museum, the first non-British head of the museum since 1866, from 2012 to 2016, he was director of the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).

Early life and education[edit]

Fischer was born on 14 December 1962 in Hamburg, West Germany,[1] his father came from Mecklenburg. As a child, Fischer glimpsed the art galleries while visiting relatives farther to the south, in Dresden in the then (from 1949 until 1989) separate East German state.[2] He undertook postgraduate research on Hermann Prell,[3] for which he received a doctorate degree from the University of Bonn (Universität Bonn) in 1994.[4] He is fluent in German, French, Italian and English.[5]


Fischer began his career at the Kunstmuseum Basel, an art museum in Basel, Switzerland. There, between 2001 and 2006, he was curator of 19th-century and modern art,[1] he became director of the Museum Folkwang in Essen in 2006 where he presided over a period of expansion.[6][7] In December 2011, he was appointed director of the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).[4] Subsequently, he succeeded Martin Roth, after Roth left to take charge at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.[8]

On 25 September 2015, the trustees of the British Museum announced that Fischer would be the museum's next director.[9][10] He is the first non-British head of the museum since the Italian Sir Anthony Panizzi stood down in 1866,[11] he took up the appointment on 4 May 2016.[1][12]

Selected works[edit]

  • Fischer, Hartwig; Rainbird, Sean, eds. (2006). Kandinsky: The path to abstraction. London: Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1854376770. 
  • Fischer, Hartwig (2013). Georg Baselitz: Hintergrundgeschichten (in German). München: Hirmer. ISBN 978-3777421667. 
  • Fischer, Hartwig (2014). Bernhard Maaz: Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister Dresden (in German). Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig. ISBN 978-3863356125. 


  1. ^ a b c "Hartwig Fischer Appointed as Director of the British Museum". British Museum. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  2. ^ German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse-Agentur / DPA) (30 September 2015). "Museumschef Hartwig Fischer im Porträt: Leiser Intellektueller und Workaholic für die Kunst". Monopol – Magazin für Kunst und Leben. Juno Kunstverlag GmbH, Berlin. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Simona Block (29 September 2015). "Hartwig Fischer: Leiser Intellektueller". Volksstimme, Magdeburg. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Shea, Christopher D. (25 September 2015). "Hartwig Fischer to Lead British Museum". NY Times. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Hartwig Fischer at the British Museum: On a mission: The new head of the British Museum wants museums to take a stand". The Economist. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Dirk Aschendorf (interviewer); Hartwig Fischer (interviewee) (2 May 2012). "Scheidender Folkwang-Direktor Hartwig Fischer besorgt über Zukunft des Museums". Funke Medien NRW GmbH, Essen. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Museum Folkwang / David Chipperfield". ArchDaily. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Hartwig Fischer neuer Chef der Kunstsammlungen Dresden". Sächsische Zeitung GmbH, Dresden. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "German art historian to become first foreign director of British Museum". The Guardian. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Rigby, Elizabeth; Malvern, Jack (25 September 2015). "German put in charge of British Museum's treasures". The Times. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "German art historian 'to run British Museum'". BBC News. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Jones, Jonathan (1 April 2016). "British Museum's new director brings lessons of German history". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 

Further reading[edit]