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New State Gallery Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Germany
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The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (State Gallery) is an art gallery and art museum in Stuttgart, Germany, opened in 1843. In 1984 the opening of the Neue Staatsgalerie (New State Gallery) designed by James Stirling (1977-1983) transformed the once provincial gallery to one of Europe's leading museums. The Neue Staatsgalerie, a controversial architectural design by James Stirling, opened on March 9, 1984 on a site right next to the old building. It houses a collection of 20th century modern art - from Pablo Picasso to Oskar Schlemmer, Joan Miro and Joseph Beuys. It consists of a new gallery extension, chamber theater and music school. A feature of the site is a pedestrian walk diagonally across the property to be incorporated in the plan without jeopardizing building security. The design was not well-received in the German press. It was disturbing because it was not a classically modernist design. As it developed, it was recognized that James Stirling had brought off a project which reinterpreted the past in a brilliant new way. It has become a great public success. The complexity of the project, and its references to existing buildings both old and new reward close study. For instance, not far away from the site is the Weissenhofsiedlung, with buildings by Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and J. J. P. Oud. A hint of this may be found in one elevation of the building, at the rear of the chamber theater. The more obvious source is the reinterpretation of the classical museum such as Shinkel's Altes Museum in Berlin (1824), but in the Stuttgart building, the central domed rotunda is replaced with the open air circular court, a true public space.