Oral history project Voices

Since 2015, the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation has been researching the history of the Ludwig Collection in this project. The goal is to identify and activate potential for current and future research.

To this end, Regina Wyrwoll, a long-standing member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees (2012 – 2023), conducted intensive and detailed interviews with contemporary witnesses of the collector couple’s activities. Sixty museum directors, gallerists, artists, friends, employees, and companions talked about their experiences with Irene and Peter Ludwig and the genesis and development of their collection. It becomes clear what challenges the Ludwigs encountered in building a collection of more than 14,000 works and taking it around the world.

In addition to our archive, these interviews are an important source for understanding the genesis and development of the collection and the motivations of the collectors. 

14 interviews with a focus on the international activities of the collectors were published in May 2023 by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König.

Our archive team — Benjamin Dodenhoff, Susann Geiermann and Julius Redzinski — is currently working on the topic of the Ludwig’s Collection of art from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Interviews with contemporary witnesses about the Ludwigs’ activities in the GDR and their commitment to the art scene are one important strand of research. The other strand of research is the archival material on the subject. The goal is to present the results of this research to the public in June 2025.