With the F.C. Gundlach Collection and the Falckenberg Collection, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg is able to draw from two of the largest private collections in Hamburg.

Two of the three branches were created based on these collections: the House of Photography with the F.C. Gundlach Collection, and the Falckenberg Collection located in former Phoenix factory building in Hamburg-Harburg.

The mission of the Deichtorhallen is to preserve and research these important collections and to present them to a broad audience. Thus, the two venues continually offer insights into the diversity and depth of the collections in a changing series of special exhibitions.


The Falckenberg Collection comprises more than 2200 works by 450 artists. Its focus is the art of the counterculture, which emerged after the Second World War as an uprising against the elites and the art establishment particularly in the United States and Germany. The collection has won several international awards and was voted among the top 200 collections in the world by the influential New York magazine ARTnews. It emphasizes unconventional thinkers and outsiders of the art world whose subversive, often ironic and even sarcastic or cynical views run counter to traditional notions of the good, the true, and the beautiful in representative art.

From early on, the collection has focused on works from the late 1970s and ’80s with artists such as Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, Jürgen Klauke, Astrid Klein, Albert Oehlen, and Franz West, which are juxtaposed with works by American artists from the same generation such as Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Paul McCarthy, and Richard Prince. Moving back in time, these positions have been augmented with works by the previous generation of progressive international artists such as Hanne Darboven, Öyvind Fahlström, Dieter Roth, and Paul Thek. A third area of the collection includes more recent positions of contemporary art.

With works by Monica Bonvicini, Andrea Fraser, Christian Jankowski, Sarah Lucas, Raymond Pettibon, Jason Rhoades, Daniel Richter, Christoph Schlingensief, Santiago Sierra, and Andreas Slominski, the collection offers a profound overview of German and international representatives of the counterculture of the 1980s and ’90s.

An important part of the 6000-square-meter exhibition space is dedicated to large-scale installations of multimedia art by artists such as John Bock, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mike Kelley, Jon Kessler, Jonathan Meese, Anna Oppermann, and Gregor Schneider. The basement level features a storage facility with some 400 works on sliding shelves.

Another focus of the collection is on photography with works by international artists such as Lewis Baltz, Victor Burgin, Sophie Calle, Larry Clark, Willliam Eggleston, Valie Export, Lee Friedlander, Martha Rosler, Martin Parr, and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Every year, two to three special exhibitions take place with works by artists who are not represented in the Falckenberg Collection, or from whom the collection only includes a few works. The Deichtorhallen Hamburg aims to continually present the collection in different contexts.


Harald Falckenberg (1943–2023) was a jurist, entrepreneur, proprietor of the respected publishing house for art theory Philo Fine Arts, and author of numerous publications on art. He first exhibited his art collection, which he began compiling in 1994, in a building by the airport. In 2001 the collection moved to the former Phoenix factory building in Hamburg-Harburg. The building was acquired by Harald Falckenberg in 2007 and was made available to the Deichtorhallen on permanent loan along with his collection in 2011.


The F.C. Gundlach Collection comprises some 17,000 works and is one of the most important private photography collections in Germany. Nearly 9000 works under the title »The Human Image in Photography« are currently on permanent loan to the House of Photography.

The permanent loan encompasses photographs under the heading »Art Photography around 1900,« including photographs by Baron Adolphe de Meyer and Edward Steichen. Fashion photography from the 1920s and ’30s is represented by Martin Badekow, Dr. Paul Wolff, Wols, Yva, Horst P. Horst, and George Hoyningen-Huene. In addition, in recent years there has been an increasing focus on the early days of photography with works by André Adolphe-Eugène Disderi, David Octavius Hill, and Robert Adamson. Fashion photography after the Second World War is also represented with extensive groups of works by important international photographers, including Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Irving Penn, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Hubs Flöter, and Regina Relang.

As a visualization of the zeitgeist, fashion photography always reflects the atmosphere of a time. Thus, the collection also includes photographers who go far beyond the genre of fashion photography and document ever-changing lifestyles in their work, such as Erwin Blumenfeld, Guy Bourdin, David LaChapelle, William Klein, Olaf Martens, and Fergus Greer.

Nude photography is also represented in the collection with works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Harry Callahan, George Platt-Lynes, and Wilhelm von Gloeden. In the field of documentary photography the collection includes works by Barbara Klemm, Peter Dammann, and Rolf Gillhausen. There are also works of street photography by Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden, Leon Levinstein, Robert Frank, and Lee Friedlander.


F.C. Gundlach (1926–2021) was a photographer, gallerist, collector, curator, and philanthropist. In September 2003 he founded the House of Photography as part of the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. Since then he has made his private collection available to the Deichtorhallen as a permanent loan.

Many of F.C. Gundlach’s own photographs in the fields of fashion and portrait photography have become icons and have found their way into museums and collections. In 2000 he established the F.C. Gundlach Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to promote photography as an artistic and socially important cultural good.