Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim turn artists into friends


RecklinghausenShe does not stop smiling. Ingrid Jochheim and her husband Thomas proudly walk through the house in Recklinghausen, showing one work of art after another. They are everywhere. In the garden, in the hall, in the study, in the kitchen, in the staircase – and of course in the living room.

Not everything is art, in the front yard is a piece of the Berlin Wall, at the dining table a colorful Asian wooden ship, which is reminiscent of a restaurant decoration – and it is. But here is so much art that it would not be surprising if the ship turned out to be the work of a promising young artist.

Among the artists whose works hang here on the wall, standing on the floor or in the showcase are Andy Warhol, Arne Quinze, Bernard Venet, Jan Fabre, Jonathan Meese or Tomas Saraceno. Preferred style: Pop Art or the Nouveaux Réalistes.

These new realists, such as Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein and Wolf Vostell, integrated randomly found everyday objects into their works. And then of course there are the many works by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009.

Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim belong to the scene of active private art collectors in Germany. In these circles, well-known art lovers such as Julia Stoschek, Sabine and Hasso Plattner or Reinhold Würth.

With a wink

Ben Vautier writes his picture messages.

(Photo: Macel Maffei for Handelsblatt)

How many collectors there are in Germany and how high the value of their collections is can hardly be said. Only a few go public. Worldwide, the art market in 2018 at 67.4 billion dollars, calculated the market researchers of Statista. This is the second highest value since 2006.

The Jochheims have bought and kept more than 600 works over the past 40 years. Even though Thomas Jochheim constantly follows auctions, browses through catalogs and knows pretty well what value each piece of art has: they do not want to sell it. The goal is to own, not to invest.

“Private art collections are a very important component of the art business,” says Bettina Ruhrberg, director of the Monk house museum in Goslar, which exhibited the first exhibition of the Jochheim Collection last year. “Private collections are also of great importance to public museums because they can not collect so much because of rising prices on the art market.”

For a while, private guest appearances in museums were critically eyed, as some of the houses feared becoming dependent on collectors, the director explains, but one slowly distances oneself from that. And finally, many public museums have come from private collections.

Surrounded by museums

There are other private collectors who own 4,000 or more works of art. In addition to their own other museums play and still have the warehouse full of art. They are ensnared by museum directors from all over the world. But the Jochheims are not concerned with the number of works. “We have a personal relationship with most artists,” explains Ingrid Jochheim. That's important to her. “We only buy what we like,” says her husband, emphasizing, “We bought Nouveau Réalisme and Pop Art when the artworks were not yet blue chips.”

Linked in longtime friendship

The artist Christo (right) with the collectors Thomas and Ingrid Jochheim in the Monk House Museum in Goslar.

(Photo: Mönchehaus Museum Goslar)

These artist friends include the packaging artist Christo. In 1995 they met for the first time four: Christo, his wife Jeanne-Claude, Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim. They would have liked each other directly, the art collector says, also because they have a similar love story. The couple owns 29 originals by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, including several special editions. The sub-collection is so extensive that from March 2020 in the Berlin Palais Populaire the German bank can be seen for five months.

With Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the Jochheims also dared to step into the public eye with their first museum exhibition at the Mönchehaus in Goslar. Around 5,000 visitors came to see the exhibition, which is neat for the town of 42,000 inhabitants.

A special relationship with Christ

Goslar has a special relationship with Christo, tells museum director Ruhrberg: As early as 1986, the American from Bulgaria was honored here with the Kaiserring, an award for renowned international artists. In addition, Christo exhibited his “Mastaba” in Hyde Park parallel to London, a sculpture made of 7,500 stacked oil barrels – this gave the exhibition in Goslar additional attention.

But that alone was not decisive: “The special thing about the collection is that it covers all work periods, starting in the 1960s,” says Ruhrberg. “The Jochheims are insanely passionate and committed collectors. They have a great affinity to the artists. “

Many objects, many charms

With the collector couple Jochheim the art stands in the living room, in the hallway, in the kitchen, in the staircase.

(Photo: Macel Maffei for Handelsblatt)

Thomas Jochheim, 69, has long been running pet food manufacturer Pitty, founded by his parents-in-law. In 2005, he passed the management. He has not bored since then, with zeal he travels with his wife, 66, around the world – from exhibition to trade fairs, from India to Italy. They are not home much. But when they are there, they live with their art.

As much as the Jochheims had lent their works of art to the museum, they were so happy when they returned home. “That's a bit like letting a child go,” says Thomas Jochheim. “We were really happy when they came back.”

Not only her house in Recklinghausen is filled with art right up to the roof, but also her apartment in Berlin. And they like to invite people to them to show them the art and discuss it with them.

More: The gallery Zink moved from Berlin to the Upper Palatinate. Now she uses Instagram to keep in touch with her clients.

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