Anna Polke-Stiftung+49 (0) 221


The Anna Polke Foundation, founded in 2018, is a non-profit foundation based in Cologne. Its main task is to encourage people to engage with the work of Sigmar Polke, who died in Cologne in 2010 and still today is one of the most influential contemporary artists. As the artist’s daughter, the founder Anna Polke aims to keep alive her father’s work and to invite academics and scholars to do research on Sigmar Polke’s oeuvre. To this end, starting in 2019 the foundation is granting scholarships for academic research projects that open up new perspectives on Polke’s work. The foundation's archive is available for research purposes. Furthermore, the foundation organizes symposia, exhibitions, publications, and an oral art history project. By supporting external projects and carrying out its own projects, the Anna Polke Foundation is involved in research, art, culture, and education, and, in the spirit of Sigmar Polke, intends to make a contribution to cultural life extending beyond the artist’s life and that of the founder.


Anna Polke was born on 22 June 1964, four years after her brother Georg, as the second child of Karin and Sigmar Polke. Shortly after her birth her family moved into a flat on Kirchfeldstraße in Düsseldorf, in which family life, the artist’s studio, and a vibrant exchange with artist colleagues and collaborators merged. After Karin and Sigmar Polke separated, Anna lived with her mother and her brother Georg in Berlin. She studied acting at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Hamburg. After working at the Staatstheater Darmstadt and the Hamburger Schauspielhaus, she has since 1992 performed at Theater Oberhausen, where she received the audience prize twice and in 2018 was awarded the Jury First Prize for her role in Das dritte Leben des Fritz Giga. In addition, she is active as a photographer and filmmaker and has shown her work in various exhibitions.


Nicole Ruppert

Managing Director and Head of Administration

Nicole Ruppert studied German language and literature and history at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her career path led from the cultural office of the city of Wolfsburg, to the Empore theatre in Buchholz in der Nordheide, to a post as the Commercial Manager of the Estate of Sigmar Polke. In her many years as a cultural manager, she has conceived and carried out countless events.

Sophia Stang

Managing Director and Head of Research
Scholarships, publications and academic events

Sophia Stang studied art history, German philology, as well as culture, communications, and management in Münster and Berlin. She has previously held positions such as at the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, the Estate of Sigmar Polke in Cologne, and as a research assistant at the Chair for Art History at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena under Prof. Dr. Verena Krieger within the framework of a research project sponsored by the German Research Association, DFG. She is doing her doctorate, also in Jena, on Giorgio de Chirico’s art-theoretical and autobiographical writings in the context of the magazine Valori Plastici.

Dr. Kathrin Barutzki

Project Manager
Public programmes and curatorial projects

Kathrin Barutzki studied art history, German language and literature, and modern history in Cologne, Bonn and Rome. After finishing her studies in 2011, she worked among others at the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, for the Estate of Sigmar Polke, as a freelance author and curator, and as a lecturer at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She completed her doctorate at the Universität zu Köln on the subject of photographic strategies and multiple exhibition concepts in art around 1970.

Nelly Gawellek

Project Manager
Oral art history and communications, artistic project

Nelly Gawellek studied art history and general rhetoric in Tübingen. After finishing her studies in 2011, she worked as a gallery director in Cologne and Berlin and a research associate for the Estate of Sigmar Polke in Cologne, among others. She is also a freelance author and curator focussing on current artistic positions and is a board member of And She Was Like: BÄM! e.V, a feminist network for arts and design.

Dr. Silke Röckelein

Research Associate
Archives and library

Silke Röckelein studied art history and modern German literature and media studies in Marburg and Poitiers and completed her doctorate at the University of Frankfurt am Main. She has worked for the Digital Art and Culture Archive, Düsseldorf, and the German Digital Library, among others. She works also as a research assistant in the Collections and Archives department of the Insel Hombroich Foundation, Neuss, since 2013.


The foundation has two bodies: the Management Board and the Board of Trustees. The Management Board represents the foundation in and out of court. The Board of Trustees supports and advises the Management Board in matters pertaining to the fulfilment of its tasks.

Management Board

ANNA POLKE, founder

Board of Trustees

Jacqueline Burckhardt

Jacqueline Burckhardt is an art historian and curator. Before studying art history in Zurich, where she completed her doctorate, she received training as a conservator at Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome. She was the cofounder and editor of the magazine Parkett (Zurich/New York), published between 1984 and 2017. Jacqueline Burckhardt taught at the Accademia di Architettura – Università della Svizzera italiana and from 2008 to 2016 was the director of the Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. From 2006 to 2009 she curated Sigmar Polke’s stained-glass -window project in Grossmünster Zürich and from 2006 to 2015 site-specific art at Novartis Campus in Basel.

Bice Curiger

Bice Curiger is an art historian and curator. She has been the artistic director of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles since 2013. She was cofounder and editor-in-chief of Parkett, a book series on contemporary art that was published from 1984 to 2017 in English and German in Zurich and New York. From 1993 to 2013 she was a curator at Kunsthaus Zürich and in 2011 the director of the 54th Biennale di Venezia. She has published numerous books, catalogues and essays on contemporary art. The first of many essays she wrote on Sigmar Polke was published in 1977, and she subsequently organized a number of exhibitions that were devoted to his work or included works by the artist in a thematic context.

Carola de Decker

Carola de Decker is a lawyer. For quite some time art has been a special focus of her work. As a member of the Board of Trustees, she counsels the Anna Polke Foundation on legal matters.

Petra Lange-Berndt

Petra Lange-Berndt has been chair of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Art History department, Universität Hamburg, since 2015. She previously taught as lecturer/reader from 2007 to 2015 in the History of Art department, University College London. She is the author of numerous publications on art theory and modern and contemporary art; her research focuses in particular on materiality, gender studies, interactions between art and natural sciences, animal studies and countercultures. Among the various projects that she has (co-)curated, some have been devoted to Sigmar Polke's work, including the influential exhibition Sigmar Polke: We Petty Bourgeois! Comrades and Contemporaries, The 1970s, which was shown in 2009–2010 in three consecutive parts at the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Donations & Consents

The Anna Polke Foundation is recognised as a non-profit foundation under civil law by the Cologne tax office and is entitled to issue donation receipts. Your donations are therefore tax-deductible. We are also pleased about donations in kind (catalogues, documents etc.) for our archive. The Anna Polke Foundation issues donation receipts, provided we have your address.