BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

A Livable Art Collection

SØR Rusche Collection – Oelde/Berlin, Germany

’Sweet King’ by Secret Stars, 2011
’Sweet King’ by Secret Stars, 2011

For many art collectors, size is god. Hence their acquired enormous works come to live lonely existences locked away in humidity-sealed vaults, rarely seeing the light of day. Not so for Thomas Rusche, who lives amongst his extraordinary collection of cabinet-sized pieces, whether at his family home in Oelde, Münsterland, or, in his spacious neo-classical Pied à Terre in Berlin Charlottenburg. ‘My father told me a painting should be smaller, so if the Russians are coming you can hide it under your coat!' jokes Rusche, when we meet at his apartment for a private tour.

SØR Rusche: Zofia Kulik, Slava Seidel, Alicja Kwade, Stephan Balkenhol, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Andreas Blank (left to right) – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
SØR Rusche: Zofia Kulik, Slava Seidel, Alicja Kwade, Stephan Balkenhol, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Andreas Blank (left to right) – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Installation by Alicja Kwade, 2008
Installation by Alicja Kwade, 2008

Rusche, the managing director of luxury clothing label SØR Rusche comes from a four generational lineage of textile merchants and passionate art collectors. In the mid 19th century, his great-great grandfather traded textiles for paintings, silver, brass, fine art, and furniture much to the chagrin of his wife, a mother of ten. Over the generations, the collection came to focus on 17th century Old Masters, in particular the Dutch Baroque period, famous for such names as Rembrandt and Van Dike.

The incredible time span of the Rusche family's art collecting legacy is witnessed in the kitchen of the apartment, starting with a collection of brass in differing shapes, such as fish and hearts, traded by his great-great grandfather to the present. The most recent addition by Rusche is a vivid contemporary still life of a kitchen by Austrian artist Lois Renner that has been painted and then digitalized, which also references the 17th century Dutch Masters for good measure.

It was a decade ago that Rusche started to collect contemporary art, including sculpture, installations, and photographs, but primarily paintings. ‘I started with the eyes of an Old Master collector, but I had to learn the lesson that painting well was neither necessary nor enough to become a great artist in the 21st century. On the other hand, I do believe that painting well is not a negative criteria. Great art can be well painted. The question that I'm constantly asking myself and in a dialogue with others about, is what constitutes greatness in 21st century art?'

On the left: Installation by Alicja Kwade, 2011
On the left: Installation by Alicja Kwade, 2011

This question appears to be answered in his apartment. Great art literally proliferates everywhere; on the walls, resting on antique furniture, leaning against sofas, on the floor, in the bathroom, on coffee tables, on mantelpieces, on shelves – curated by Rusche himself from his thousand piece collection. ‘The art you look at when you're waking up, eating, working, or relaxing, affects the neurological processes in our mind and has a huge impact on your life,' he explains to me. ‘Art is about giving your consciousness something to think about and asks the question, ‘What is important in life?'

Rusche’s collected works reflect the big human questions – sex, birth, death, love, greed, religion, money, spirituality, identity, freedom, self-perception, and everything in between. Standouts were Polish artist Alicja Kwade’s coal shaped gold bullion installation and German Artist Andreas Blank technically exceptional marble attaché case topped with a crisp white shirt. Meanwhile in the grand dining room, old masters jostle for position against new classics by the likes of Neo Rauch from the New Leipzig School, whose work seemingly turns full circle back to the Dutch masters for inspiration.

Thomas Rusche
Thomas Rusche

However, the art in Rusche's homes is in a constant state of flux. At present, 400 works from the collection are currently in exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide. ‘We have a believe art is everyone,' says Dr. Rusche, so he is constantly curating what he sees around him to inspire himself and the rest of us with great art.

The collection is showed three times per year or can be viewed by private appointment.

Lollie Barr is an Australian freelance features journalist and fiction author. She resides in Berlin.
All images via SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin

More Information on SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin

Collections (100)

Frissiras Museum

3 500 contemporary figurative paintings

Arario Museum in Space

Wide-ranging collection of Korean and Western art by the country’s leading collector and gallerist

Fondazione Brodbeck

Contemporary art in a post-industrial complex—in the shadow of a volcano

Peyrassol—Parc de Sculptures

A sculpture park on a centuries-old vineyard in Provence

Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung

A location for contemporary glass and photography

Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

Argentina's wealthiest woman presents six centuries of art-treasure collecting

Rossini Art Site (RAS)

Large-scale sculpture in a landscape park

Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea

Site-specific installations for a dual passion: art and wine

Kasteel Wijlre Estate

Art from the 1960s to the present in a modern pavilion

Museum Liaunig

Nuriel Molcho and Francesca Gavin travel out of Vienna to hillside Carinthia, to meet with Peter Liaunig

Fundació Vila Casas

Three buildings, three points of focus: painting, sculpture and photography

Gibbs Farm

A sculpture park in XXL format with monumental art in the grandness of nature

Kloster Schoenthal

Nature-inspired sculptures in a pristine landscape

Pinchuk Art Centre

Blue-chip contemporary in the first private museum in the former USSR

Museo James Turrell — The Hess Art Collection, Colomé

Turrell’s largest Skyspace and additional light rooms in breathtaking surroundings


An extensive private collection of Swiss contemporary art of the last fifty years

Mathaf—Arab Museum of Modern Art

A Royal Collection Spanning 200 Years of Arab Art – Doha, Qatar

Sara Piccinini

Senior Coordinator, Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reflection and Speculation

Sammlung von Kelterborn – Frankfurt, Germany


DJ Cassy and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Venke and Rolf A. Hoff in Henningsvær, Norway

Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg

Positions of social criticism in German and American contemporary art – Hamburg, Germany

The Walther Collection

Inside and Outside the Frame – Neu Ulm, Germany

Peter Ibsen Collection

Minimalist Works That Hone Your Sense for Detail – Copenhagen, Denmark

Initiating Dialogues

Sammlung Hoffmann – Berlin, Germany

The Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Andrea Denver and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin in Upstate New York

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

KA Modern and Contemporary Art Space

900 Square Meters Dedicated to Lebanon’s Most Significant Artists – Beirut, Lebanon

Art About Beauty and Infirmity

Collezione De Iorio – Trento, Italy

Living Collection

Gary Yeh and Francesca Gavin meet with architect and collector William Lim in Hong Kong

Early Passions

Z Collection – Hong Kong, China

Infinite Interiors

Philara Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Papko Art Collection

Works of Turkish Modernism at the legendary Ralli Apartment in Istanbul

Risky Business

Astrup Fearnley Museet – Oslo, Norway

Something Special, Something Sacred

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, United States of America

JAHM – Justin Art House Museum

Digital and Abstract Art — Melbourne, Australia

A More Democratic Art

MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Embracing the Accidental

Trajković Collection – Belgrade, Serbia

Galila's P.O.C.

A Collection Made up of Thematic Collections – Brussels, Belgium

Establishing Roots and Creating Links

The Ovidiu Șandor Collection – Timișoara, Romania

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz

Abstract painting and concept art in Brazil’s interior – São Paulo

Conversation Pieces

KUNSTSAELE Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Magazzino Italian Art

Contemporary Italian Art on the Hudson River – New York

Slow Learning

de la Cruz Collection – Miami, United States of America

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A venue for contemporary African art – Cape Town

The Elliott Eyes Collection

Engaging With the Collectors – Sydney

Foundation Francès

A French roadtrip reaching the radical reflections of artist Kader Attia

The Sublime Hyacinth Collection

Czech Art Meets Czech Design – Prague, Czech Republic

Marciano Art Foundation

Contemporary art at the Masonic temple – Los Angeles

Time Stamps

Julia Stoschek Collection – Berlin, Germany

Generative Grammars

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Chasing the Future

dslcollection – Paris, France

Charged Atmospheres

Transformer Station – Cleveland, United States of America

Places in, and out of, Time

Adrastus Collection – Arévalo, Spain

Eloquent Silences

The Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Counting to Ten

Ten Cubed – Melbourne, Australia

Dispersing Narratives

The Wedge Collection – Toronto, Canada

Dialogues in Nature

Chatsworth – Bakewell, Great Britain

Present Pasts

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Space for the Future

The Vanhaerents Art Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Colección Contemporánea

A Global Collection from a Seasoned Art Collector In Mexico City

Adrastus Collection

A Collection That Shows the Diversity of Art in the Age of Globalization – Arevalo, Spain

Masters and Romantics

Collection Lambert – Avignon, France

Fondazione Rolla

A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Photography in Ticino

Finnish Rhapsody

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Cranford Collection

One of Europe’s Most Important Collections with Renowned Contemporaries in Regent’s Park – London

Broad Minded

Artist Tomasz Kobialka on The Broad – Los Angeles, USA

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

European-American Post-Minimalist Art in a Bauhaus-inspired building – Dubai

Treasure Hunt

The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst – Knislinge, Sweden

AMC Collezione Coppola

A Curious Collector Acquiring Art to Broaden his Understanding of the World

A Home for Light and Color

MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’ Collection finds a permanent home – London

Franks Suss Collection

A Duo Investing in Artists and Not Cashing In – Hong Kong, London and Sydney

Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

A Magic Sculpture Garden in Westchester County – Pound Ridge, New York

Shine On

Wurlitzer – Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn

Lavish 18th Century interiors juxtaposed with contemporary outdoor sculpture

Venet Foundation

An Artist’s Take on Collecting in the South of France

G2 Kunsthalle

Large-scale paintings of the New Leipzig School in dialogue

The Immaculate Collection

Igal Ahouvi Art Collection – Tel Aviv, Israel


The best of Chinese contemporary art, available 24/7/365

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Lyon Housemuseum

Located near Melbourne, Australia, collector Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum to share it with the public

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Inhotim – Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico

Portraiture Confronting a Land’s Traumatic Past

The Walther Collection – Project Space New York – New York City

Conceptual Authenticity

Sammlung Barbara und Axel Haubrok - haubrok projects - Berlin, Germany

A Self-taught Collector

Vass Collection - Veszprém, Hungary

Roots in Rotterdam

Concordia Collection - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows

How France’s most established museum and collector are redeveloping forgotten places

History Reinvented

Insights into the influential collection of Martin Parr

A Collection Which Never Sleeps

David Roberts Art Foundation – Great Britain, London

Get Lucky

David Walsh and his MONA

An Eye into a Secret World

SIP Shpilman Institute for Photography – Tel Aviv, Israel

Gifts for Philadelphia

Private collectors with a generous heart

A New Home for Miami’s Art Scene

On the opening of the Jorge M. Pérez Museum

Prima Materia at Punta Della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation - Venice, Italy

Eric and Jean Cass Collection

A private collection goes public

Bernardo Paz’s Transformative Museum

A closer look at Inhotim in Brazil

The Open Road to Jupiter

Robert & Nicky Wilson - Jupiter Artland

Collecting with an Impact

Dakis Joannou - Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art

Menil Collection Makeover

Starting with the parking lot

White Rabbit Collection

Chinese Contemporary Art – Australia, Sydney