The Calábria Collection

On December 3rd, 2020, we will be offering at auction the collection of Mário Calábria, the former Brazilian ambassador to the German Democratic Republic (GDR), who built and fostered a broad network of personal friendships among the artists of East Berlin.  The focus of his passion as a collector was on abstract and concrete art, with significant works by the likes of Almir da Silva Mavignier and Hermann Glöckner forming part of his collection.

Mário Calábria was born in 1923 in Corumba, Brazil, as the youngest of seven siblings.  After studying law, he decided to enter the diplomatic service, where he soon became highly respected thanks to this eloquence and keen intelligence.  Following various international postings, including Frankfurt am Main, Damascus, Ottawa, and Amsterdam, he served in Munich as Consul and later as Consul General from 1961 until 1978.  He then moved to East Berlin, where he was his country’s ambassador until 1985.

He had already formed friendships with numerous artists during his postings in Frankfurt and Munich, and these ties grew deeper when he lived in East Berlin.  It was during this time that Calábria enthusiastically set up about building a collection of his own, not just out of a passion for art, but also to give the artists the maximum possible material and moral support out of a sense of social responsibility.  This makes the collection an impressive testament to the close rapport and appreciation that formed the bond between Calábria and his artist friends.