The Exhibition Catalogues of the Prussian Academy of the Arts (1786‐1943)
From 1786 to 1943, art exhibitions organised by the Prussian Academy of Arts were a key medium of artistic and cultural life in Berlin for many years, enjoying recognition throughout Germany. They provided artists from Berlin and beyond with their first opportunity to show and sell their work here.
The exhibitions were documented in catalogues from 1786 onward. These rare directories provide detailed information about the participating artists, many of whom were members or students of the Academy, about art collectors and the works that were exhibited and available for sale. From 1879, they also included illustrations of selected works. Chronicles of the history of the Academy (1786–1892 in the catalogues, 1893–1910 as a separate publication), information on the exhibitions and advertisements by the art trade complement the catalogues. These written records provide information on academic training, programmatic issues, personal details of the members, art scholarships and acquisitions for the collections, summarise previous exhibitions and give insights into the Berlin art scene. The form, scope and content of the catalogues changed considerably over the course of time. A distinction can be made between the following series:
- Exhibitions by the Academy of Arts 1786–1892
- The Great Berlin Art Exhibition 1893–1943
- Spring and autumn exhibitions by the Academy of Arts 1919–1943
- Special exhibitions by the Academy of Arts 1885–1943
- Chronicle of the Academy of Arts 1893–1910
The systematic categorisation and dating of individual works make the catalogues particularly valuable for source and provenance research today.
The presentation is a joint project by Heidelberg University Library and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Heidelberg University Library is responsible for the digitisation, online provision and long-term archiving of over 200 exhibition catalogues that describe an estimated 80,000 works by approximately 12,000 artists, thus facilitating a full-text search for all content. The Akademie der Künste is responsible for the conceptual design, central procurement and provision of the catalogues. The project is funded by Forschungs- und Kompetenzzentrum Digitalisierung Berlin (digiS) (DFG).
Research and browsing access
Bibliothek / Akademie der Künste Berlin
Dr. Maria Effinger