Digitization, Editions, Cooperations

Digitization and editing of the correspondence between Hans and Lea Grundig

Project duration: January 2019 – December 2025

A volume of correspondence with letters by Hans Grundig

The Grundig-Archive of the Akademie der Künste contains approximately 700 letters by the Dresden artist couple Hans and Lea Grundig, written during the years 1925 to 1958. In addition to personal matters, the letters cover such issues as life under three German political systems as well aspects of their work between verism and proletarian-revolutionary art. The letters provide extraordinary insight into questions of the relationship of art and politics, of religion and society as well as of resistance, exile and migration.

The aim of the joint project of the Hans and Lea Grundig Foundation and the Akademie der Künste, as heir and owner of the copyrights, is to carry out the first-ever full digitization, scientific processing and editing of this largely unknown correspondence.
The painter Hans Grundig (1901–1958) and the graphic artist Lea Grundig née Langer (1906–1977) met in Dresden in 1925. They were arrested during the National Socialist period, and Hans Grundig was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After the end of the war, he became rector of the Dresden University of Fine Arts, and soon got caught up in the formalism debates. Lea Grundig was persecuted by the National Socialists because of her Jewish descent and managed to escape to Palestine in 1940. In 1949, she returned to her home city of Dresden, where she became increasingly involved in politics.

The correspondence provides the first-ever comprehensive and nuanced perspective on these fascinating and at the same time exemplary 20th century biographies. While an uncommented selection of one hundred letters was published in 1966, a complicated process of acquisition and the state of the collection prevented a full publication – until now.

The private researcher Klaus Leutner, an admirer of the art of Hans Grundig, spent several years reviewing the letters before compiling them into a reader in 2017. That provided the impetus for an extensive scientific editing of the letters. The digitization of the approximately 3500 pages began in May 2019 in the Akademie der Künste. Art historian Kathleen Krenzlin is editing the holdings on behalf of the Hans and Lea Grundig Foundation. The first volume, covering letters from the years 1925 to 1932, is funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The Dresden University of Fine Arts also supports the project.

Project management: Kathleen Krenzlin, Hans and Lea Grundig Foundation
Project collaboration: Dr. Anke Matelowski, Visual Arts Archives of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin

In Cooperation with the Hans and Lea Grundig Foundation
Funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation