Photo: Ellen Auerbach, Airwalk, 1946 (Renate Schottelius during the dance jump over rocks, La Cumbrecita). Modern Print, Argentina © Akademie der Künste, Berlin – images, sounds, art objects

Online Presentation

Art archives need to be viewed. Without pictures, it is impossible to understand and sensually experience manuscripts, photos, models, paintings, drawings and videos. To make its diverse collections of modern art more accessible, the Akademie der Künste has therefore set up a digital showcase at The selected collections afford an insight into the extensive holdings of its archives, which, encompassing all art forms, collects and makes accessible the archives of outstanding artists in the German-speaking world. The spectrum extends from the avant-garde photographs of Ellen Auerbach and the utopian architectural designs of Bruno Taut to the manuscripts of the art philosopher Carl Einstein and the New Music of Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

The Akademie’s older collection tradition is represented by the art collection, which exhibits outstanding works by Daniel Chodowiecki, Johann Gottfried Schadow and Carl Blechen. A special focus of the presentation is the Preussische Akademie der Künste, which celebrates its 325th anniversary in 2021. On show in addition to portraits of members will be architectural models and drawings as well as the Akademie’s exhibition catalogues from 1786 to 1943, which for a long time were a defining medium in Berlin’s art world.

The showcase aims to enhance the visibility of the major collections of the archives of the Akademie der Künste. Access and handling have been deliberately designed to be simple. The presentation focuses on the aesthetic and media appeal of the objects in order to reach a broad public. The responsive web design permits rapid use even on mobile devices, while tools facilitate the display of the images and audio documents, searches and the arrangement of found objects. For further research, links are provided to the underlying Archives Database.

The archives’ digital projects also serves as a portal for further digital projects of the Akademie archives, many of which have arisen in cooperation with other institutions in academia and culture. These include virtual exhibitions, digital editions, catalogues and lists of works, such as the presentation “Kosmos Heartfield” showing the life and work of the political photomontage artist as well as his extensive catalogue of graphic works.

The edition projects include the hybrid – analog and digital – editions that are being produced on the notebooks of the poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht and on the works of the philosopher Walter Benjamin. In cooperation with Heidelberg University Library, the exhibition catalogues of the Preussische Akademie der Künste have been digitised. Over 200 catalogues from the period 1786 to 1943 are accessible online and searchable as full text. The information on approximately 80,000 works of art by some 12,000 artists is a central source for art historical research, especially with regard to the provenance of the objects. Further projects in the field of the digital humanities are in preparation.

Heinrich Mann DIGITAL
To mark next year’s 150th anniversary of the novelist Heinrich Mann (1871-1950), the “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL” project will be launched. The aim is to bring together virtually his handwritten legacy, which is spread over several locations within and outside Europe, and to edit parts of it online. This is a pilot project for numerous other artist archives.

A digital showcase affords an insight into the extensive holdings of the archives of the Akademie der Künste, which encompasses all art forms, collects and makes accessible the archives of outstanding artists in the German-speaking world.

Further information