With a total holding of approximately 230,000 works, the Graphic Art Collections of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are among the most important of their kind in Germany. They offer an extensive overview of graphic art production in Europe from the 15th to the 21st century.
The Graphic Art Collections are comprised of three large holdings. The former Grand Ducal Collection of Prints and Drawings (Kupferstichkabinett) represents the core of the collection. Its outstanding quality is the result of the Grand Duke's prudent acquisition policies and the consultation given to him by Goethe, who served as »Supervisor of the Immediate Institutions of Science and Art.« After the assets of the Grand Duchy were nationalised in 1919, the state of Thuringia took curatorial responsibility for the collection and, thanks to donations, bequests and new acquisitions, expanded it with numerous works of modernity. Today the collection contains examples of every drawing method and printing technique. It includes some 35,000 hand-drawn illustrations and works by the great masters, e.g. Leonardo da Vinci, Raffael, Dürer, Cranach, Tiepolo, Rubens, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Callot, Boucher, C.D. Friedrich, Runge, Munch and Rodin. The collection also contains 140,000 prints, including important works by the Italian chiaroscuro artists, a practically complete body of graphic art by Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Rembrandt and Callot, as well as pieces by the Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger and several prominent East German artists. Valuable incunabula further enhance the art-historical significance of the collection.
The second important holding in the Graphic Art Collections is Goethe’s private art collection. By the end of his life, Goethe had collected more than 9,000 prints and over 2,000 drawings, making his collection one of the largest private art collections in the German-speaking lands at that time. In addition to pieces by Altdorfer, Parmigianino, Guercino, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Bloemaert, Jacob de Wit, Lorrain and Watteau, Goethe's collection also included his own works as well as those by his German contemporaries, such as Hackert, Tischbein, C. D. Friedrich and Runge. Goethe enjoys a special status in the Graphic Arts Collection with some 2,100 of his own drawings.
More than 40,000 works of graphic art belonging to the Goethe National Museum, founded in 1885, comprise the third major holding of the Graphic Art Collection. These primarily focus on the time of Goethe and all aspects related to this period of Weimar's cultural history until the present day. The collections include the estates of such renowned artists as Johann Heinrich Meyer, Louise Seidler and Bartold Asendorpf, special collections on Franz Liszt, Friedrich Nietzsche and artistic illustrations of literary works.
If you wish to view the holdings of the collection, we ask you to register in advance at the user services department at the Goethe National Museum or the special reading room at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library from Tuesday to Friday.
Klassik Stiftung Weimar
Abteilung Graphische Sammlungen
Phone: +49 (0) 3643 - 545 344
Fax: +49 (0) 3643 - 545 356
Benutzerabteilung im Goethe-Nationalmuseum