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At once boasting a high level of research activity as well as being aimed at a broad public, Berlin's Kupferstichkabinett - Museum of Prints and Drawings - is one of the most important institutional contributors to fostering a public understanding of study and research. As one of the National Museums in Berlin, the Kupferstichkabinett has an excellent reputation for expertise and research which reaches far beyond art historical circles. These qualities are constantly put to the test in the face of the enormous growth in our service tasks. One of the essential remits of our museum is to critically analyse and publish the ongoing results of research and communicate those findings to the public in an intelligible fashion - chiefly through the organisation of important exhibitions. Owing to its special profile and its function as a museum of the graphic arts of drawing and printmaking, the Kupferstichkabinett has dedicated itself to conveying knowledge, raising public awareness of creative processes and abstract concepts in the context of original works of art, as well as sharpening ideas and senses and promoting the understanding of art and its mediation in concrete terms.
The specific competence of the Kupferstichkabinett makes it an important partner in national and international networks and collaborations, in distinguished top-level projects as much as in events aimed directly at a large audience. On account of its research respectability, the Kupferstichkabinett promotes the unswerving affirmation of cultural goods, subjects and values among the broader public and displays a high sense of professional, scholarly and ethical responsibility in working for its aims and duties in the midst of our society.
Current research and exhibition projects
- 'Schinkel's Legacy - From Depot to Discussion' (Prof. Dr. Heinrich Schulze Altcappenberg, Dr. Rolf H. Johannsen, Dipl.-Rest. Fabienne Meyer, Anna Schultz MA, along with external partners and research institutes): research online catalogue and exhibition.
With around 5000 drawings mostly by his own hand and 500 prints, Berlin's Kupferstichkabinett is home to the most important collection of the works of Karl Friedrich Schinkel anywhere in the world and includes his travel sketches, studies and architectural plans for buildings and even designs for the stage and furniture. Due to their very nature, these works - all executed on paper - are damned to a life in the shadows. Bringing them to light again is now the aim of the three-year project, entitled 'Schinkel's Legacy and Historical Representation in Early Historicism. From Depot to Discussion - 3 Transformations', which has been generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In the project, art history and scientific and technological research go hand in hand in fulfilling the core tasks of a museum: to preserve, index and explore works and disseminate knowledge.
All research findings will be entered into the National Museums' museum documentation system, which will in turn be used to form the base for the Schinkel Museum's online catalogue, accessible to the public and housed at the Kupferstichkabinett itself. Study days and a colloquium on conservation and art historical themes are also planned as part of the project.
In addition, two small one-room shows will be held in conjunction with the Old National Gallery which presides over Schinkel's paintings. All findings will subsequently go towards a major international Schinkel exhibition, which will be presented by the Kupferstichkabinett as the culmination of the project in the second half of 2012.
- Research and analysis of silver point drawings (Dr. Michael Roth): Interdisciplinary project in cooperation with the Rathgen Research Laboratory of the National Museums in Berlin, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung BAM and the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France, C2RMF, at the Louvre. The findings of this research collaboration will go towards a middle-term project on the scholarly reassessment of German drawings of the 15th century at the Kupferstichkabinett. The higher aim here is to bring to completion the comprehensive cataloguing of all 15th century drawings held at Berlin's Kupferstichkabinett. While the holdings of 15th century Italian and Dutch drawings have recently been thoroughly reviewed, German drawings from that century are still awaiting re-examination. Research on the latter will be carried out in cooperation with the 'Corpus of German and Dutch Drawings before 1500'; findings will eventually be published in a collection catalogue and made accessible in an exhibition aimed at a large audience.
- The German 15th century drawings at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett: Dr. Michael Roth; complete catalogue
- Deutsch/deutsche Graphik seit 1945 (German prints and drawings from East and West Germany after 1945): Dr. Anita Beloubek-Hammer; exhibition project, a comparison of works of the graphic arts in the GDR and West Germany.
- Rembrandt School Drawings: Dr. Holm Bevers. The critical catalogue of the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett's holdings of Rembrandt drawings, published in August 2006, is to be supplemented with a catalogue of drawings by the Rembrandt school. This will comprise around 150 works which can, with certainty, be attributed to pupils of Rembrandt. It will also include drawings which - as established in the essential oeuvre catalogue by Otto Benesch, published 1954-57 - were regarded until recently as works by the master himself but which, thanks to the latest research, have now been attributed to his pupils instead. This applies to more than 50% of the previous 'Rembrandt' holdings, that is, around seventy drawings. Additionally, the collection includes some eighty further works in the style of Rembrandt. Dr. Bevers is one of four authors contributing to the comprehensive exhibition on Rembrandt and Rembrandt school drawings which will be shown at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles in late 2009. That show will effectively provide the preliminary work for the Berlin catalogue which is scheduled for publication in 2011/12.
- Supplement to the Bock/Rosenberg catalogue of Dutch drawings (1930): Dr. Holm Bevers. In 1930, Elfried Bock and Jakob Rosenberg published the complete catalogue of Dutch drawings at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. It includes all Flemish and Dutch schools from around 1420 to 1800. Not included, however, are the works acquired after 1930, in addition to some works which the authors left out for reasons unknown. These, adding up to a total of approximately 400 drawings, will be catalogued and critically analysed in a supplementary publication. No publication date has as yet been fixed.