The Kunstbibliothek preserves, maintains, and critically assesses the estate of the architect Erich Mendelsohn (1887-1953), which came into its care in 1975. Erich Mendelsohn ranks alongside Mies van der Rohe as one of the trail-blazing pioneers of modern architecture in the 20th century. His clear vernacular had a decisive impact on the architects of the Bauhaus. After the Nazis came to power, Mendelsohn, a Jew from the Allenstein region of East Prussia (now Olsztyn, Poland) and resident of Berlin, was forced to emigrate to the United States, via Holland, England, and Palestine. Erich Mendelsohn left his architectural mark in seven countries on three continents. In a gesture of reconciliation with Germany, Luise Mendelsohn endowed the Kunstbibliothek with her late husband's estate of drawings, photographs, and other documents, some 42 years after the couple had fled Berlin.
To coincide with the 60th anniversary of his death, on 15 September 2013, a survey of the architect's work will go on display in Berlin, as represented in a selection of the some 2000 drawings, photographs, and letters held in the Architecture Collection.
Mendelsohn's extensive correspondence with figures from the world of science, art, and culture reflects the intellectual climate of his time. The Kunstbibliothek has joined forces with the Getty Research Institute in a project that entails the scanning, transcription, and critical assessment of the couple's correspondence with each other.
The digitalized correspondence will be accessible in the exhibition, which aims to broaden public awareness on the life and work of Erich Mendelsohn.
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