Research project: The “Kleine Klebeband” (small album) of the Princes of Waldburg-Wolfegg

A collection of drawings spanning the Renaissance and the Baroque constituting a national treasure.  

With the acquisition, some years ago, of the so-called ‘Kleine Klebeband’ of the Princes of Waldburg-Wolfegg, a significant collection of 124 artworks, listed in Gemany’s inventory of valuable national cultural assets, was secured for the nation. As an object, the ‘Kleine Klebeband’ is significant, not only for the quality of the artworks it contains, but because they have belonged together for so long and are still physically housed in their original binding. It is now being studied as an outstanding example of the historical tradition of art collection, seen against the background of developments in society over several centuries.

Today the ‘Kleine Klebeband’ is estranged from its original context: one of the oldest and greatest princely collections of graphic art in the German-speaking world. The graphic art collection of the Hereditary Seneschal Maximilian Willibald von Waldburg-Wolfegg was assembled during a period beginning shortly after the end of the Thirty Years War and ending in the year 1667. Since then it has been preserved almost intact. Over the centuries, however, in response to cultural changes and scientific and intellectual developments, the works have been regrouped and shifts of focus have occurred. It was in the course of one such re-arrangement of the collection that the ‘Kleine Klebeband’ was compiled. It formed a special treasury where solitary sheets and master-drawings from various sources within the Wolfegger collection were gathered into their own classified location. In a broadly-conceived project, the ‘Kleine Klebeband’ has now become the centre of an interdisciplinary pilot study. The historical context of the precious individual objects and groups of artworks it contains will be studied from the moment of their creation onwards. The changes which occurred in the way they were used, perceived and valued, reflecting the development of post-medieval scientific thought, will also be investigated, as will the consequences of these changes for the history of art collecting.  

Using innovative approaches in the humanities, art history and art restoration, together with modern methods of analysis and conservation, the ‘Kleine Klebeband’ and the groups of artworks it contains will be studied and elucidated in comparison with the original Kupferstichkabinett collection and its socio-historical development.  

Contact: Dr. Michael Roth, Georg Josef Dietz
Collaborating partners: Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg - Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart - Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik der TU Berlin - Rathgen-Forschungslabor