Kupferstichkabinett: Derschau Wooden Printing Block Collection Now Being Digitalised


In cooperation with the Technische Universität Berlin (TU), the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum for Prints and Drawings) began digitising the extensive Derschau collection of wooden printing blocks in early October 2021.

In this project, the Kupferstichkabinett ‒ Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is collaborating with the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) research group at the TU Berlin, “Dimensionen der techne in den Künsten” (Dimensions of techne in the Arts), which is focused on how artworks are made. Following several weeks of digitally photographing the objects, the data is now being prepared for entry into the diverse project databases intended for scholarly research.

The Derschau Wooden Printing Block Collection

The printing block collection of Hans Albrecht von Derschau (1755‒1824), once a captain in the Prussian army, forms the basis of the printing block collection at Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett. It comprises several hundred wooden printing blocks, primarily from the 15th and 16th centuries ‒ the early era of book and single-sheet printing. As such, they provide an important foundation for any research into the study of printing processes and their evolution, including their artistic and artisanal origins.

Woodcut Exhibition at the Kupferstichkabinett in 2022

From 3 June to 28 August 2022, the Kupferstichkabinett will show an exhibition on the subject of woodcuts. This presentation launches a new series in which each instalment will feature a specific print technique with its unique characteristics, potential and limitations. Only works from the Kupferstichkabinett’s extensive inventory will be on view ‒ prints on paper and parchment, as well as unique printing blocks from various epochs.