The Collection of Book Art and Media Art spans over 20,000 illustrated books and artist’s books from the dawn of the printing press to the present day. The 1906 acquisition of the private collection belonging to the Berlin architect Hans Grisebach of works on typography and the art of book illustration from the 15th to late 18th century forms the backbone of our exemplary collection that has significantly grown over time. German and Italian prints of the Renaissance were of huge importance to Grisebach, as for him they served as a prototype for the Renaissance Revival across the German-speaking world. Beyond this, Grisebach’s collection of some 2000 books remains an outstanding example of a decidedly modern interest in printmaking as the 'art of surface' (Peter Jessen), an interest that clearly reveals the innovations in printmaking that occurred over time, as observed in numerous different editions of a single text.
The collection of new book art was decisively shaped by the German book art movement, a reform movement of the period between ca. 1890 and 1940, which aimed to improve the formal, technical, and artistic quality of book printing. English publications by the Kelmscott Press and Doves Press, as well as by the German Janus Presse, Ernst-Ludwig-Presse, Bremer Presse, and Cranach Presse bring the collection of bibliophile editions and illustrated books into the 19th century and include several editions illustrated by Gustave Doré. This body of 19th-century book art is enriched by trial proofs from the Kunstbibliothek’s Collection of Graphic Design. This collection area stands in stark contrast to the later-acquired books by avant-garde artists such as Hans Arp, Max Ernst, El Lissitzky, and Kurt Schwitters, who used the medium of book art to try out ground-breaking new forms of typography and experiments in the materiality of the book.
Dr. Moritz Wullen
Collection of Book Art and Media Art, Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Fon: +49 (0)30 266424242
Fax: +49 (0)30 266422290
Tuesday - Friday 10.00am – 6.00pm, Saturday and Sunday 11.00am – 6.00pm.