Prints and Drawings Department

Swiss National Library

The Prints and Drawings Department is quite a find for anyone seeking pictorial material, the ideal complement to printed texts. Here you will find iconographic documents on Swiss geography and customs, on cultural and political themes, and, in particular, printed graphics dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries and photographs ranging from Daguerreotypes to current agency and independent photographs. In both the prints and photography, the accent is on views of the Swiss Landscape and portraits of famous Swiss personalities. The Gugelmann Collection is particularly outstanding. This is an exceptional collection of picture series, albums and oil paintings by lesser Swiss masters from the second half of the 18th century.

The extensive holdings of picture postcards and posters are looked after with the greatest care. Both are amongst the biggest collections in Switzerland. The picture postcards expand the collection of scenic views of Switzerland, while the poster collection documents the particularly high standard of Swiss advertising graphics from the end of the 19th century to the present day. A focal point is the collection featuring contemporary and current Swiss art. Part of the general brief of the Library is to collect the books of artists, portfolios and series of drawings which relate to language and text.

Of particular importance in this respect is the Daniel Spoerri Archive, a rich collection of written and photographic documents which has been donated to the Library. It focuses on Spoerri's artistic activities, including his editing work, his contributions to "Nouveau Réalisme", "Fluxus" and Eat Art", but it also chronicles his life. The originals and other materials, which reflect the broad scope of this internationally famous artist, form a veritable treasure trove, complemented by an extensive specialist library.

Swiss National Library - Prints and Drawings Department
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern

Opening Hours:
on appointment, reservation required