Collection / Works on Paper

Works on Paper // The Graphic Collection of the Kunsthalle Mannheim consists of two stocks: The collection of drawings, watercolours and printed graphics from the period between 1800 and today comprises 10,000 sheets. The emphasis here is on German and French graphics from the 19th century as well as on works by artists of Expressionism, New Objectivity, classical modernism and Informel. A special focus is on 20th-century graphics by sculptors. The second is the collection of the court scholar Anton von Klein comprising 23,000 printed graphics of all European schools from the end of the 15th century to the early 19th century.
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On 11 March, 1911, two years after the Kunsthalle Mannheim opened its gates, the Graphic Cabinet of the Kunsthalle Mannheim was inaugurated with the exhibition “Internationale Graphik des XIX. Jahrhunderts” [International Graphic Art of the 19th century]. In accordance with the structure of the painting and sculpture collections, the collecting activities for the graphics section initially concentrated on 19th-century German and French art. The foundation was laid by the estate of the painter and gallery director Carl Kuntz. In 1926 the Kunsthalle Mannheim acquired the collection of the court scholar Anton von Klein. This stock possesses the typical character of a study and public collection from the era of the Enlightenment. Through the purchases of sheets by Caspar David Friedrich, John Flaxmann and artists of the Düsseldorf and Munich painting schools, art of the early 19th century became an important field of collecting. At the same time, the purchasing policies increasingly focused on contemporary movements such as Expressionism and New Objectivity. From the very start, special attention was paid to contemporaneous drawings by sculptors. In 1937, under the National Socialists, close to 500 single sheets and 59 portfolios were confiscated as “degenerate art”. Although some of the confiscated objects were recovered, the Kunsthalle lost important works by Expressionists and artists of New Objectivity. After the war, the effort was made to close these gaps through acquisitions. Above all, works by artists of Informel and the COBRA and Zero groups were purchased. Today, the acquisition policy seeks to react to the diverse movements in contemporary art, with a main focus on sheets by sculptors.

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