Graphic Arts Collection

The SPSG Graphic Arts Collection includes some 100,000 objects. Its present structure originates only in the period after 1945, when various inventories – some severely depleted during the war – had to be merged and re-categorized.

The holdings go back to the collecting activities of the Prussian royal family. The watercolors and gouaches, pastels, drawings, and prints were originally part of interior decoration of the palaces. Furthermore, the collection is in charge of the graphic arts inventories from the former Berlin Palace Library and the Hohenzollern-Museum that were originally administered as special collections.

One of the most important parts of the Collection is the “watercolor collection” from the estate of Queen Elisabeth Ludovika of Prussia. Created in the period from 1820–70, it originally included around 3,600 works on paper in various graphic techniques by over 900 mostly German artists. It illustrates the personal interests and inclinations of its former owner, with a thematic focus on landscapes and cityscapes.

The collection of autographic drawings by King Frederick William IV of Prussia is unique among European royal estates. Some 6,900 of the King’s drawings show architectural projects as well as visualizations of cultural and political subjects, illustrations inspired by contemporary works of literature, and figurative compositions.

The print collection consists of graphic works whose most common motifs are portraits and events from Brandenburg-Prussian history.

Particularly extensive is the collection of architectural and garden plans. They document the genesis of the buildings and gardens once belonging to the Prussian kings and emperors from the late 17th to 20th centuries. Designs by architects such as Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, Carl von Gontard, Carl Gotthard Langhans, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Ludwig Persius are highlights among the architectural drawings. The development of the gardens is also documented from their design to their preservation. Of particular interest in this context is the legacy of drawings by Peter Joseph Lenné and Georg Potente. These particular inventories originate from the Plankammer (Collection of Plans) of the palace building commission and the palace garden administration, which were under the authority of the Prussian office of the Hofmarschall (Lord Chamberlain). Documents from that source include building and art records as well as historical palace inventories.

Smaller segments of the collection comprise Frederician ornament and decoration drawings, print series and pattern books, maps and atlases, architectural models, and historical photographs and postcards. Also among the collection’s responsibilities is the care of the historical wallpapers in the palaces.

Curators

Dipl. phil. Claudia Sommer (Leiterin), Dipl. phil. Matthias Gärtner
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin: Dipl.-Museologin (FH) Evelyn Zimmermann

Address

SPSG | Graphic Arts CollectionScience and Restoration Center (Wissenschafts- und Restaurierungszentrum / WRZ)House 2 A
Zimmerstraße 10-11
14471  Potsdam

Contact

SPSG | Department Palaces and Collections
Postfach 60 14 62
14414  Potsdam, Germany
Fax: +49 (0) 331.96 94-104
Claudia SommerSPSG | Department Palaces and CollectionsHead of the Graphic Arts Collection
Postfach 60 14 62
14414  Potsdam, Germany
Fax: +49 (0) 331.96 94-104

Opening Hours

The inventories may be viewed by prior appointment
on Mondays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
on Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.

To make an appointment:
Randolf Kantimm
Tel.:  +49 (0) 331.96 94-341
r.kantimm(at)spsg.de